The last two years have been lean on international design showcases, most of which have gone hybrid or complete virtual due to the pandemic. Borders have been opening up this year, but some shifts are here for a permanent stay.
We asked Edwin Low, founder of Supermama, one of the few who kept showcasing and promoting local design and design talents internationally, to share his observations on the international design landscape.
Tell us more about your Milan Design Week showcase this year.
We presented in last year’s edition and this year’s June one. The key for Supermama this year is to introduce as many different fields of Singapore creatives as possible. The idea is to show the diversity of our local talents.
In our New Dimensions showcase, we had Serial Communications, who worked on our AR, metaverse design, five illustrators to work on our Merlion Mambo collection, co-designing with artists with disabilities for our Breathing Batik collection and many more in our showcase.
What are your top three highlights of MDW2022?
Memphis Again showcase at La Triennale di Milano – it is always good to revisit history, especially during or in between key design movements, and to look at it with new lenses and ask ourselves: what inspires us? What can we learn from it? And, of course, to see the textbook come to life.
Exhibitions at Rossana Orlandi were a must-see. And Draga & Auriel’s Golia collection! While we always look out for what the big brands are launching, it is always the one-off and limited edition pieces that tug at our hearts.
They make us wonder: is it a piece of furniture? Or is it a work of art? Where do you draw the line?
And one of the showcases to see at the Salone itself was Mario Cucinella’s Design with Nature. You will never go out of trend by looking at the future of materials.
How did you curate the products for your showcase?
From digital artists reshaping physical goods to artists with disabilities pushing the boundaries of Southeast Asian craft, this exhibition showcased the ingenuity of Singapore talents as agents of social good in an ever-changing world.
As we contemplate the future, how will a modest object retain its potential to connect people? It may appear largely the same, but perhaps its unseen qualities shall take a new shape, from novel design approaches to innovative manufacturing processes and new meanings.
I always believe that we can find magic in the everyday, so we always seek to present everyday objects with a touch of surprise.
What do you hope these products say about Singapore?
In the past year, we’ve challenged ourselves by probing into fresh ways of thinking, dreaming and creating. The M for Museum showcase explores uncharted pathways for Supermama objects whilst holding onto our values of beauty, simplicity and inclusivity.
Whether in reimagining a staid icon or fusing the physical and digital, this exhibition seeks to create new arteries for how objects can continue to knit the hearts of man into one —for years and years to come.
And what are some of the products that gained the most attention?
Objects that have the AR layer, especially Breathing Batik.
These More Than Icons plates have an AR dimension.
Download the More Than Icons filter from Instagram and see them come to life on screen
The Breathing Batik collection is a family of lacquerware containers with batik motif crafted by Singaporean artisans with disabilities.
The Milan Special glass by Olimpia Zagnoli is a contemporary take on caryatids, a classical age architectural element depicting female figures taking the place of columns.
Any dream exhibition venue and dream collaborators?
My dream venue is Tokyo, and I have exhibited there several times. My dream collaborators are Japanese makers, particularly porcelain makers from Arita, and I have been working with them for some time.
As you can see, I have been living and still living in my dreams. Anyone who is in constant pursuit of their crafts deserves huge respect. While we always look for fireworks in huge design fairs, it is often the insignificant object we use every day that truly changes lives.
Visit www.mamamuseum.com for more information.
Photos courtesy of Supermama.