Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
National Design Centre

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Singapore 188969

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Studio SML: How to survive as a small design studio in Singapore?


Event details

  • Date and Time
    Date and Time
15 Sep 2021
05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
  • Location
Zoom Webinar
  • Event Fee
    Event Fee


Event Recap

Watch the webinar recording below now!


Studio SML is a website and podcast channel that seeks to archive in-depth stories of designers and their journeys, documenting them before they shine and before they die.

Featuring two small-sized design studios – Scene Studio and Gabriel Tan Studio, a mid-size studio Zarch Collaboratives and a large studio Eco-ID, the first Studio SML gathering will look into how size could affect a studio’s culture and the projects they do, the hardships and rewards of running a small studio in Singapore – why some choose to remain small, how some grow their team, and how some manage to make a quantum leap into the big league.

Studio SML Size Guide
Small (S): One-man show to small teams of up to 15 people
Medium (M): 16 – 30 people
Large (L): Teams of above 30 people

In conjunction with the launch of Studio SML, Abstract Creatures, an art installation at the National Design Centre will be on from 1 September to 31 October 2021. Abstract Creatures is a metaphor to describe design studios, with every design studio small or big being run so differently and organically as designers are not traditionally trained in business, each finds their own unique of running their studios, often intuitively and spontaneously, as a way to survive. Thus, each studio is like an “abstract creature”- something strange, something intriguing, something with a life of its own.

Programme Schedule:

  • 5.00pm – 5.10pm: Introduction to Studio SML: Abstract Creatures
  • 5.10pm – 5.50pm: Presentations by speakers
  • 5.50pm – 6.30pm: Q&A

About the Speakers:

  • Randy Chan, Principal Architect/Founder of Zarch Collaboratives

    One of Singapore’s leading young architects, Randy’s architectural and design experience crosses multiple fields and scales, all guided by the simple philosophy that architecture and aesthetics are part of the same impulse.

    This multidisciplinary approach has seen him work on a challenging and diverse range of projects in Singapore and abroad which have garnered much praise in the press, features in publications, as well as critical acclaim and awards internationally. Recent accolades include the Singapore Institute of Architects gold medal for the 38 Holland Park in 2010 and the President’s Design Award 2012 for his collaborative artwork ‘Building as a Body’.  
  • Gabriel Tan, Creative Director/Founder of Gabriel Tan Studio

    Gabriel Tan Studio is a design practice working at cultural intersections. Constantly exploring new ways to work across disciplines, reinterpret tradition, craft or technology, the studio has designed furniture and products for Ariake, Blå Station, Menu, Design Within Reach, The Conran Shop, Asplund and Abstracta.

    Gabriel Tan is also the Creative Director of interior design studio Antimatter, Singapore door handle brand Turn, Japanese furniture brand Ariake and Portuguese craft brand Origin. His works have won the Industrial Designers Society of America’s IDEA Award, Japan Good Design Award, the President’s Design Award and been exhibited at design fairs globally. 
  • Jessica Wong & Pamela Ting, Co-Founders of SCENE SHANG

    SCENE SHANG is a contemporary furniture, homeware and lifestyle label based in Singapore with roots firmly planted in a rich Asian heritage. It was founded in Shanghai in 2013 by Pamela Ting and Jessica Wong — friends and fellow purveyors of a forgotten craft.

    With a brilliant business acumen derived from Pamela’s former days in the banking trade and Jessica’s design know-how as a trained architect, SCENE SHANG, now based in Singapore, has flourished in their charge ever since. Our wares, much like our founders, are inspired by real people with real stories and forged from an innate desire to create indelible memories that are both immersive and emotive.

    No strangers to design circles within and beyond our borders, our concepts have gone on to earn their stripes across various honours such as Singapore Creator Awards 2019 Lifestyle Product Silver Winner – XUAN Table, Singapore Creator Awards 2019 Most Popular Graphic Design – Love Is A Warm Brew, ASEAN Furniture Design Award Winner 2018 – JIA JU Rocking Stool, IFFS Design Stars 2016, Singapore, Golden A’ Design Award in Furniture, Decorative Items and Homeware Design 2016, Italy, and the President’s Design Award Singapore 2014 – Special Commendation for SHANG System  
  • Sim Boon Yang, Co-Founder of Eco-ID Architects 

    The premise of, a multidisciplinary practice founded in 1996, is a modern and progressive approach to design. The firm’s comprehensive suite of services range from master planning and architecture to interior design and branding, and project typologies that span high-rise luxury condominiums and detached dwellings to retail boutiques, hotels and resorts. Regardless of scale, the emphasis is always on balancing aesthetics with rigour, and program with budget.

    Since 1997, the firm’s footprint has extended across the globe to Brunei, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Thailand, the UAE and Zanzibar. The firm’s holistic, 360-degree perspective has resulted in numerous wins at prestigious international award ceremonies. At the 2015 World Architecture Festival, the Ivy Bound International School in Bangkok received the Highly Commended Award, while the Naumi Hotel in Singapore received the President’s Design Award 2008/2009. Other noteworthy, award-winning projects include The Metropolitan Bangkok; the W Retreat Maldives; Hamilton Scotts, Singapore; Montigo Resorts, Batam; and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Singapore.

About the Moderator:

  • Kelley Cheng, Creative Director/Founder of The Press Room

    Trained as an architect, Kelley is the Founder and Creative Director of design studio The Press Room, a publishing & design consultancy that designs everything from books, brands, exhibitions, documentaries, and stage and film set design. 

    An active educator, she has served as adjunct lecturer in Singapore universities and has sat on international design judging panels including Red Dot Awards, Nagoya-Do!, Design for Asia Award, Creative Circle Award, and James Dyson Award. Kelley was also recently named Designer of the Year at the President*s Design of the Year (P*DA) 2020.

Presented by The Press Room. Supported by the DesignSingapore Council and the National Design Centre.

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