The Alchemists

#107 At La Triennale 15 projects by young designers from Singapore explore material’s potential in a show curated by Casciani and Chia. #salone2015

The Alchemists
“The Alchemists” is a nod to the Italian movement of the 1970s, Studio Alchimia, whose members’ experimental design pieces resulted in a design language and creativity that challenged the status quo. It was a radical design movement that pushed the boundaries of design, and changed the global design landscape for the future.
The Alchemists
Hans Tan, Spotted Nyonyo
The title also aims to convey a seemingly magical element, or role, that exists in the act of designing or making. The alchemist of yesteryear dedicated their life to the transformation of materials, from the ordinary to the precious, most commonly from metal into gold. The starting point for “The Alchemists” project was “the designer as alchemist: what can be designed by applying the process of transmutation?”
The Alchemists
Outofstock, Aura Tropicale
A new generation of designers from Singapore embarked on a creative investigation through design – of language, mythologies, and philosophies. Various materials were explored, from nylon laser sintering to resin pouring, from liquid colouring of ceramics to acrylic textiles moulding. However, “the intent of the show is not to simply exhibit new production technologies, but to develop along with them, a more contemporary attitude for designing in the global context”, mentions Stefano Casciani, Italian curator for the show.
The Alchemists
Melvin Ong, Ruchette
“By selecting designers that vary in age and experience, the showcase hopes to reflect on the current state of design from a Singapore perspective. More importantly, this project hopes to serve both as a converging and a departure point for more dialogue and collaboration among this group of designers, as well as future generations of designers to come”, says Patrick Chia founder and director of Singapore’s Design Incubation Centre. “The Alchemists” showcase is the result of a lecture and workshop series.
The Alchemists
Lanzavecchia + Wai , Fools’ Gold

Inspired by the laminates used by creators of the Alchimia group in the late 1970’s, Fools’ Gold
 by Lanzavecchia + Wai employs this approach to gold-chrome car wrap and volumes of rudimentary function constructed out of corrugated steel sheets. This is done to purposefully increase their value perception, while concurrently revealing its actual humble materiality. The corrugated property not only gives the metal sheet its structural strength, but also maximizes surface area for car wrap application, thereby having more “value” than a regular steel sheet. It is within this conceptual and aesthetic tension that this object dwells.

The range and possibilities of this aesthetic palette is further expanded by vinyl’s ability to be printed and laser-cut with texture.

This concept riffs off the prevailing trend in car-modification culture, covering up panels in stock paint with swathes of textured colour vinyl as the owner fancies; more often than not resulting like a mobile Pop-Art sculpture.

The Alchemists
Hans Tan, Pour

Hans Tan’s Pour table is cast with its top surface faced down without a mould, using gravity and the surface tension of resin made viscous to form the multi coloured table surface, where each colour puddle is individually poured.

The curing time of the resin is controlled and layered with precision so that each colour to not mix with the adjacent one to generate the multi-coloured puddles.

The Alchemists
Jolene Ng & Lee Si Min , MATr

The MATr series by Jolene Ng & Lee Si Min was borne out of the constraints and the optimisation principles of 3D printing. MATr envisions support structures as design objects, produced in a co-dependent fashion, with four products in the same print cycle of one.

While laser sintering allows for fantastical forms to be created, the freedom to push the limits of the design objects produced with such methods leads us to make objects that are too fragile to survive the printing process and the subsequent extraction from the printer. MATr reimagines the support structures that make these objects possible, as separate designed objects in their own right, giving rise to the manufacturing of objects within other objects.

Each MATr yields a basket, a bowl, a vase and a lampshade.

The Alchemists
Instruments of Beauty (Divine Tools), 
Olivia Lee

The collection of tools Instruments of Beauty (Divine Tools) by Olivia Lee personifies mankind’s yearning for beauty and meaning
in the world. Just as the Alchemists sought after enlightenment through the pursuit of immortality, the Ancient Greeks looked for divinity in the correlation of mathematics, sciences and arts. They believed divinity could be found in the Golden Ratio (“Divina Proportione”, according to italian mathematician Pacioli) a geometric relationship as old as the spiral of the nautilus shell and propagated in iconic artifacts across history.

This set for vision and drawing with the Golden Ratio represents the convergence of disciplines (math, engineering, art) and ideals (spirituality, technology) – and the promise of eternity through everlasting and universal beauty. These tools invoke the mysterious force that encodes the Universe with the innate sense of proportions. These 9 tools apply the principles of the golden ratio across different formats and functions – each tool is designed to aid in the use and discovery of the divine proportion in existing or new work.

The Alchemists
Tiffany Loy, Textile Transmutations

Textile Transmutations is the creation of three-dimensional forms on textiles Tiffany Loy. The project explores a heat setting technique, and modifies it to suit a small scale production. Acrylic molds were designed to augment the form of polyester fabric, achieving a rich texture that flows throughout the material.

The three-dimensional motif on the textiles were generated from a basic module, the 20mm circle. The module was distributed in a radial manner, and overlapped to create a repeated pattern on the 3D textiles were then trimmed into different outlines.

The shapes resulting from the process are wearable on the human body as sculptural dresses to accentuate the presence of the human figure, a subject often lacking of interest in the living and product design practice.


Singapore Design: The Alchemists

14–19 April, 2015
Triennale di Milano
viale Alemagna 6 Milano
This project is organised by Industry+ and supported by the DesignSingapore Council

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