part of singapore culture & design research project
The main purpose of this experimental project is to explore, understand and discover how the materials and the process of traditional artisans can stimulate or transform into contemporary products of everyday lives.
Su7 is an experimental chair series employing the materials and processes of two renowned craftsmen in Singapore. The lantern maker, Mr Yeo Hung Teo, and the rattan maker, Mr Goh Hak Sheng. Mr Yeo and Mr Goh are both Teochew men in their seventies. Mr Yeo specialises in designing huge lanterns that have Chinese calligraphy and motifs on them. He has been making Chinese lantern for the past 50 years, and the average lasting duration of his lanterns are ten years. Mr Goh is maybe the last craftsman in Singapore who still makes products from bamboo & rattan, such as traditional Chinese wedding baskets, satay skewers, rattan webbing for antique and rattan chairs.
Su7 series is created in a singular process, yet each is being unique in its own way. Each chair comprises eighty-eight layers of specially selected fabric together with a self-make adhesive that needs to be cooked and filtered and treated with a unique coat of water-resistant coating that uses 100% natural ingredients. The rationale of eighty-eight is to signify auspicious, which play a big part in Chinese culture. The rattan base is a replicate piece of the Singapore popular children chair in the 60s.
The construction of Su7 is also rooted in the four-word motto of traditional artefact (su, ye, cu, juan) by famous Chinese historian of folk art, Zhang Dao-Yi:
‘su’ is not vulgar, but to reflect the aspirations of the public;
‘ye’ is not rude but a natural expression of emotions;
‘cu’ is not superficiality or shallow, but to get rid of the pretentiousness;
‘jian’ is not simple but practically and terse.
Su7 is supported by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and Ministry of Education, Singapore.
Research period: 2013–2016
Production period: 2017-2018
Su7 old chairs