’cause it’s Christmas with Ying Zhen

I came across these fantastic cards on the NUS Coop e-store. They are designed by Ying Zhen, a final year Industrial Design student from the National University of Singapore. Find out how they were made …

“The ring pattern on the greeting card is created from the application of chromatography using the tree extract obtained from boiling the tree branches. Chromatography is a method of separating a mixture by passing it in solution or suspension through a medium in which the components move at different rates. For each successive layer, the number of drops used was reduced and over 3,000 drops was placed in creating the pattern. Two designs were produced using the branches of Rain tree and Tembusu tree which were found within the campuses of National University of Singapore. Although the process of creating each of them is laborious, the end result never fails to intrigue me. Each pattern seems to have a life of its own, which has an uncanny resemblance to tree rings that grows with age as if the tree is making a drawing to unveil memories that is deeply rooted within its core.”

Make sure to watch the video showing the process of making the rings. Awesome!

Spotted! Warren Tey

Warren Tey is a year 3 student at the Nanyang Technological University, School of Art, Design and Media (ADM), majoring in Visual Communication. Last month Warren received a Behance Appreciation Award and flicking through his portfolio it’s really not hard to see why.

Warren: ”When I enrolled at ADM, I knew for sure that I wanted to be in Visual Communication. I was studying film before, but I always had a love-hate relationship with it. Over time, I realized my growing appreciation for graphic design. So when I finally had an opportunity to study something different, I did. What I find so intriguing about graphic design is that it might look so easy at first, but the moment you try your hand at it you realize how much effort it takes. Within that single 2D surface there is already so much to consider: typography, materials, composition, colors etc. I also recognize that I still have so much more to learn in this field. In my designs, I always try to make sure that there is a distinct concept that anchors the entire work together. From there I’ll explore different ways of portraying the chosen idea. To me the greatest challenge is always to come up with something fresh. That’s also why I constantly seek inspiration from the people around me, all from different disciplines and with different perspectives to offer.”

The Ang Ku Kueh Girl




“My products showcase our local heritage in a light-hearted manner and I inject food characteristics as well as local history and culture into my designs.”

Kueh Totes!  Kueh Soap!  A Kueh Folder! These are just a few designs by Wang Shijia that will leave you craving for your guilty treats and squeeze out a smile somewhere along the way.

Shijia is the founder of Ang Ku Kueh Girl, a design house featuring local designs inspired by – you guessed it – local snacks and pastry. “Ang Ku Kueh Girl is inspired by a local Chinese pastry – ang ku kueh (红龟粿); this pastry signifies good fortune and longevity. Ang Ku Kueh Girl is cute and has distinctive local characteristics, for example, she wears her slippers almost everywhere! Ang Ku Kueh Girl also likes to play traditional games like bubble-blowing, hopscotch and five stones with her brother, Ang Ku Kueh Boy and her friends like Png Kueh Girl. In addition, we have also reinterpreted Singapore’s 1980s national campaigns like the “Stop at 2 Children” and “Speak Mandarin” campaigns with Ang Ku Kueh Girl as the main character. This series is a cheeky take on our memorable 80s campaigns.”

Lavender soap …nomnomnom … just how we like it!

Eason Chow’s FIREARC

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Eason Chow is a final year undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Division of Industrial Design with a few really cool projects under his belt. One of them – the FIREARC  – even made it to the finals in the 2013 Red Dot Design Concept competition and  Spark Design.

Check out the video above and then come back here to read Eason’s technical explanation.

“In the event of an outbreak of fire, the availability of a fully operational fire extinguisher is crucial. However, due to the lack of maintenance and the limited lifespan of a pressurised fire extinguisher, there is a possibility that it might fail in times of need. With regards to fire safety, we should not take chances. Chancing upon the idea of using chemical reaction to inflate a lifejacket which is another object related to safety, the idea of using a simple twisting action and the creation of an instant chemical reaction such as bicarbonate salts and acid to produce a massive amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) can be incorporated to streamline the use of the fire extinguisher. As the substance used is stored separately in a non-pressurized form before use and only mixed when in need, the FIREARC extinguisher offers an expiry date far exceeding the conventional pressurized CO2 fire extinguishers.”

’cause it’s Christmas with Chubby Chubby’s SantaOwls

“May this Owliday season leave you with precious memories, a Christmas filled with happiness, love and joy all around! Hope your Owliday season’s a Hoot!” 

Hoot Hoot Hoot! The Chubby Chubby elves made these mega cute SantaOwls for you to purchase at once! We just bought this one and we are giving it away to the first Singapore-based reader to email michele@culturepush.com. Contest closes 30 November. .… and we have a winner!

Hoot luck!

The Last Gift by Raymond Hon

“A gift that reminds. A gift that takes away loneliness. A gift of acceptance and closure. A gift that offers a fleeting moment of familiarity yet at the same time informs the fact that some things are ephemeral and are lost forever no matter how hard one tries to hang on to.”

2050 designers from 96 different countries participated in this year’s Design for Death competition organized by designboom, in collaboration with the LIEN FOUNDATION and ACM FOUNDATION. Among the shortlisted entries we found a project by Raymond Hon, a 3D printed from the cremated remains of the departed, the last gift for the living …

Raymond: “As cremation becomes an increasingly common practice, many still find it awkward to display an urn of cremated remains in their house but at the same time, find it a pity to just leave what’s left of their loved ones in a columbarium, only to be forgotten over time. With advancement in technology, many things deemed impossible have become a reality. By creating a wind chime with components produced from the cremated remains of their loved ones, it is possible to aid in gaining acceptance and closure during the grieving process, and then serving as a reminder to the living of his/her existence. An abstracted image of the departed is obtained by inputting a portrait into an algorithm in Grasshopper, a generative design plugin for Rhinoceros (a 3D visualization software). The abstracted images are then printed as negative spaces in each piece of the wind chime. As the pieces align, the onlooker would be able to catch a glimpse of the image of the departed for a fleeting moment. At the same time, during the grieving process, one would try to align the pieces manually, only to realise that some things are ephemeral, and no matter how hard you try to hang on to it, it is lost forever.”

Raymond is a final year undergraduate at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Division of Industrial Design.

Spotted! Matthew Sia

“Always be curious. To understand something is not being able to define or describe the subject. Instead, taking something that I already know and making it unknown thrills me. It refreshes and deepens my understanding of the subject. ”

Matthew Sia is fresh out of his BA in Graphic and Media Design at the London College of Communication, focusing on Design for Interaction and Moving Image. He enjoys working across a broad spectrum of media and materials, high-tech, low-tech and no-tech, and agrees that the only boundaries are set by the imagination and creative ideas hold sway over technology. Matthew’s work is often about playfulness, humor and social interaction.

About Applejack 45s: “You could say it is a typology of records. I made a record of a song called Applejack using different materials. It would be silly to expect the music to match the quality of the actual record. However the end results from some of the materials sound surprisingly good. “Applejack 45s” is my most recent work motivated by Haptic considerations. The term Haptic means relating or pleasant to the sense of touch. To put it plainly the term here indicates an attitude that takes into consideration how we perceive things with our senses. For Applejack 45s I used three of our senses -sight, hearing and touch- and I focused on tactile sensitivities through the use of materials. Materials are not the only components in design, but materials and means are the reason for my explorations. Only through a study of each material I was able to optimize their potential. Through this project I have discovered the emotional qualities in materials that invoke our senses. I went beyond vinyls, by making impressions of records onto different types of materials. To observe the interplay of materials and sound, one can sense the effects of texture and sound. Microscopic scans of the different record grooves were taken at the Natural History Museum in London.”

Now sit back, get your headphones on and submit to the grooves of the Applejack.

Project Plug: Goodcraft by Neighbourgoods

Images by Jovian Lim.

Every time Neighbourgoods pops out a new project we’re all like “Yeah man, that’s awesome!” Well my words exactly (again) since first getting wind of their ‘Apron’ project.

James Teo, Neighbourgoods“About 2 years ago, when Fahmy (FIN) showed me the aprons that he made, I was blown away. We kept saying that we should collaborate to make something that puts craft and aprons together. Fast forward to early 2013, we decided to dive head-on into putting together a show simply as reminder of the importance of craftsmanship. It’s great that there is a lot more talk and respect given to craft, but in a world that worships things done fast and cheap, total focus on practising a craft can really be a hard thing to do. So Goodcraft was conceived.”

Why an apron? ”As the craftsman works, the apron protects the wearer and carries the different tools and accessories unique to their craft. The apron bears the marks of the craftsman’s daily activities, habits, and methods over time. It speaks not only of what they do, but who they are.”

Besides the Goodcraft show apron, they invited eight creatives to customise a blank canvas apron for their Goodcraft show. Here’s a peek at the customized pieces to whet your appetite for the upcoming Goodcraft show which opens Friday and runs until 3 November at the Dwelling Concept.

“It’s about take the time to refine, hone and perfect your skills or an object – it’s about obsession and passion.” – Stolen.

“Honesty to material yet being able to use them in a refreshing way.” – Bureau.


“Craft means something that will take years to master. It is something that can be part of your life. It needs focus, love, and intention. It is dependent on how skilled your hands are, your mental stamina and, a lot of the time, on your mood. I believe there is no finishing line when it comes to craft… If the piece is made with love and care, the owner or use can have thousands of conversations about it and that same energy would spread.” – Sabotage.

“Pure intention in the concept, intention and process.” – Christopher John Fussner.


“Craft – an oft-misquoted and abused word. At the heart of it, it means to me the act of making something beautiful by hand, controlled only by the human mind. Machines and tools are supposed to be but conduits of our creativity.” – Ed Et Al.

“Great ideas have to be accompanied and complemented by craft that understands the vernacular and accentuates the crux of a body of work…The passion for craft develops my character in being honest to myself and my work. This is what constantly drives me to improve as an illustrator.” – MessyMsxi.


“Craft means knowing the trade inside out, understanding the tools of the trade than the trappings and the drama of the occupation.” – Hounds of the Baskervilles.

“Craft is something that I try to work on everyday. It’s my point of departure and sometimes, arrival. In some cases, it comes after art but I don’t think you can have one without the other.” – Speak Cryptic.

For more information about the craftsmen and their craft, visit the Neighbourgoods page.

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