This April, a group of Singapore's best product design talent will be in Milan to show their creations at the world's most important design trade show: the Milan Furniture Fair.
The prototypes these designers and studios have conceptualised for the Triennale di Milano at the Triennale Design Museum, on from April 14-19, are based on the theme "The Alchemists".
The theme challenges designers to create something precious from ordinary materials.
The local designers will be the first Singaporeans to show at the Triennale Design Museum.
The project started as a workshop conducted by Milan-based Stefano Casciani and Singapore- based Patrick Chia last October.
Mr Casciani is the editor of architecture and design magazine, Domus, as well as a designer, curator and critical theorist.
Mr Chia is founding director of the Design Incubation Centre at the National University of Singapore (NUS), established in 2006.
He says: "The idea is to build a community of people sharing this experience and realise a certain kind of identity through it.
"Hopefully it will spread so that we have something that can gel design practitioners in the areas of furniture and object design together."
A total of 15 projects, curated by Mr Chia and Mr Casciani, will be going to Milan.
Mr Chia says: "My idea of alchemy is working within our own constraints, not just about the material but the process and constraints within our geography.
"We are influenced by everything. So how do we take something that is referenced everywhere, such as Japanese, European, and make it our own?"
The participation of Singaporean designers in Milan is supported not only by the DesignSingapore Council but also other design industry parties.
Some items to be shown
Fool's Gold by Lanzavecchia + Wai
Mr Chia says: "Fool's Gold is the idea of people in Lamborghinis wrapping their cars in gold foil; so he's making some fairly cheap material like galvanised zinc for roofs and wrapping the cars in this foil material."
Pour by Hans Tan
A side table poured with resin and colour to form the multi-coloured table surface. Each colour is poured individually with precise control of curing durations in succession so that each colour does not mix with the adjacent one, while creating a single seamless surface.
The Crane and Duck lamps by Studio Juju
The Crane Lamp has a total swivel range of 90 degrees, offering the flexibility to create ambient light against the wall or as a directional light while reading. The Duck Lamp can create ambient light or be used as a task lamp. Through the articulation of the lamp neck, the form of Duck becomes functional and expressive at the same time, with a nodding range of 40 degrees.
Textile Transmutations by Tiffany Loy
This project is about creating 3D forms on textile surfaces with custom-made instruments. Using heat and steam, and custom-made moulds, the textiles are set into rich textures. The 3D textiles are then trimmed into wearable objects. Mr Chia says: "Her piece turned out very well and it was unexpected in terms of the whole transform