partner, formwerkz architects
We speak with Gwen Tan on her design process behind EDL Division – the first of its kind laminate gallery, in Singapore.
01 HOW DID FORMWERKZ FORMULATE THE DESIGN APPROACH FOR EDL DIVISION?
We see the space as one that nourishes design. It shall be a platform to share design aspirations and to promote design discourse. We approach the design of the space much alike creating art and gardens. We imagined it to be a journey through a secret garden, where there’s a heightened sense of discovery and uncovering. The journey through the various zones is carefully choreographed to create interesting visual dialogues between them. The content as illustrated or experienced in each zone is planned like chapters of a book where they are individually a complete showcase of a particular aspect of the laminate story but when pieced together they make a much richer story. This is a story where the beginning is clearly marked but the ending and sequence is not intended to be fixed.
Apart from static display and video projections, the hidden pull-outs in The Woods and The Boutique add a different interactive dimension to the entire experience. The House features an ever growing collection of miniatures from the various design projects that EDL champions with a multitude of design practices. It is also designed to house future mini prototypes of furniture designs that EDL will embark to develop with the local design schools. A little retail therapy is thrown in at The Market to showcase a diverse range of products made from laminates and compact. This section is conceived to encourage greater exploration into the material applications of laminates and compact through creative collaborations across disciplines. The Library and The Pod completes the gallery with reference material samples and private meeting space respectively.
02 HOW DID THE MATERIAL INSPIRE THE SPACE?
We wanted to demonstrate that possibilities are only limited by imagination. Laminates can have far more applications than what we typically know of. We wanted to explore beyond interior applications, including jewellery designs and other forms of product designs. We also tried convincing other trade specialists to allow us to experiment with existing systems to incorporate the laminate material. In the case of the vertical blinds in The Pod, the end result was like a delightful magic show – an element of surprise for the unexpected. We hope that our little achievements in pushing the common boundaries of laminate applications can serve as inspirations for designers out there to keep innovating and dreaming.
03 How did being in an industrial zone affect your thought process behind the space?
The site location made me recount the journey I made several years ago to visit Fondazione Bisazza in Vicenza Italy which is far more inaccessible a destination comparatively. The journey was well worth it as it was an intriguing experience with plenty of statement making installations and fun moments. That flashback gave me the insight that this place has to be such a draw to overcome the location setback. It needs to be inspiring, fun and highly adaptive to the size of events and functions it supports. In a way, the location spurred us to want a lot more out of this project. We then set very high design perimeters for ourselves.