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Objects Around the Tablescape

The recipient of the Singapore President’s Design Award 2010 seeks to bring design research to the consumer. Janice Seow looks at the latest works showing at Maison et Objet 2011.

Objects Around the Tablescape


January 17th, 2011

Objects Around the Tablescape by d.lab, which has been capturing international interest from attendees at Paris’ Maison et Objet for the past three years, recently earned recognition on home soil when it became one of nine companies to accept the President’s Design Award Singapore 2010 in November for ’Design of the Year’.

The attention and award it has received is no small achievement when one considers that d.lab, and Objects Around the Tablescape, were only launched three years ago.

d.lab has a unique raison d’être: to bring design research to the consumer in a commercial way while remaining rooted in research and exploration. It was created by the Design Incubation Centre (DIC), a division of Industrial Design at the School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore.


Nested bowls by Pearl Yang

DIC itself is a design research laboratory that investigates and develops new tools of design, in order to find new possibilities for the practice of design.

“[d.lab] was a vehicle for us to communicate our research and thinking through a commercial platform,” explains DIC’s Design Director Patrick Chia.


Everyday Glass and Everyday Carafe, made in collaboration with craftsmen from Japan

“Most of the projects were being showcased at exhibitions. But this to us is not real communication. True communication is when someone brings a design home and it exists in the user’s environment.”


Botanika, a nylon vessel made using the Selective Laser Sintering process

The focus of d.lab’s Objects Around the Tablescape centres on the exploration of materials such as Corian, SLS nylon, fibre reinforced plastic, maple and balau wood, copper and Delrin.

The design process often begins by embracing the innate qualities of the object or material. It is not an elaborate or deliberate process, with the designers often seeking a light touch in transforming a material into a new product.


Hand-thrown stoneware by Pearl Yang

At Maison et Objet 2011, d.lab will be showing its latest work.

“In a way it will be an extension of what we have always been doing; in a way it will be better. It is not just about design, but method and business outlook. We discovered that to continue as a brand, we had to consider certain things,” says Chia.



Objects Around the Tablescape is retailed at P5 in Singapore and in showrooms in Milan, Germany and Japan.

The latest designs from Objects Around the Tablescape will be on display at Maison et Objet in Paris, 21-25 January 2011, Hall 8A, Stand L31.

Indesign’s Online Editor, Ben Morgan, will be bringing us all the action from the fair in his daily blog, so stay tuned.


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