“The Way of Asian Design” (2007) was my earliest introduction to the idea that design could be related to Asian culture. This 200-page catalogue documents the presentations of four professors—Kohei Sugiura 🇯🇵, Ahn Sang-Soo 🇰🇷, Lu Jingren 🇨🇳 and Kirti Trivedi 🇮🇳—who spoke at a seminar of the same name at the Nanyang Technological University as part of the Singapore Design Festival 2007. While each interpreted their graphic design practice in the context of traditional Asian cultures, it was not entirely convincing as they often fell back on vague notions of “duality”, “formless” and “essence”, which are found outside of Asia too. Nonetheless, we can see them as part of a global trend in the 2000s when designers tried to create (or interpret) more culturally-specific works (in this case, “Asian sensibility”) to offer an “alternative to international modernism”.
#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 inquiries and physical loans.