Local design studios put a spin on the message of recycling using Emeco chairs for Green Space 2014 – a collaboration between Cubes Indesign and Space Furniture. Luo Jingmei reports.
6 May, 2014
The Green Space initiative was conceived in 2011 by furniture retailer Space Furniture to raise consumers’ awareness of environmental issues within the realm of furniture design and manufacturing. For the past two years, they have been collaborating with Cubes Indesign to engage local architects and designers in bringing across the message in innovative ways.
This year, the highlight was three chairs from Emeco that manifest the sustainability message – the Emeco 1006 chair made of recycled aluminium, the Emeco Navy 111 chair made of recycled PET bottles and the Broom chair, designed by Philippe Starck and made of post-industrial polymer.
Axis.Point Design, studiogoto, and IMAJIN with Facetnating Brothers (a collaboration between a design firm and a branding agency) were invited to present creative ways of depicting the respective recycling processes. These installations were exhibited from 23 April to 5 May at Space Asia Hub, in celebration of Earth Day that fell on 22 April. We introduce the participating studios and find out more from them about their installations.
‘Landscape’ by Axis.Point Design
The multidisciplinary firm led by S.P. Tan is committed to a concept-driven and design-oriented aesthetic to continually strive to achieve overall design integrity. Among its recent projects are Absinthe and Hashi, restaurants designed for the T.R.E. hospitality group. Their installation was inspired by Chinese shan sui painting and features a rendering of mountains made up of Emeco 1006 chairs, and a sculpture of interlocking ladders and Emeco 1006 chairs to highlight the monumental effort of recycling necessary to make an impact.
How does the painting or Emeco 1006 chairs relate to the sculpture of the chairs and ladders?
S.P. Tan: The concept was using the Emeco 1006 chair – a small singular structure – to become a larger narrative of a construct of a landscape. Now, the landscape is not just the two-dimensional work. It’s also the three-dimensional [sculpture]. We were playing with the three elements of shan sui painting: balance, composition and form. We wanted the dialogue between the two-dimensional and the three-dimensional, hence the placement. Sometimes [the painting] becomes a backdrop [for the sculpture], sometimes not.
It’s interesting to have the aged, industrial components like the ladders with contemporary design within the Space Furniture showroom.
S.P. Tan: Yes, because the showroom is so pristine right? In fact, the Chinese wording on one of the ladders is the same as our building’s name. The ladder was there when we moved in. It was thrown aside, but it still works. And the scratches, the stickers pasted on it, it’s all part of [the charm]. We are interested in the very, very old – shan sui painting went back to the Yuan dynasty – and also the contemporary. We like the juxtaposition.
‘From Bottle to Chair’ by studiogoto
Kimberly Toh and Goh Chioh-Hui founded the Singapore-based architectural studio in 2008. Their works range from interior design to master-planning and buildings, amongst them Fifteen Robin condominium and the Alila Villas Koh Russey in Phnom Penh (under construction). Their installation comprised the ‘shadows’ of three Emeco 111 Navy chairs culminating in a cardboard landfill. The chair’s recycling processes are depicted on the ‘shadows’.
Tell us about your brainstorming process.
Goh Chioh-Hui (GCH): It was something different from what we do every day, where we’re always rushing deadlines. During the first session, we grouped around the table and went crazy – but that’s when good ideas come up. There were six, seven ideas but we tried to make things simpler and simple. Eventually we settled on the idea of the convergence of three shadows.
GCH: It started with us [thinking] ‘if chairs could talk, what are they going to say to one another? Where they came from and what they’re made of?’ So we talked of the chair as a living object, with its own character. How do you show people your character? You can’t look inside. The most obvious is the shadow – it copies you, moves with you. So the shadow became the vehicle to [depict] the recycling processes. The three colours were graphically arresting but they say the same thing so they converge to the same point.
‘Less is More and More’ by IMAJIN & Facetnating Brothers
Brendon Lim, who heads design studio IMAJIN, used to work with Kerry Hill Architects as well as hospitality focussed interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates. This accounts for the firm’s mainly hospitality portfolio that includes restaurants like Catalunya and hotels like Alila Lishui (under construction). For this installation, they collaborated with Facetnating Brothers, a branding and design agency led by Gabriel and Emmanuel Pang. Their interactive installation invited viewers to sit on Emeco Broom chairs and clear away recycled wood waste with a ‘humble’ brush in order to read the infographics on the chair’s recycling processes.
How did you derive at your idea?
Brendon Lim: After watching the video of Philippe Starck [talking about his Broom chair], we saw how humble a product it was. He hardly talked about the chair. It was all about the process, celebrating the process. We wanted to keep it real. The part where Starck [talked about] ‘the elegance of minimalism’ made us want to create a truly minimal kind of installation.
Have you worked with Facetnating Brothere before? How was the working relationship?
Brendon Lim: Actually this is our first collaboration. What we enjoyed was actually the dialogue, the rigour and filtration of ideas. They have so much more experience doing installations. For us, it was more the social program, the flow of spaces, the science of spaces using something engaging. They [considered] how people would look at it from a different angle – even [considering] the graphics, the font size, background, colours. That was something we technically were not good at, which they brought to the table.
What were the most challenging, and also the most enjoyable part of the entire process?
Emmanuel and Gabriel Pang: What was most joyful was the instant reaction and engagement the audiences had with our installation. It made the whole process worthwhile. It was a slight challenge putting all the little details together within a short time [frame] but once it was realised we were all quite pleased.
Look out for more on Green Space 2014 in Cubes C69 June/July Issue
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