FARM of Singapore
We catch up with Singapore-based FARM on how they came to be and where they're heading
FARM came to our attention most recently with their amazing installation at the National Museum in Singapore called ‘The Tree’. The young design and architecture firm are making waves in Singapore and getting noticed across the globe for their open approach and exciting projects.
The firm is involved in countless activities in Singapore, from events – such as Stamp 01 and 02 post box painting competition – as well as retailing through their online store and connecting the community through their online magazine.
We wanted to learn a little more about what they do and how they came to be, so we spent a bit of time with the gang behind FARM getting to now them a bit better.
What’s the story of FARM?
FARM started from ROJAK, really. A bunch of us had just graduated from architecture school and before settling into what we supposed was a conventional bread-and-butter job, we were just keen to find out more about the local creative industry; not just the architectural fraternity, but all the other creative disciplines out there – your graphic, fashion, product designers, photographers, filmmakers etc.
So with that simple curiosity in mind, we organised a little house party called ‘ROJAK’, where we invited some of our friends in the creative/arts industry, and their friends, and their friends’ friends to just simply come and share their recent work and projects.
The turnout was unexpectedly huge! Needless to say, everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It was all very hippy, bohemian, chilled-out party.
From there, we got to know a few good folks, who trusted us and gave us our first small interior projects. Very slowly, with baby steps, we grew and took on more things and projects.
Your recent project ‘The Tree’ received a lot of international attention, where did the idea come from and wat do you think captured people’s imaginations?
The bunch of us was having a night out at one of the National Museum’s regular outdoor film screenings called "Under the Banyan Tree", aptly held under the Museum’s grand old tree.
We were struck by the magic spell it (the huge tree) cast over the crowd. When approached by the National Museum for an outdoor installation for their annual Night Festival event, we immediately knew we had to allude somehow to that majestic tree.
Besides an immediately recognisable symbol, ‘The Tree’ is also a playground of sorts, a playground that reacts to you – you can step and jump on it, make noises, and the various lights on the tre will ‘listen’ and react to you, pulsating to the varying sound levels. It awakens the child in all of us.
You have an online store, could you tell us a little about this and the product featured?
The online store is one of our newest baby, and had started operating just some months ago. The store is chiefly a collection of products we designed and curated together with two of our national museums – The National Museum of Singapore (NMS) and Singapore Art Museum (SAM).
They are ‘products with a local colour’ in the sense that we tried to do stuff that are either designed by locally based designers or products that hopefully can capture the peculiarities and particularities that is Singapore. It’s our first foray into product-making and merchandising and it’s been extremely exciting.
Could you briefly explain the idea behind Rojak?
10 different creatives from varied discipline. 10 slides. 10 minutes each. Present, share, talk, and maybe collaborate. ROJAK provides a casual, chilled, no-frills atmosphere for creatives to openly share their ideas and works. We think there’s alot of crazy creative work going on here locally, but without a platform/time/space, one might not have noticed them.
When will you hold the next Rojak event?
Soon! The next ROJAK, our 17th edition will be held on 18 February.
You work across a number of disciplines, does this make like easier/more difficult?
It makes life and things different, always slightly more interesting, and sometimes unexpected! We like to be surprised ourselves alot. We kept the studio very horizontal and open, so that anyone with good (or even bad) ideas can contribute freely, and who knows, where sometimes these crazy little ideas will lead us.
360 Kiosks Project
What’s your design philosophy?
We believe in having fun! Really! We believe that good things happen when people are having fun and enjoying what they are doing.
Can you tell us a little about what’s coming up in 2011?
Things will get a little exciting in 2011. We will be seeing a few of our first architectural projects being completed! The fruit of several years of gestation of our labour.
Our first ever architectural project, a 6-storey residential apartment, is about to be completed and we are also looking to finishing quite a number of private houses come 2011.
We started our 1st boutique hotel project in 2010, and this too, will soon be finished. After that, we’d be working to convert another old charming pre-war building into a hotel.
On the smaller scale of sculptural installation, we are in the midst of designing and developing our 3rd outdoor installation for an office complex. It promises to be a lot of fun!