Despite my terrible grasp of Mandarin, I started looking out for Chinese books after encountering the cover designs of Taiwanese designer Wang Zhihong (王志弘). His type-driven designs exploit how Chinese characters are logographics, symbols that visually express the objects and concepts they represent. By deconstructing and reassembling them into elements of a modernist visual language, Wang shows how tradition can be made contemporary. Design by Wangzhihong.com (2016) compiles over 200 of his covers into a visual tome that is a treat for the eyes.
#ADesignLibrary spotlights lesser known design books, and invites public access to my personal collection of titles that focuses on Singapore architecture and design, Asian design, everyday design, critical and speculative design as well as design theory and philosophy. I welcome enquiries and physical loans.
The rapid urbanisation of Asia has spurred the growth of play spaces where children and communities can experience, learn and reimagine urban life. This five-part documentary series commissioned by Channel NewsAsia and created by FreeState Productions examines how play spaces impact on the communities they are built for and the urban environments they exist in. Each hour-long episode journeys through playgrounds across Asian cities, including Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Sapporo, Seoul, Suncheon, Singapore, Tainan and Taipei.
Dragons + paper cuttings + calligraphy + an auspicious splash of red = Chinese graphic design? More like a very, very outdated stereotype.
Consider the Chinese zodiac greeting cards by Hong Kong designer Sandy Choi, who’s putting a modern twist on the tradition of representing each year with an animal. The card for this year—the year of the sheep—bleats “BAA BAA BAA BAA,” while the year of the dragon in 2012 has a greeting printed white-on-white—a clever allusion to the mythical animal.