Much like any other exchange students program, 17 students from Kyoto Institute of Technology and the National University of Singapore were first asked to collect characteristic elements and images that constitute their own culture. The selections need not be typical and also not necessarily known by anyone, but instead, it is recommended to discover forms that are clearly considered to be Japanese / Singapore, though no one has pointed out.
The exchange (in sample images, not people!) happened after that, and each student selected from the abundance of samples received, based on what he/she liked, and what he/she thinks is likely to be the material of his/her work. Then, the design process began. Students were now required to design objects with functions that can be used in everyday life by fitting themselves to the context of their country, using the form chosen by themselves as a material.
After creating their designs, all of the works were then gathered in one place, mixed and displayed at Ventura Future during Milan's Salone. The main purpose? To let visitors play a game of Guess Who: trying to identify from which country each design was made - and you might have already guessed, but it is not an easy thing to do at first glance. As Eizo Okada, one of the exhibition curators from Kyoto explained, "This project is an experiment that causes the propagation and indigenisation of culture, which is one of the most important processes of human history, under limited conditions. "
Information is lost as some cultural elements (words, things, figures, etc.) are transferred from one area to another, which causes misreading and changes at the same time as it mixes with the destination culture; this process is done mutually between Singapore and Japanese students.
"[But] thanks to the inevitable misinterpretation that accompanies this process, we produced objects that reflect qualities of both Singapore and Kyoto," he concluded. Patrick Chia of Singapore's Design Incubation Centre agreed. "In this project, we both hope to discover and rethink our identity through each other's lenses and interpretations. Not only exchanging forms, but also the exchange and forming of each other's values and identity. "
These six designs were quite the chameleon at fooling our perceptions:
SOFT SCALES by Emma Huffman (T), TUBO by Fong Sook Yin (B)
The statue of the Merlion, a creature with a body of a fish and a head of a lion, is one of the best-known symbols of Singapore. “Soft Scales” was inspired by the repeated overlays of the Merlion’s thick and soft looking scales which create shadow and light. The pattern and texture were delicately recreated through 3D modelling and printing of silk crepe.
Kyoto is home to the finest Uji tea productions in Japan. Tubo is a trio of lidded canisters for storing miscellaneous items at home. The lids are a graphical extraction of the linear, tubular tea aisles spanning across the mountainsides of Kyoto, emphasising its three-dimensional, lush quality.
Inspired by the way light filters through the lattice patterns of Japanese windows, these wall lamps serve to bring out the horizontal and vertical qualities individually. Together, Hori and Verti form a grid lattice when overlapped with one another, creating intrigue and a new dimension to the piece.
A candle stand covered with tiles. The designer was inspired by a tiled table and a stool which can be seen in the public spaces of Singapore and set the theme of tiled products. Excluding the idea of functionality, he designed a product constructed from tiles and blocks.
HIROGARI by Lee Hsiao Fong (T), SUNSHADE by Mayuko Okamoto (B)
Inspired by the handle of a Japanese uchiwa fan, Hirogari guides the arrangement of flowers and leaves in a fan-like display. Flowers can be composed asymmetrically, inviting viewers to complete the fan with their imagination.
A sunshade is an agglomeration of shadow and light. Light shines out from the inner eaves, casting shadows on its surrounding. Using shapes found in everyday objects of Singapore, the four layers emphasise the shape of the eaves, and its shadow to create a unique ambience.
For more about the Exchanged Forms collection, visit here.
Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.
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