Q&A with Designer Kok Yih Ming of Kudzu

"After years of showcasing my works overseas (Milan and New York), I am finally back home to show what I have experienced."

Updated on June 13, 2017 8:06 am

Jerni Camposano


Singaporean designer Kok Yih Ming is one of the 20 talented designers to be featured in this year's International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS), happening 10 to 13 March at the Singapore Expo. The Design STARS 2016 programme will exhibit the works of 20 talented designers from New York, Paris, United Kingdom, Mexico, Russia, Lebanon, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and Singapore.

At 36, Kok Yih Ming has already displayed his creations in Milan and New York. "My first breakthrough in furniture design was my exhibition in Milan Satellite in 2005, where I exhibited the Oreo table and chair. That led me to my second exhibition in Milan 2007, where I showcased my second series, the Densetsu collection. The responses to the series were great and it led me to a one-off project with a designer," he recalls.

Pnut Stools

Oreo and Mint chair

In 2009, he returned to Milan Satellite to showcase Pnut. "This exhibition provided me with the opportunity to connect with overseas manufacturers, resulting in the production of several limited edition products. Under Kudzu, I showcased the Those will the days collection in ICFF New York 2014."

Get to know this Singaporean designer featured in the 2016 Asian STARS:

Why did you choose furniture designing as a career?
Furniture design is more like a hobby to me. It is driven by my passion in designing.

What was the very first piece that you designed and created?
The Two Standing Light in a furniture product showcase in 2000

What is the most memorable furniture item you designed?
The Densetsu collection that included Nobu, Ugly Me, and Bushido

Bushido chairs

Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
From global happenings and views of the event. I like to think of a story and its characters and try to visualize them in the form of furniture. Once the storyboard is fixed, the function of the product will kick in.

How does it feel to be part of this year's Design STARS?
It's very exciting. After years of showcasing overseas, I am finally back home to show what I have experienced.

What can the public expect from you at your showcase during IFFS?
I always aim to bring a message across with my products. Hopefully, people will understand my intention.

Kok Yih Ming's Canibalize 2016 collection includes the Colt Commander chair and Consim Study Table.

Traditional or contemporary?
Fusion of contemporary design with traditional roots

Morning or evening person?
Evening—wee hours of the night preferred

Favourite place in Singapore
Starbucks coffee shops

Favourite furniture piece in your home

Favourite Singaporean dish
All local dishes. They represent our culture and our roots.

Design rule you love to break
Break my own rules in order to develop a new rule

His "Those will the days" collection included the Lantern Table and Pacu Chair.

If you could live in a famous person's home, whose would it be?
Michael Jordan

If you would be reborn in another country, where would it be and why?
Antarctica. Silent and unpretentious, where you listen to yourself and behave like yourself.

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