Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wednesday interview: Melvin Ong; Studio Desinere

Meet the innovative Studio Desinere from Singapore,  made up of founder: Melvin Ong and co-founder: Supertini Tjiang. Melvin was kind enough to answer a few questions for our blog, take a look:

Have you always wanted to become a designer?
Actually not really haha, I've always loved arts and craft but always thought I would be in the biochemical research. It was only after I had completed my 'A' levels in Junior College that I realised how much I struggled to love what I studied. The only time I really enjoyed biology was when I got to draw diagrams and sketches of cells, that was when I realised my true passion was in the arts. 

Which project has given you the most satisfaction?
The Tembusu plates that were designed for S U P E R M A M A under their new label - Democratic society in collaboration with KIHARA is something that is quite close to my heart.
Crafted and printed in Japan, this was my first entry to ceramic ware. I’ve always wanted to work with ceramics and being able to be part of this collaboration with KIHARA was rather surreal for me. It’s the first time seeing something that I’ve designed being produced on large scale and by Japanese craftsmen nonetheless.
The brief given to me was to design a new Singapore icon and I chose the Tembusu Tree (Located in the Botanic Gardens) because it is such a unique historical relic of Singapore that existed way before our independence. When we think of Singapore icons strangely it’s not one of the first things that come to mind, but having stood before it, its quiet grandeur has such an arresting presence that I just had to incorporate it into the design. 

What types of books are on your bedside table?
'The Wind up bird chronicles' by Haruki Murakami and 'The brain that changes itself' by Norman Doidge (sounds very sciency and nerdy but its a really interesting read!) oh and my ESV(English Standard Version) bible.

What is the best moment of the day?
Mid-afternoon tea breaks by the window ledge at my studio where I get to get my mind off work and stare out into space. 

What would be your dream project?
I would say to be able to collaborate with the big companies in Europe like Vitra or Droog would be really really really awesome. Also I think if a famous celebrity commissions me to design something that would give me some serious street cred haha.

What type of music do you play while creating?
Usually I have Helios or Sigur Ros on the ipod. Plinky ponky music where the words are hardly distinguishable are great work tunes.

How important is craftsmanship in your design process? 
Its really important. Because Desinere is such a small studio, we do not have mass production capabilities so I am very conscious that I want to create well thought out and well made objects that I have control over the production process. Most of the work that you see are mainly hand made by me and my studio partner. 

Who is your hero at the moment?
John Lasseter - so inspired by his vision, passion, resilience and perseverance of what he has done at Pixar. 

Cat or dog?
Humm, I would say ragdoll cat, but my girlfriend would say dog, so I think dog haha. Happy girlfriend = happy life.

If you were a character from a cartoon, which one would you be? :)
Nightcrawler from the Xmen. I could teleport anywhere in the world in a blink of an eye. Would save so much on travel! I can pop by Tokyo for Afuri ramen and to London after that for Monmouth coffee, hmmm but then I would have blue skin and a tail.....

If you could do any other job what would you choose and why?
I was contemplating becoming a teacher in physical education! It was always my favourite class in school... not sure why but it was the first thing that came to mind.
Where could we find you on friday night?
Sadly my friday nights aren't really exciting, usually a simple supper and a beer with the guys. 

Pepsi or Coke?

Favorite blogs/sites etc.?
I tend to frequent Notcot and designboom, does ebay count?

How would you define your personal work-life balance in terms of ratio (50/50 70/30 etc)?
hmm I would say 65/35
What brings you joy?
Actually one would think being able to run your studio and produce designs that you can call your own would bring joy, but at the heart of it I think its the little things in life where I find contentment and joy. Taking a quiet walk home, a nice evening out with close friends or even a lazy sunday afternoon. 

Thank you so much for the wonderful answers!  All the best in the future!
Find out more about Studio Desinere.

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