PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE AND APPRECIATION FOR CRAFTWORK. 对完美的追求和对工艺的欣赏.
I have a thing for design. I guess it’s always been like this, and my academic path just made it more and more evident. I love everything from chairs to lamps to vases to coffee machines – yes, everything that has a character, a personality. Felix Low shares this love with me.
We met at Foundry [www.foundry.com.sg], the curated shop he owns and runs in the heart of Singapore. Well – for me it was like stepping into design nirvana. White and airy space with selected tableware & furniture pieces from all over the world. I didn’t know where to look at and kept going from one corner of the store to the opposite one just because something even more beautiful caught my attention – I had to rely on Felix to guide me through the wonders of what he is doing.
我们在Foundry [www.foundry.com.sg] 见面，这是他在新加坡市中心所经营的一家买手店。对我来说，这里就像设计的极乐世界。白色且宽敞的空间里陈列着精心挑选的来自世界各地的桌椅和家具。我的眼睛都不知道该看哪里，刚从这个角落发现惊喜，却又忍不住被另一边更美的事物所吸引 — 我必须依赖Felix的引导来走进这个奇妙的空间。
We sat down on one of the sofa Foundry‘s team designed – yes, Foundry is a multi-faceted design-centric company and yes, it is both a retailer and a producer – and chat about how Singapore is growing a taste for independent design and what is Foundry‘s role in this process.
我们坐在Foundry团队设计的一款沙发上聊天 — 对的你没看错，Foundry是家以设计为中心，多面发展的公司，它既是经销商也是生产商。我们一起畅谈了独立设计品牌在新加坡的发展及Foundry在这个过程中发挥的作用。
Is it easy to educate the audience when it comes to independent brands?
When I started it was really hard – there was no space at all in people’s lives for design. Even today they are still very suspicious and they want to know what’s behind every single piece they buy. But this is a good sign – and moreover there is more and more awareness about local designers, which makes my job easier and definitely more interesting. Of course, there will always be people who want to buy a certain brand, but nowadays more and more individuals actually care about quality and design.
当我刚开始进入这个行业时并不乐观 — 人们的生活和设计是绝缘的。哪怕今天，人们还是持保留态度，他们想知道任何一件购买的设计产品背后的故事。但这是个乐观的信号 – 而且这有助于提高当地设计师的知名度，使我的工作更容易且有趣。当然，肯定还有很多人想买特定的品牌，但现在更多的个体开始关注质量和设计。
How do you select the brands you work with?
Initially we had an international studio with members from all over the world as a consultant: they were helping us with the curation and the selection of pieces. Now I have a better knowledge of the design world and we can manage this within the team – the most important thing at the moment is that the different pieces fit the overall philosophy behind Foundry.
So – what’s the philosophy behind Foundry?
The idea is that of Foundry being a factory for furniture and accessories, but beyond products we are also about inventing fresh ideas, forging new creative narratives and moulding a contemporary design culture. We value craft, quality and from a design perspective, we love ‘fresh’ products. In working this way, we’ve also seen some of the best inspiration and creative work emerge when talents and skills come together. This organic, synergistic collaborative process between designers and artisans is also a reflection of what Singapore is right now: a skyscraper city gleaming with modern achievements but also built upon a foundation of heritage, tradition, and values.
What’s your personal background?
It has nothing to do with design! I went through the usual process: got a degree and a stable job and then got incredibly bored with my life and felt the urge to change it. But I’ve been creative since young. So this all came pretty naturally – it was just about going back to what I’ve always loved. I started by designing and selling some furniture pieces and then went on by introducing more and more designers to my shop. The rest is history [and Felix laughs].
How is it going?
It’s been ups and downs, but it has been very fulfilling, with an extremely steep learning curve. It’s been quite a journey and every day I also learn something new about myself. As Singapore matures, there is more and more good work coming up and people become more and more aware. I guess we are going in the right direction.
How important is it for you to have local designers in your portfolio?
It is extremely important! part of my job is to promote local culture. I try to meet all the designers in person: behind every piece there is a story and I love to hear it directly from the source. That is exactly the same story I’m happy to share with my customers.
What’s your dream for Foundry?
Foundry is still evolving and I can see myself still growing more and more with it: it could be in a design, business or production perspective. I would love to be able to reach a wider audience. To do so I would need more stores here in the region. As you grow, you need to grow organically and consistently and be able to keep it in control. And I’d like to keep my life simple!
Felix is the perfect host – smiling and knowledgable. As he says, he wears many hats: he guides the customers who need his help in the labyrinth that is furnishing a new house and leaves the ones that have specific ideas alone. He’s very respectful of everyone’s taste and at the same time he is always there to support them. He believes it’s the personal touch that makes a shopping experience at Foundry different from other ones.
Born and raised in Singapore and educated in the UK, Felix is the perfect blend of elegance, energy, adventure and business acumen. The culture of Foundry is no different: their outlook is broad, contemporary, and global; yet their roots remain deeply anchored in local traditions and time-honoured values.
Felix Low e’ il proprietario e la mente creativa dietro Foundry, concept store di pezzi per l’arredamento nel cuore di Singapore. Con un occhio sofisticato e la passione dell’outsider, Felix seleziona pezzi disegnati da designer locali e internazionali e li espone nel suo showroom bianco e arioso. Ce ne e’ per tutti i gusti.
For the chat with Felix Low at Foundry I was delighted to wear:
The pictures in the store were taken with with my Sony NEX-5T.
For all the other pictures, special thanks to Felix Low.
Translation by Vivian Zhou.