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Exchanged Forms.

Stove Chair.

Urban Design Festival.






The Little Red Dot In Milan

What Singapore-based designers are showing at the prestigious Milan Design Week, held from April 17 to 22
Apr 20, 2018 5:50 AM

Exchanged Forms
By Kyoto Design Lab and Design Incubation Centre

A chess table in the void deck of an old HDB block may look grubby to a passer-by. But not to Japanese design student Toki Sakurai, who took inspiration from those blue and white-tiled table and created a chess table of his own. His version is made of oak and resin, and rectangular in shape rather than round.

Meanwhile, Singaporean design student Cheryl Ho was inspired by the way light filters through the lattice patterns of Japanese windows, when she created a pair of wall lights that form a grid lattice when overlapped with each other.

These two are part of 17 items designed by students from the Kyoto Design Lab, Kyoto Institute of Technology and Design Incubation Centre, National University of Singapore. Students from each country collected characteristic elements that represent their own culture. They were then exchanged, with each student tasked to come up with his or her own interpretations of the culture element they selected.

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Patrick Chia, founding director of the Design Incubation Centre, says: "Through this project, we hope to discover and rethink our lives through each other's lens and interpretation."

Stove Chair
By Gabriel Tan

Art is not the only thing that can be hung on walls. Gabriel Tan, who runs his eponymous studio has designed the Stove Chair for renowned Swedish furniture brand BlÄ Station. The dining chair can be hung on the wall when not in use, saving precious floor space.

Urban Design Festival
By Lopelab

At this year's Singapore Design Week, creative studio Lopelab hosted the Urban Design Festival, which featured talks, workshops and temporary, public installations put up at spots around Tanjong Pagar. The festival was dedicated to urban design and the growing global movement in placemaking and the activation of public spaces.

Lopelab is bringing the Urban Design Festival to Milan in the form of an exhibition, showcased at Oneworks, one of Italy's biggest architecture firms. There will be videos, photos of the festival, as well as 3D models of the installations.

Federica Lamera, a strategy designer at Lopelab, acknowledges that the culture, climate and architecture of Singapore and Milan are vastly different and so this exhibition will be an eye-opener for the locals.

"We hope to raise awareness and get some international visibility," says Ms Lamera. "There could be potential speakers that we could partner with, and projects that we could show for next year's Urban Design Festival in Singapore."

By Lanzavecchia + Wai

Despite its name, Pebble is not something that you want to put out in your garden. Designed by Italian designer Francesca Lanzavecchia and Singaporean designer Hunn Wai for Living Divani, Pebble is a desk/vanity table inspired by the materiality and organic form of river-sculpted stones.

Pebble is simple in design but complex in its rendering, with sophisticated details such as an irregularly shaped mirror, and leather covering of the lower surface, that reveals a surrealist and neo-decor spirit.

By Lanzavecchia + Wai

Designers Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai have fun with wall mirrors in their collection, Pinch, for Italian brand Fiam.

The rigid crystal glass is transformed to an elastic state, as if by magic.

The mirrors appear to be "on the run" from their frame, but are held in place with bolts, creating an effect of unexpected movement and elastic tension.

By Lanzavecchia + Wai

Designed for Exto, a new high-end Italian furniture brand, Clockwork is a family of cabinets that shines the spotlight on some of the functional elements that are used to build and open container furniture, such as hinges and locks.

Rather than hide them as is the common practice, designers Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai play them up with enlarged hinges and locks.

Meanwhile, Clockwork's handle is inspired by the mechanism of a clock and makes the opening and closing of the doors almost playful.

The insides come with LED lighting, while the outside is made of solid wood in a natural or semi-gloss patina coating.


Design and lifestyle magazine Wallpaper* holds an annual Handmade exhibition, which features unique one-off pieces made by talented designers and makers from around the world.

Six Singaporean designers and firms were invited to show their works at this year's Handmade.

They were Theseus Chan, Studio Juju, Gabriel Tan Studio, Woha, Stolen and Olivia Lee.

In addition, there was a call for the Next Generation Designer, a design competition in search of the next hot designer. Singaporean Edmund Zhang was picked, and is showing his Squeezy Lamp, a LED desk lamp that gets brighter with every squeeze. Mr Zhang, a first-time visitor to Milan Design Week, says it is a dream come true to show his work in the Italian city. "I am also interested to see how my piece will be received by the general public and visitors to the exhibition," he adds.

By ModuDesigners

When you live in a space-challenged home, you want furniture that is compact and, better still, flexible enough to be used in different ways.

The Turtles collection of poufs is designed for apartment dwellers by ModuDesigners, a young design firm that is less than a year old.

The bowl-shaped poufs are flat on one side and rounded on the other, with a wooden handle on the side. You can sit on either end of the pouf or prop it up. Stack two of them together and they become a stool. Versatile and good for both adults and kids, they come in patterned fabric by local textile design company Onlewo, which collaborated with MoDuDesigners.

Eleonora Massaccesi, co-founder at Modu Designers, says that by showing in Milan she hopes to generate some interest from manufacturers to produce Turtles. "We believe that Turtles would suit several different types of indoor and outdoor environments in either corporate or family settings," adds Ms Massaccesi.