Spotted! Yu Hua Liew

Yu Hua Mirror

Yu Hua writing table

Yu Hua desk

While political science graduate Yu Hua Liew had no former woodworking experience, she realised she wanted to work with her hands and do something practical. She enrolled in the Chippendale International School of Furniture in Scotland from which she recently picked up her degree.

One of Yu Hua’s signature pieces is a mirror with a beautifully-carved limewood surround gilded in white gold. “My design was inspired by the ocean and is reminiscent of Japanese art of the Edo period. The breaking wave carving features a polar bear looking out to see but, look closely, and you will notice a seal hiding in a cave.”

Yu Hua also designed a writing desk in wych elm and sycamore, with traditional dovetail joints to withstand any climate, and designed for easy dismantling – making it ideal for transportation. “The writing desk is called 根 which means root in Chinese, as it is the first piece of furniture I built and is a representation my first experiment in the field of woodworking.”

Also featured is her tabour slide tripod side table called the “鼎立” Ding Li Side Table. “It’s a Chinese term used to describe a tripartite confrontation, and its literal meaning is “to stand like three legs of a tripod”. Besides the obvious tripod stance of the side table, the name is also a nod to the contrast between the 3 different types of wood used: yew, sycamore and oak.”

Yu Hua’s plan is to return to Singapore to work as a furniture designer and maker and to open her own design studio.

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Ametri by Yuen Hin Nam

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Ametri by NUS Industrial Design graduate Nam is a folding bicycle designed with the Singaporean commuter in mind.

“Cycling commuters are able to fold and roll the bicycle into public transportation with much ease compared to conventional folding bicycles. In its folded form, the caster wheel acts as a directional guide, enabling omnidirectional manoeuvrability. The dimensions of Ametri in folded form are also within the requirements stipulated by the Land Transport Authority, making it the perfect bicycle for cross-modal transportation.”

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ARC Headgear by Alex Teo

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Another stand-out project we spotted at the NUS DID Grad Show earlier this month is the ARC headgear, featuring  a responsive mechanical metamaterial that absorbs and redirects impact forces. “This headgear offers up to 2.77 times better protection against linear impacts and 2.52 times better protection against rotational impacts than conventional headgear designs,” Alex Teo goes on to say. “This design rides on the developmental trend of Additive manufacturing towards mass production, as observed from big players of lifestyle brands like Adidas. Adidas had announced their plan to release up to 5000 pairs of Futurecraft 4D shoes with Carbon 3D, an American based 3D printing company.

ARC headgear also wishes to break the paradigm that additive manufacturing is meant for personalization and customisation of one-off products. In fact, the manpower and expertise required for personalizing a digitally designed product is the reason behind the much higher cost incurred by the end user. Hence, ARC is designed to have an adaptable fit that comfortably conforms to various head shapes and profile, a move to ensure additively manufactured products can be made for the masses and cost lowered by achieing economies of scale.

The invention of a new lattice structure design in this product is key to its success, which replaces the usage of conventional foam as protective padding materials. Conventional padding materials (like polyurethane foam) when designed to be highly protective (denser or thicker) inevitably comes with usability tradeoffs (ventilation, an undesirably thick profile etc).

The invented lattice structure was digitally conformed over a head form to create the bespoke ARC Headgear. Such a design can only be achieved by highly technical and iterative digital processes in 3D CAD, which is then eventually tangiblized via additive manufacturing.”

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Bead by Bit by Audrey Chua

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For Industrial Designer Audrey Chua, Peranakan beadwork has inspired her final year project, Bead by Bit.

“I came up with a canvas for Peranakan beadwork, enabling beading on 3D forms. Leveraging 3D printing technology and algorithmic design software, the grid on the canvas can be customised to suit different bead sizes yet retain the densely beaded Peranakan aesthetic on a wide variety of forms. The Bead by Bit canvas is sturdy enough to withstand the pressure of glass beads as compared to a traditional canvas.

Jewellery, heels and a vase were chosen as they embody the ornamental nature of the beadwork craft. By re-adapting the beading process to a contemporary context, it evolves the craft to increase its relevance and sustainability in today’s digital world.”

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Squeezy Peasy by Edmund Zhang

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Just in case you’re kicking yourself for missing the NUS DID Graduation show,  we’ve prepared a roundup of some fine thesis projects we came across in the last couple of days.

Today’s pick is Squeezy Peasy by Edmund Zhang, featuring a table lamp and a portable speaker operated through the gesture of squeezing.

“Much of the tactile interactions in our daily lives center around tapping and sliding. It led me to wonder if I could propose an alternative and ’softer’ way of interacting with everyday objects through squeezing, which though familiar and instinctive seemed to be relatively undertapped as a product interaction.

Drawing metaphorical relationships between interaction and function, the objects conjure satisfying and engaging user experiences. The series of two objects features a table lamp that increases in brightness the more it is squeezed, and dims when a plug at the rear is pulled out. It also includes a portable speaker that increases its volume the more it is squeezed, and gradually quietens when it is set upright.

The body of the products are of resin plastic, while the squeezable parts comprise of a flexible silicone outer skin with a soft foam core within. This combination of materials was chosen after numerous explorations with various materials as being the most optimal for its “squishy” properties while being comfortable to the touch.

All in all, I was ultimately trying to see how I could encapsulate an emotive experience (in this case, the sense of innate joy which is inextricably linked to squeezing) into a physical product.”

 

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