Fashion Fashion to Lighting Design: Chihiro Tanaka

Japanese designer Chihiro Tanaka is a self-proclaimed “Light Couturier” who creates delicately crafted lighting inspired by his training in fashion. Having recently been named a Rising Asian Talent by MAISON&OBJET ASIA, Justin Zhuang finds out how he arrived at the bright idea to blend the craft and techniques of two different disciplines.

How did you go from studying at Japan’s first dress-making school, Bunka Fashion College, to designing lighting?

I have a fairly extensive knowledge of fashion and textile design, so I thought if I could use and apply this expertise in a brand new field that I knew nothing of it would lead to something innovative. Lighting equipment involves work to verify its safety and durability, so entering the market is quite difficult. But that difficulty stimulated my curiosity and I plunged into this unknown world.

Read the rest at Habitus Living Singapore

Beyond An Art Destination

An empty Gillman Barracks on a rainy Tuesday afternoon reminded me of its struggles. Last year, 5 of 13 art galleries left this contemporary arts destination in Singapore, prompting questions about its future.

One answer was in the showcase I had come to review. Dwellings at Gillman: Homes for Artists and Researchers is a month-long display of speculative residences for the enclave – an imaginative alternate vision to its current setup of art galleries and restaurants.

Installed across four locations along the sheltered walkway of Gillman Barracks are 12 site-specific architectural models that came out of a workshop led by Roland Sharpe Flores and Dr Lillian Chee of the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Architecture. Over five months, the duo led second-year undergraduates to seek out the “essence” of this former British army barracks and express it in residences that ultimately seek to “create an inclusive, nurturing ecosystem for the Singapore artistic scene.”

Read the rest at IndesignLive Singapore

How One Woman’s Search for Malaysia’s Design History Became a National Archive

The Malaysia Design Archive actually began in Havana, Cuba. In 2007, founder Ezrena Marwan visited the city for the Icograda World Design Congress, where, as she listened to Cuban graphic designers share how they were limited to creating propaganda by their country’s politics, Ezrena was struck by how different it was from her own experience as a graphic designer back home.

“We only design for commercial stuff, and we don’t really pay attention to anything else,” she says. “I was really inspired by how much they think about design, and how much it’s linked to politics and the land.”

She started collecting and documenting everyday graphics in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and shared them online. That marked the beginning of the Malaysia Design Archive, a website that traces the history of this Southeast Asian nation through its visual culture.

Read the rest at AIGA’s Eye on Design