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5 Minutes With… Grace Tan

Grace Tan of kwodrent takes time out of her packed schedule to talk about work and design faves.

5 Minutes With… Grace Tan

BY jesse

23 May, 2012

Grace Tan has a particular fascination for rectangles, which she explores through her Singapore-based inter-disciplinary practice, kwodrent. It’s here that she churns out works that bridge the gap between design, architecture, art and fashion. On her design philosophy, she says it’s about having an “honesty towards material” and a “rigorous yet intuitive working method”.

Projects you are busy with at the moment.

An upcoming art installation ’Udara Yang Bergerak’ at The Esplanade Concourse, an art commission for a Downtown Line station, my ongoing Associate Artist Research Programme with The Substation where I explore J.S. Bach’s ’Art of Fugue’, and my work at SOTA.

Grace Tan

’Building As A Body’ – collaboration with Randy Chan. Public installation commissioned by SAM for The Singapore Show: Future Proof

Top 3 influences.


People I work with and peers from the various creative disciplines.

My students.

Grace Tan

Exhibition for Associate Artist Research Programme at The Substation. Photography: Jeremy San

Favourite local landmark/building.

I don’t have a favourite building but I like the juxtaposition of nature and the built environment. My favourite ’spot’ is a little pedestrian bridge on the Bukit Timah canal near Newton Circus. The image of overhanging trees along the canal is rather magical.

Dream project to work on – real or imaginary.

To master the art of Chinese calligraphy and bonsai.

Dream person to collaborate with.

Bruno Munari.

Grace Tan

Poppy collection

Favourite decade of design.

The 2010s because we are part of it and making things happen, especially here in Singapore.

Favourite chair.

I love wooden chairs, especially those that are utilitarian, non-descript and well made.

Grace Tan

Kiku neckpieces from the Kwodrent series. Photography: Ming, Surround

Number 1 concern for the design industry.

Preservation of craft and how it can work with technology.

One item in the workplace you can’t live without.


The most interesting thing about the way you work.

The presence of an underlying system (like a mathematical equation) that connects the different works although they look different.


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