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Nature & Senses II: Ideation

The building of “Virtual Park”

Come July 27, the Keepers Playground of Infinite Happiness will open its doors to the public. Paperspace and level 3 of National Design Center will be prepared to wow and delight with our sensory pop-up exhibition.

As with all adventures, the journey matters. Given a tight deadline of 3 months to ideate, plan and organize installations, designers were forced to get their creative juices going and come up with ideas, quickly!

Through fortnightly meetings, the Paperspace collective and several studios located on level 3 of the National Design Center presented and brainstormed ideas and themes, which were then used to develop ideas for these unique art installations.

In this post, we shall delve into the fascinating ways designers drew their inspiration, and how their ideas developed through the process.

Nature and Senses

Some of the varied textures and colors used in “Virtual Park”

Our overarching theme, “Nature and Senses”, was crafted by Sam Ang, Design Director of Grey Canopy. Reconnecting with nature through our senses is one of the concepts she wanted to explore. Her goal is to awaken the senses through a renewed and intimate connection with nature.

“We collect and process data with our five senses, and this data inevitably builds a relationship,” said Sam. “Will we be able to reconnect with nature through our senses then? And will this reconnection soothe our inner soul in this bustling, fast-paced city?”

Bringing Nature Indoors

“Virtual Park” team putting some muscle into their installation

Step out of the lift lobby and the first thing you’ll see is the virtual park simulation lovingly put together by Graphite Studios, Orcadesign and VAlternative. Inspired by the idea of bringing nature indoors, the designers wanted to create an immersive experience to differentiate level 3 from the rest of the building.

By using different textures, such as flat and rolled carpets and upcycled yarn, paired with serene nature projections on the ceiling, they created a textural space that invites the public to unwind and relax.

Valentina from VALternative lovingly crocheting the cover for “Sky Chair”

Creating a Big Picture

Creating the first 3M Post-it mural prototype

Tasked with wayfinding and storytelling, Ohm of JustSketch wanted to tell a big story with small tools to symbolize individuals sharing to create a bigger picture. He wanted to create a sense of community. Inspired by another art installation he saw during his travels, he designed beautiful post-it murals titled “Dusk Till Dawn.” The public will be invited to pen their answers to thought-provoking questions that have been stamped onto each post-it. May of Aubergine Architects was tasked with crafting the questions.

Recycling

Ohm of JustSketch sorting through collected plastic bags

Ohm also wanted to create a larger statement regarding waste and how much we produce everyday. What better way to do that than to compile plastic bags from everyday life and create a pixel mural out of it? Tenants of the National Design Center contributed their plastic bags to create a large mural that will be visible from the main lobby.

Upcycling

Frank Chen and Kelvin Chiang posing with their brainchild, the Boomtable

The Boomtable is a novel way of upcycling. A large, plastic water tank found abandoned at a construction site, designers Frank Chen and Kevin Cheung decided to upcycle it into a multipurpose household item – a mood light, speaker, and tech hub all-in-one. Part of ‘Giving New Life to Abandoned Objects’ (2013), we are proud to house this as part of Nature & Senses.

Designer Ding Yang and engineer Jodee Lee have also been powering away tirelessly to create a synchronized show of light and sound!

“Forgotten Melodies” has an intriguing story behind it – what started out as an upcycling project – using rattan durian baskets to house speakers and create a hearing experience – morphed into an upcycling project using materials that have been stored in a warehouse for 10 years. When Ding Yang of Paperspace realized there were no more rattan durian baskets to be found in Singapore – they have all been replaced by plastic baskets – he sought for alternatives, and was glad to find sound domes that can be reused.

6 sound domes lining the corridor will play forgotten sounds of nature – sounds we take for granted. Stand under these sound domes while you answer the thought-provoking questions of the post-it murals.  

Zeth from DesignSingapore Council posing with his sound dome donation

Illusions

“A SAND-sory of Nature and Flow” team fine-tuning installation

Perhaps one of the most interesting installations would be “A SAND-sory of Nature and Flow”, an interactive installation inspired by illusions and mirages. GINLEE Studio, a fashion design studio, drew inspiration from their latest fashion collection themed around Tel Aviv. “What is real and what isn’t?” is the question Gin Lee wants viewers to reflect on.

The public will be invited on weekends to participate in this sensory experience by scooping sand from the tray and letting it sift through the funnel and watch a story, projected onto the falling sand, unfold. Combined with Grey Canopy’s design expertise, M.lab Project’s project management, and nipek’s lighting design, this installation evolved into what it is today. “A SAND-sory of Nature and Flow” hopes to evoke your sense of touch and sight.

Environment

Veronica and Susana with their early prototypes of “Jello-Héroe”

Veronica of Paperspace was intrigued by a new seaweed packaging material that is compostable and even edible. Seen as a great way to be socially and environmentally responsible, Veronica and Susana of Stoked Associates came together to create a visually ethereal experience to evoke thoughts about environmental awareness. Titled “Jello-Héroe”, it hopes to evoke your sense of sight.

Entering Home Stretch

It continues to be an eye-opening journey for designers as they learn and bounce ideas off each other. Now we are entering the home stretch, and as installation commences, and obstacles come our way, we continue to push on to make our ideas a reality. Stay tuned for the next blog post, where we talk about our challenges and how we overcome them.

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