It’s pronounced ‘Silent’, but there’s nothing quiet about the Singapore
design studio’s bold, purposeful strides! Janice Seow chats with Felix
Ng, one half of the design duo about their plans for
Longtime couple Felix Ng and Germaine Chong started design studio SILNT in 2005 when he was 22 and she 19, with nothing more than $800 and two Macintosh computers! The missing ‘E’ in SILNT was meant to represent the removal of the existence of an ego.
In 2009, the duo set up Anonymous to focus on content creation. Beginning this year, they also plan to do only 25 projects each year for small businesses under SILNT. We ask Felix why.
Can you describe your approach to design?
We approach our work by stripping things down to their most basic and simplest form – by removing all the unnecessary items. Simplifying complexity – information, content, processes and most importantly, ideas.
So your new strategy is to only take on 25 small projects each year?
Since itʼs still just the two of us doing everything from designing for clients to creating content as Anonymous, we are experimenting with 25 projects to create a balance between the two.
We have just completed the campaign for The Design Society Conference 2011. Weʼre about to launch two websites – one for a photographer, the other an interior design consultancy. In March, we are working on the identity and a book for National University of Singaporeʼs new Division of Industrial Design.
Can you tell us about Anonymous?
Anonymous is where we create content. In a way, we become clients ourselves. It was born from a frustration of not being able to inﬂuence whether a product that we are designing for is good or bad. So by creating our own content, we can control the quality of the content, the distribution model and eventually how much design and marketing needs to be deployed.
How did the 2010 Anonymous initiative, A Design Film Festival, come about?
What started as a suggestion to utilise the cinema space at Old School to create a design-led event for The Singapore Design Festival, became an independent (read: self-funded) travelling ﬁlm festival that launched in Singapore, Berlin, Kaohsiung, Taipei and Bangkok.
The response was overwhelming. In Singapore, 1,800 people attended; honestly, we would have been thrilled if just 10 turned up for each screening. We are planning another one in October in Beijing and in November in Singapore.
In 2011, Anonymous will also be launching a new exhibition celebrating Dieter Rams’ 10 principles for good design, and new volumes of Bracket – a publication covering topics that are overlooked and under-appreciated.