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18 January 2012
Bureau: More to Design
The Singapore studio is game – to explore outside their collective experience in branding work and printed matter as seen in their latest projects.
It’s often a ‘hold your breath’ moment when a designer takes that step into 'uncharted territory'.
The team at Bureau appears to be in that moment with their recent furniture design project, and a co-authored book for Singapore master ceramist Iskandar Jalil. There’s also their whimsical coin receptacle “Pyggy Bank”, done in collaboration with local cross-disciplinary studio FARM.
In each, one observes Bureau’s unique brand of humour and unconventional methods of communication.
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Kai Yeo, one of Bureau’s 3 partners, shares that while their collective experience “has been in printed matter and branding work”, they “do make a conscious effort” to push beyond familiar parameters. Furniture and product design are areas they are keen to expand into.
Moe Chair (Original)
“It is an extension of our ideas and expressions. It is also a way of looking at our own mortality as graphic designers. We're not only interested in printed works that are ephemeral but hope to create works that are long lasting and hopefully outlive us. That's why we have a special affinity for books and furniture design,” say Kai.
Moe Chair (Rocker)
Bureau’s new 6-piece “Moe Chair Series” is based on the classroom chair that was originally used in Singapore schools, before the more affordable moulded plastic chair became the norm. Each design is augmented by one unique attribute: apart form the ‘original’, the chairs also come in high back, twin seater, barstool, ottoman and rocker versions.
The Moe Chair Series
Barely out of production, the chairs have already been picked up by the new Skyve Elementary Bistro and Bar at Winstedt Road.
The Moe Chair Series at Skyve Elementary Bistro and Bar
Bureau has worked on book design projects in the past, but “Iskandar Jalil: Images of my Pottery Travels” is the first time they have taken on the role as co-authors.
Iskandar Jalil: Images of my Pottery Travels (limited edition)
“Iskandar Jalil was our lecturer in Temasek Polytechnic and one of us has always been in touch,” says Kai, adding that it was during a casual visit by one of Bureau’s partners (Edmund Seet) that the award-winning ceramist raised the idea of a book for his last solo exhibition, which took place in October 2011.
Iskandar Jalil's book (general release)
“To do a book project of this genre well, we wanted to really immerse ourselves in the daily lives of the subject. It takes a lot for anyone to open up so much of his/her private life to be recorded in a book so it helps that we, together with the writer Linda, are his personal friends.”
Bureau's studio at Chay Yan Street.
New creative explorations have given them the chance to learn new skill sets such as production methods and product distribution, as in the case of Pyggy Bank and the Moe Chair Series.
“It keeps us interested and it opens up new opportunities and possibilities not only for us but for our clients as well,” says Kai.
And with that, we’re eager to see what’s next…
Top image: From left, Edmund Seet (partner), Kai Yeo (partner), Yasser Suratman (partner) and Aaron Wong (designer)