Over the last decade, some 20 titles have sprung up from Singapore, riding the wave of its cultural renaissance and defying the fact the city-state was once known for its tight media censorship (Singapore still ranks 154 out of 180 in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index). Over the decade or so though, the Singaporean government has pumped in millions of bucks to grow its creative sector and nurture creativity among its citizens—and an independent magazine scene has flourished from this intersection.
When branding studio Somewhere Else was commissioned to transform Singapore’s oldest architecture journal into “the architect’s magazine,” there was one major rule: photographs were barred from the journal’s cover and kept small inside.
This principle was set out by The Singapore Architect’s new editor Hoo Cheong Fong, who believes that only fools think about architecture through photographs.
Under different editors and designers over the last five decades, this publication put out by the Singapore Institute of Architects had become too “commercial” instead of “craft-based” for the newly-appointed Fong, an architect by training, and his editorial team. “The way they presented architecture unfortunately was not through the eyes of how an architect presents architecture,” he explains.
What happens when a classical musician meets a punk rock star? The result, in graphic design terms, is the latest release of WERK magazine.
Bundled inside a handmade wrapper resembling a courier package plastered with stamps, customs forms, and white shipping tape, is a pristine hardcover book—a surprisingly conventional design for a cult publication better known for its experimental printing and production. Previous issues came in spray-painted covers, cloth pages, and frayed edges, but for its 23rd edition magazine founder Theseus Chan made the unusual move of making a book as German master printer Gerhard Steidl would.