GO UP

Homegrown designer Clara Yee about her Salone del Mobile debut

clara yee interview milan fair console

Did you know that the first global satellite TV broadcast in 1967 showed The Beatles performing All You Need Is Love? When Clara Yee, creative director of creative studio In The Wild, saw an old photo of a family gathered around the TV to watch this, it got her thinking about how technology enables the way we spread messages of love.

This sentiment is manifested in the Console stand, designed in collaboration with furniture brand Da A Italia and created to hold a Wi-Fi router. It was Clara’s interpretation of “love” – a theme that she and seven other Singapore- based design outfits were given by Wallpaper*, which commissioned them to create designs for the Wallpaper* Handmade exhibition held during the 58th Salone del Mobile in Milan in April.

clara yee interview milan fair console

How have you progressed since we last interviewed you in 2015?

[Editor’s note: We interviewed Clara in 2015 for her role as art director of Singapore: Inside Out.]

In a fast-paced city like Singapore, we are challenged to learn and mature almost at breakneck speed. It has become vital for me to balance that with things that retain my sanity and creative space. I’m also starting to be more comfortable with being who I am, and to stop apologising for it. That thinking influences how I approach design, and these days I find myself attracted to simple and honest craft.

What is Console about?

When I saw the photo, what struck me was how the people and TV were arranged; it is very similar to what one would find in a religious painting of adoration. And often, with such spiritual objects that we value highly, it is covered in gold, cloth, or veils.

In contrast, the humble Wi- Fi router is under-appreciated, despite it being an ubiquitous piece of technology that facilitates a continuous stream of messages of love across the globe. Console is a temple for that portal.

clara yee interview milan fair console

What's unique about it?

Console’s form was inspired by the parabolic curves of the satellite dish.

After I was paired with Da A Italia, I dug into its history and its affinity for iron. It started out doing those huge industrial earth-moving machinery and I liked that raw energy. The finishing had to be something that the material gives birth to. We tried heat colouring and waxing but the final patina is created by hand, by applying a mix of natural minerals and plant extracts to react with the iron surface and coax those colours out.

What's a key trait that designers today need to possess?

What is important to me is the capacity to be patient with self-development. Not only about taking your time, but the ability to calm restlessness, and to be kind and gracious – even when things do not turn out as expected. I am still learning.

Find out more about Clara Yee at www.weareinthewild.com.

Loading...