With TE-EL, a one-man studio, spatial designer Ethan Lin wants to work in a niche: creating houses. “There is a need to create quiet and tranquil spaces in an increasingly fast-paced and dense city,” says Ethan, who cut his teeth at the Singaporean studio Takenouchi Webb. “I want people who come into my space to feel a strong sense of comfort. That is why I am more drawn to residential work – even though I was working on hospitality projects.”
To Ethan, a house is a participant in domestic life, tactile and comforting – it is not merely its backdrop. TE-EL’s debut project is an apartment that soothes with the beauty of natural materials.
In a residential project one of Ethan’s priorities is furnishing and he apportions a significant part of the budget to furniture. “I don’t take on the project if I am not also doing the furniture,” he says. He believes the home should be made up of elements designed to be touched, used, and appreciated and, that over time, would gain a personal patina of use.
Before starting TE-EL, the Ethan Lin took a sabbatical to meet makers, carpenters, and suppliers in the country, building a network that he now taps into for his projects.
Before starting TE-EL, the young designer took a sabbatical to meet makers, carpenters, and suppliers in the country, building a network that he now taps into for his projects. “There is actually a group of local people who are doing very interesting things,” says Ethan, who has a personal interest in craft and enjoys sharing a collaborative process with local makers.
Ethan’s passion for design details and know-how is inspired by Tadao Ando. “When you see Ando’s drawings, they tell you why he can build so well, it is because he knows exactly how to do it. He knows what actually goes into the floor, the piling work, the lighting. He indicates these on his drawings with such clarity, whereas designers these days depend a lot on different consultants. Ando might only do twenty sheets of drawings, the impact on me is that, if I have these twenty sheets of paper I would know how to build the building as well.”
Ethan has also been engaged as a design consultant for Singapore’s Lo & Behold Group, and is now applying the finishing touches for the house of a product designer in Singapore. He muses, “In each project I push myself to achieve and capture that feeling of comfort. I think very subtle things make a huge difference. I am trying to explore that direction.”
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