Q&A with Designer Ivan Ho, One of the Design STARS 2016

This former interior and furniture design lecturer is the founder of tizumuka, a multidisciplinary design studio that focuses on artisanal craftsmanship.

Updated on June 13, 2017 8:06 am

Jerni Camposano


This year, International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS) will feature 20 talented designers from New York, Paris, United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, Lebanon, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore via the Design STARS 2016 programme.

One of the distinguished names to showcase his creative works before 18,000 spectators from more than 100 countries is Singaporean designer Ivan Ho, founder of multidisciplinary design studio tizumuka.

"I feel honored and excited to be part of this annual collective. tizumuka will be debuting our 2016 collection during IFFS 2016. It is unique as it is a collaboration with an esteemed manufacturer and we invested almost a year of hard work into the collection," says Ivan.

The 37-year-old designer adds, "I believe furniture in some way connects with users both physically and emotionally. Furniture design gives me much more control over my medium, almost like a 'sculptor and sculpture' relationship."

tizumuka's booth at the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2015

How did you get started with designing furniture?
I was previously a practicing interior designer. But then I fell in love with furniture design midway through my career.

Why did you choose furniture designing as a career?
I chose furniture design as a career because I am deeply intrigued by the process of furniture making. I enjoy getting my hands dirty, touching and working with materials.

What was the very first piece that you designed and created?
A console I designed for Furniture Design Award 2001. I managed a merit award with that entry—while serving NS. That somewhat boosted my confidence to take a dive into the furniture industry.

What is the most memorable furniture item you designed?
The Yodeesa stool, which managed to nick an Honourable Mention from the Red Dot Award: Design Concept in 2014.

Yodeesa is a stool encapsulating simplicity of aesthetic and construction. The stool is made up of three components, and no tools or hardware are required to assemble and disassemble it.

How is your creative process like? Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
Like most designers, in the early stages of our career, we tend to formulate a thought process to articulate our design intents—tools like observations, ergonomic studies, material studies, tactility, function, etcetera. As most of us mature, a lot of these become second nature, intuitive in our thought process. "Inspiration" then becomes a really grey word per se, the process therefore takes on no sequence or order to conceive.

City or country?

Traditional or contemporary?
It really depends on what we are dealing with...

Morning or evening person?

Kin Armchair

Comfort food when conceptualising and designing
I don't remember eating anything that significantly boosts my ability to conceptualise designs. But if there is any proven recipe, please let me know.

Favourite place in Singapore
Coffee shops—as in kopitiams

Favourite furniture piece in your home
Dining set, because it doubles as my workstation—for now

Favourite Singaporean food
I am going to sound all cliché, but chicken rice it shall be.

Yodeesa Coffee Table

Design rule you love to break
Not all rules are meant to be broken, sometimes some of them just need refinement.

If you could live in a famous person's home, whose would it be and why?
Jean-Michel Basquiat. I want to get into his head and understand his thoughts and painting process.

If you would be reborn in another country, where would it be and why?
No specific country but I would like to be born in a nice suburb which is an hour's drive away from a thriving metropolis and 10 minutes bicycle ride away from artisans and craftsmen. I can then work closely with manufacturers and market my designs within a close proximity.

Visit Ivan Ho's booth at Hall 4F-72 under the Design Stars 2016 collective from 10 to 13 March at the Singapore Expo.

Who's your go-to interior and furniture designer? Share with us at hello@cromly.com.


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