2010 / Curatorial
Singapore Art Museum
Co-curator and product development
CURATOR’S MESSAGE by Hans Tan
One would routinely pardon souvenir shops in Singapore for selling Balinese Woodcrafts or Thai paper lamps or Chinese embroidery. Although these products hardly represent Singapore nor are they made or often used locally, it is a surmounting task for any honest local merchant to fill his shop with products of local flavour other than Merlion key-chains.
MADE FOR SAM is an initiative that engages the abilities of local creativity to create an original collection of products for SAM. Most of the designed products in this collection do not explicitly respond to the Singapore identity as a context or deal with familiar imagery. Nevertheless, the works and the ideas behind them originate from sincere artistic approaches and design ethos of their creators. These attitudes capture the current landscape of Singapore’s creative vigour — the collection in itself is a product of local ingenuity and expression.
40 creatives based in Singapore were invited for this project. They are from an extensive spectrum of disciplines, such as contemporary art, fashion design, photography, illustration, product design, communication design, and architecture. In formulating the design brief for the multitude of exceedingly creative people with fundamental tendencies for bending rules, constraints in the perspective of product pragmatics and limitations of manufacture were implemented. Each designer/artist was given a design brief for a product, each brief describing a unique set of predetermined specifications for materials, dimensions and manufacturing processes.
Each design brief starts with a short annotation about a product, which serves a point of departure for the creative pursuit of an imaginative outcome. There are a total of 8 product types, with 5 designers/artists working on each type. A conscious effort was made to distribute each product type across the different fields to maximise the variety of interpretations — an architect designs an eraser, a fashion designer designs a set of greeting cards, a communications designer designs pencil case, an exhibition designer designs a mug, an artist designs a tote-bag.
Within the strict limitations of the brief, creativity burgeoned. The designers’ and artists’ ability to transform constraints into opportunities resulted in the multitude of inspiring ideas brought forth by the final collection of MADE FOR SAM products. During the past six months, each product took a unique journey in the course of its development, from sketches to prototypes to final outcomes. It is with an immense gratitude for the energetic involvement of all participants and collaborators that we present this collection to you.