It seems that the koi fish, which is considered a sign of wealth and prosperity in the Chinese culture, is this 25-year-old designer's lucky charm.
Jexter Lim Sen Ye, a student at the National University of Singapore, took home the top prize for the Student Category in the Furniture Design Award (FDA) in 2014. His creation, the Nishikigo stool, was inspired by the overlapping scales of the koi fish.
"Winning the FDA was a great motivation for myself. Gaining exposures from this competition changed my life," says Jexter, who was named one of the Asian Stars: 20 Rising Furniture Designers in the Region in this year's International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS).
The Furniture Design Award has been a springboard for many aspiring designers to launch their careers and showcase their skills. An annual furniture design competition organised by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council, FDA aims to discover new design talents and showcase their unique creations. The 2016 edition is open for entries submission until 10 August 2015.
Nishikigo. '"Space savvy and when stacked together in threes, it can be displayed as an ornament or statement furniture piece. A design created to promote the subtle detail of an Asian culture."
How did you get started with designing furniture?
It all started from the art class I did back in primary school. I loved drawing and that’s what led me to study Product Design because I wanted to bring my imaginations into something tangible. Furniture design itself became my interest when I was 17, and it was actually the Furniture Design Award that motivated me to design my first piece.
Why did you choose furniture designing as a career?
I grew interest in lifestyle products after doing furniture-related studio projects in school. Thereafter, I worked in Jarrod Lim Design Studio and got more exposed to furniture design. Working with Jarrod Lim has motivated me to design and create pieces of my own.
What was the very first piece that you designed and created?
Nishikigo. It was the first furniture design that I got a chance to develop into a working prototype.
What is the most memorable furniture item you designed?
The Dragon Rocking Horse for Hinika. It's inspired by a Singapore icon and locals love them!
Where do you get inspiration from?
Creative process starts from observation then thinking. I will pen down any object that appeals to me and then engage them to see whether I can use them as an inspiration. Inspiration is anything, from culture to Mother Nature. The key is the right connection.
Comfort food when designing
Nishikigo in various colours
Traditional or contemporary?
Both may spark a good mixture.
Morning or evening person?
Favourite place in Singapore
Favourite furniture piece in your home
Bamboo stools from Vietnam
Interior design trend you're glad that happened
Minimalist design trend as I am a minimalist myself.
Jexter designed The Dragon Rocking Horse for Hinika
If you could live in a famous person's home, whose would it be and why?
Naoto Fukasawa. I would love to live in a place surrounded with simplicity and thoughtful objects.
If you would be reborn in another country, where would it be and why?
Japan. I love the craftsman’s spirit in them and their aesthetic sense.
Three must-haves in every Singaporean home
1. Table, where families gather to have their daily meal and create bond among them.
2. Sofa, a good relaxing piece that we want to lie down in after a long day of work.
3. Bed, we need comfort and good rest!
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