Unnatural Beauty Unraveled

We're happy to share that our friends are trine design associates have recently been featured in Creative Review for their visual installation, Unnatural Beauty: Unthink, Undo, Unveil which launched at The Arts House last Thursday.

We sat down with Wan Chin of trine design, to satiate our curiosity about their latest exhibition.


Can you share more about the making-of process? How long did it take?
From conceptualization to the actual exhibit, it took about 3 months. Once the design of the structure was decided, it took us an hour to make one ring, in total there are around 300 rings – translating to 300 hours /18,000 minutes to form the structure. Each fork and spoon was drilled on the handle and weaved together with string. The reason for such a painstaking process is to avoid using synthetic glue in the formation as we hope to reuse the cutlery after the exhibition is over.

What spurred the decision to make it in this particular shape? (cylinder) What does the shape symbolize?
We were intrigued that cornstarch can actually create cutlery ware that are as strong as plastic ones. Experimentations with the cutlery (forks and spoons) resulted in a very organic looking structure that curves like a vertebrae. The cutlery is dark ivory in colour, a natural colouring from corn, since no bleach or colour additives are used in the production process. This enhances the look of a skeleton further. We liked the look and decided to run with the idea to create something that looks organic and natural but yet is created out of man-made material. The stacking of the cutlery rings form a tree trunk – a tie back to a symbolism of environment.


What will happen to all the cutlery after the exhibition?
We hope the exhibit will travel a few more places after this festival to create more awareness among the community.  By the end of the run, if the cutlery are in good condition, they will be cleaned and donated to charity. Unusable ones will be decomposed and turn to fertilizer.

In the design industry, where and how do you think agencies can learn to be more environmentally friendly?
Being environmentally friendly can start from small steps within the agencies such as practicing recycling or reducing wastage. For example, use 80% black instead of 100% black when printing documents, or practice e-filing rather than paper documentation.
Design agencies can take the lead by proactively advising clients to take up more environmentally friendly choices for their marketing collateral and corporate literature, and by working closely with the print industry players to create more demand and support for such services and products.
Over the last 3 years, we have seen more active interest from both clients and print suppliers to be more eco-conscious. This is a very positive sign, and with greater education, awareness and more competitive pricing, this will create the demand to advance the movement.

 At the end of day, walk the talk.

Anything else from trine we can look forward to in the near future?
Yes, we have a few more interesting projects in the pipeline. We like experimenting outside the confines of graphic design and conventional printing techniques. Look out for more in the next quarter 2010.



Unnatural Beauty: Unthink, Undo, Unveil will be exhibited at The Arts House until the 4th of December 2009.  Admission is free.