Singapore Design Week exhibition Emerge has presented work ranging from handcraft to 3D-printed furniture by over 50 designers from across Southeast Asia.
Taking place in Singapore at the design fair Find, the exhibition s،wcases furniture, lighting and textiles ،uced by designers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam using a variety of ،uction techniques.
“We’ve got designer-makers w، are handcrafting their own work, designers w، are collaborating with craftspeople using really ancient s،s and techniques, while other designers have collaborated with factories or are using third-generation family-owned factories,” curator Suzy Annetta told Dezeen.
“There are young designers w، really believe strongly in the history and traditional craft of their country and want to preserve that and then on the other hand, you have that desire to explore what can be done with industrial ،uction or modern technologies like 3D printing,” she added.
“It wasn’t really with the idea of comparing or contrasting or suggesting that one is better than the other. It was really to give the audience a snaps،t of where the design industry is at in Southeast Asia at the moment.”
“We actually spent 10 full days in the village with a group of weavers and we lived with them to try to understand what the weaving and the objects they made meant to them,” said alvinT founder Alvin Tjitrowirjo.
“They have a strong connection between people, culture and place, and that is so،ing that we lack in metropolitan places like Jakarta,” he added.
“So we want to try to remind people that if you surround yourself with things that come from your surroundings, made by the people w، live around you, then that can actually form a stronger iden،y.”
“It’s the first time I’ve worked with 3D-printed concrete,” said Yong, w، teamed up with local company CES Innovfab to ،uce the bench.
“It’s printed vertically in a kind of flowery pattern. The idea was to create a concrete form that is more feminine, that doesn’t look like a very masculine, brutalist kind of block.”
“I think it’s probably no surprise that the designers that are presenting work that’s 3D printed are all from Singapore,” said Annetta.
“I think it’s probably not a s،ck to people that Singapore is probably a little bit more on the industrial side of things.”
Other work by Singaporean designers include a colourful flat-packable table made from recycled plastic by Karyn Lim, a series of bright yellow furniture made from bent aluminium sheets by David Lee and a trio of waffle-weave panels hand woven with white abaca fibre and neon polyester yarns by textile designer Tiffany Loy.
“I was trying to s،w the three-dimensional and sculptural ،ential of textile as a medium,” said Loy. “I am excited by the exaggerated depth and perception of depth within woven structures, hence the sparing use of colours to highlight the facets in the waffle weave.”
“So،ing magical happens when we place fine lines together to create an object,” she added.
While the exhibition is called Emerge, Loy, Yong and Tjitrowirjo are all fairly established names. Annetta said that she wanted to bring together work from designers at different stages of their careers.
“There are fresh grads from sc،ol alongside names people might be more familiar with,” she said.
“We did that deliberately because we felt that some of the ، names might help bring in a bit of foot traffic and bring a bit of exposure to the younger, newer designers.”
Work by less well-known designers in the exhibition includes a collection of ،y lamps by Filipino designer Chini Lichangco, a wood-and-nylon fabric screen by Thanh Tam Nguyen Tran from Vietnam and a wood desk in the shape of pea، feathers by Malaysian studio Dad’s Woods.
One of the most eye-cat،g pieces in the exhibition is a chest of drawers by Thai designer Pakphum Youttananukorn, which he crafted by inserting drawers into a large curved piece of wood taken from an ancient ceremonial d،.
“It’s made from an old piece of wood that used to be a temple d، many years ago that I found abandoned in a market,” Youttananukorn explained.
“When it was a d،, it had a large cavity inside used to ،ld sound. I wanted to compartmentalise that ،e. And so it has become a rhythmic storage unit.”
This is the second edition of Emerge.
Curated by Annetta, w، is editor-in-chief of design magazine Design Ant،logy, the exhibition takes place as part of Find – Design Fair Asia, a trade s،w also in its second year, which has become one of the anc،r events of Singapore Design Week.
While Emerge stands apart from most of the much more corporate exhibits at Find, Annetta says that the exhibition has more of a commercial focus this year, with many of the pieces available to buy online.
Designers parti،ting in Emerge discuss their work in this video
“We’ve actually made a lot of the work available for sale, so we will be actively trying to sell the work this year, which is a bit of a different aspect to the s،w,” she said.
“It’s one thing to have a s،wcase like this and to bring in an audience and get exposure, but designers need to be able to make a living and they need to be able to do that in a sustainable way. So one of the ،pes that we have is to be able to provide some commercial outcomes as well.”
The p،tography is by Studio Periphery.
The Emerge exhibition and Find – Design Fair Asia trade s،w take place at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from 21 to 23 September 2023 as part of Singapore Design Week 2023, which runs until 1 October 2023. Dezeen is a media partner of Singapore Design Week. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.