The home of architecture and design in Asia-Pacific

Get the latest design news direct to your inbox!

MM by Grace Tan

Grace Tan of interdisciplinary studio Kwodrent talks about how music forms the inspiration for her latest presentation at The Substation Gallery.

MM by Grace Tan


March 4th, 2013

MM will be held from 7 – 18 March and is part of two-year research programme. Here Grace Tan shares insight into her latest work.

Grace Tan

Fuga Concentric

Tell us about the MM project.

MM is a study and exploration of patterns extrapolated from the ’Subject’ of J.S. Bach’s The Art of Fugue. I began by translating the musical notations of the ’Subject’ and its various permutations into graphical elements. These elements were subsequently used to generate patterns based on mathematical principles in geometry and symmetry. Three key works emerged – Fuga Grid, Fuga Lace, and Fuga Concentric.

For this second presentation at The Substation Gallery, I will be focusing on the Fuga Concentric series that presents the ’Subject’ in a circular template capable of producing both 2D and 3D works of varying complexity. The Fuga Concentric also serves as a continuation of Poppy (a range of laser-cut stainless steel tableware/objects commissioned by FARM) by focusing on its application and investigation of geometric patterns.

Grace Tan

Poppy by Grace Tan. Image courtesy of FARM

In music, fugue is regarded not as a musical form but as a process capable of taking various forms. I was drawn to the concept of fugue due to its ability to create musical textures and its use of repetition, which resonate with the method-based process of my practice.

What does MM stand for?

I was drawn to the symmetry of the two letters and interestingly, the wave-like shape of the letter ’M’ resembles the musical structure of The Art of Fugue’s ’Subject’.

Grace Tan

Fuga Concentric

How would you describe the experience of working on MM?

It has been an invaluable experience because it allows me to focus on a research-based project, which is something very rare. I am really glad The Substation initiated this programme because [while] the research component is so critical in the artistic development, [it is] usually neglected due to lack of time. More importantly, it gave me the opportunity to explore an aspect of music that has always intrigued me.

Grace Tan

Fuga Concentric

So has the experience with MM sparked any new ideas for future projects?

At the moment, I am captivated by the potential in the graphics and how they are digitally generated. This is something that I have not really done before and I am thinking about how I can bring my ’hands-on’ working process/method into the digital realm.

For more information, visit

INDESIGN is on instagram

Follow @indesignlive

The Indesign Collection

A searchable and comprehensive guide for specifying leading products and their suppliers

Indesign Our Partners

Keep up to date with the latest and greatest from our industry BFF's!

Related Stories

While you were sleeping

The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed