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Is it Art or Design?

Design New Standard invites viewers to rethink the necessity of discipline-labelling in the creative industry.

  • Gabriel Tan

  • Shibui Furniture Collective

  • The Rug Maker

  • Project Coal

  • Drift by we+

  • Kashiwa Sato for KIHARA



BY Janice Seow

10 January, 2017


Transversing various creative practices, Design New Standard is an upcoming ‘art-design’ exhibition that questions the necessity of ‘labels’ in the creative industry. The exhibition will run during Singapore Art Week from 12 January to 15 January 2017 at Gillman Barracks.

Curated by Edwin Low (Supermama) and Clara Yee (in the Wild), Design New Standard features the work of 12 independent Asia-based ‘artist-designers’, whose practices straddle the fields of art and design.

Mediums presented include botanic extracts (FORM); literature (Sing Lit Station); photography (Jotham Photography); porcelain (KIHARA and SUPERMAMA); sand (we+); scent (SIX); textile (Project Coal, The Rug Maker, Biro Company), and wood (Gabriel Tan and Shibui Furniture Collective).

“[The exhibition] seeks to establish genre blending and defying as a standard notion of creative practice – where an excessive focus on the difference [between art and design] is often due to the unfamiliarity of the nuances in both disciplines,” says co-curator Clara Yee.

One of the highlights include the Split Top Single Seater Bench, which was created by Singapore-based studio Shibui Furniture Collective for the exhibition. Rather than being informed by a standard design process, the bench is materialised by an organic construction born out of its creator’s respect for nature.

Gabriel Tan will showcase pieces that he has created under his eponymous studio. He explores the fields of craft and technology to define the smallest functional chair, which can be hung on the wall when not in use, in response to the constraints and multi-purpose requirements of space today. Tan is also the co-founder of international design collective Outofstock.

According to the curators, the exhibition, at this juncture, poses more questions than answers but will continue to evolve with future editions. “As much as we are challenging labels, we are also, at the core, encouraging conversations. We hope to inspire visitors to rethink the labels attached to artists, designers, and multidisciplinary practitioners, allowing the works of the individual Artist-Designer to define themselves,” Yee concludes.

Design New Standard will be held at Gillman Barracks, Block 7, Level 1, from 12 to 15 January 2017. Admission is free.


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