Week 4

Placing an installation in context of Nanyang Technological University (NTU)

Proceeding with our presentation from last week, we realised a need to formulate a concept that ties in with the context where we plan to place our installation in order to create an installation piece that embodies substantial meaning to allow us to later develop on its construction. For our installation, we would like to look into the roots of Nanyang and incorporate its history in the installation to remind students of the initial beginnings of the University.

Our inspiration

Our context is Nanyang Technological University (Chinese: 南洋理工大学), a University we are currently studying in at Singapore. Looking into the name of the school, we extracted the keywords, Nanyang (Chinese: 南洋; pinyin: nán yáng), and did a deeper research into its essential meaning. According to oxford dictionary, “南洋” in literal meaning, is known as “Southern Ocean” located at the warmer geographical location of Southeast Asia.

Breaking “南洋” into its individual characters, we derive a couple of adjectives: 南 which means south and 洋 which means vast and extensive.

We would like to refer to the keywords: vast, extensive and ocean/sea/water/fluid as our inspiration for the design of our installation.

You can read up on more of NTU history from here.


As NTU is a University in Singapore, we would like to incorporate some elements from Singapore’s traditional landscape as a memory to share with international students who are unfamiliar of Singapore’s traditional landscape. Kampong is a type of traditional housing in 19th century Singapore’s landscape.

We plan to subtract parts of Kampong architecture and incorporate the parts into the form of our installation design.

External References

On top of the new inspiration for our conceptual installation piece, we would like to retain our initial research into the tension of personal and shared spaces in NTU which we did in previous presentations.

As a recap, we derived the tension of personal vs public spaces from the adjectives: hidden vs noticeable which we picked out from George Perec’s extract in week 1 which we found relatable to students in NTU – Students in NTU are constantly affected by the tension between private and shared spaces in the open environment of NTU.

Also, referencing “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees Studio, we would like to create a space that serves as a meeting place to encourage social interaction among students within and around it.

In addition, these are some suggested links we looked into for the explorations of the tension between interior and exterior spaces:


RAAAF + barbara visser reject seating in the workplace with faceted installation

Our Concept

With our inspiration and references in mind, we wish to create an interactive space within the public space of NTU that provides both values of privacy and social interactivity on top of its significance as a space that reminds students of the school’s heritage.

Construction of Installation (Still in progress)

We have broken down the construction of our installation into three parts: Form, Material and sustainability, and Function and Interactivity.


Our installation takes on a dynamic and extensive form translated from the fluidity of water and symbolic attributes of the Chinese character 洋.

We developed two Designs base on our concept:

Design 1
Peering into the hidden spaces between the walls. Surface of concrete wall protrudes to transform into a bench for NTU students to seat on.


Design 2

Design 2 does not have protruding surfaces that serves the seating function. Instead, it is described by repeated revolving modular panels that are positioned in the same dynamic flow like form 1. The modular panels are inspired by the many vertical wooden pillars that were used to support Kampong houses.

Structural study and ideations of Kampong architecture


Material and sustainability

For Design 1, our choice of material would be concrete. Concrete is hard, durable and stable, providing a sense of security to its users, serving itself well as a wall that provides privacy to its users.

For Design 2, our choice of material would be a Southeast Asian wood, such as Kapur and Meranti that are often used in the infrastructure of Singapore’s landscape.

Function and Interactivity
Exploration on various placements for Design 1
Illustration to narrate usability of Design 1
Illustration to demonstrate utilitarian value of Design 2
At certain angle, the revolving panels can reduce the line of visibility when looked across, providing students with a private space behind the panels and revealing voids that provides students with a communicable line of visibility.

Design 2 serves as screens/ walls/ pillars that provides different levels of visibility at different angles and interaction.

The mechanical revolving action of the screens is a possible function that we would like to include into the installation piece.


To summarise, we hope to create an installation that encompasses both private and shared spaces to serve as a common area where students of NTU can seek recuperation/ betterment/ a hide out from the stress and heat of life and provide them with an opportunity to meet and interact with one another within and around the interactive space.

Presentation slides

Week 3

Moving on from week 2

From page 123 of the reading “The Beautiful And The Nice” by philosopher, Vilém Flusser,

Every scientist is also an artist and a politician, every politician is also a scientist and an artist, and every artist is also a scientist and a politician.

I mean like…really? Are scientist, artist and politician all alike? This absolute statement seems to convince us into believing that artist have the power to do what scientists and politicians can do in the world we live today, which is obviously not true. If we read into the context of where this quote lies, we will see more than what we have already seen. Artist have the power to create like politician and scientist does. This ability to create differs as to what we propose to create. What do we as artist propose to create then? We propose to create a unique experience with beauty that appeals to human.

In short: every human communication is an aesthetic one, as it always transmits a model for concrete experience, and in this sense, we are all artists.

Week 3 Presentation

From Week 2, we decided to broaden on the idea of hidden vs noticeable from our Week 1 ideation. Our in-class presentation for week 3 can be visited in this link.

To elaborate on what we have presented on week 3, we have selected a few slides to talk about.

We start off creating a mood board from research on artists, designers and architects who experiment and explore different ways of incorporating materials and forms to convey their ideas and propose an experience. One example would be an uncanny way of using concrete to describe the form of a pillow. Another would be Kengo Kuma’s Chokkura Plaza which was constructed out of preserved stones from its original building.

Next we shared our conceptual direction which is the relationship between Personal and Shared space which we developed from Hidden vs Noticeable.

A mood board is not sufficient to give us an insight into what kind of installation we want to make, so we looked into a few existing installation that deals with the tension of personal and public space in the historical context of a real environment. “Crater Lake” by 24 degrees studio ties in most closely with our initial explorations into human and the act of sitting.

Cocoon concept

We further developed our concept of “sitting” along with an experience of a private space in a public space with a cocoon concept.

Some sketch iterations we did to describe the form of the installation
Styrofoam sketch models to explore movement produced by different forms of the cocoon



After our presentation, constructive feedbacks were given to us. We decided to return to our initial point of juxtaposing what is hidden and noticeable in a space – creating a space that provides students privacy and a meeting place for social interaction at the same time using sustainable materials that speaks a narrative that is unique to NTU and the students’ life.

There are some other ideas we had yet to explore:

Rejecting our initial direction

We realised that we need an independent direction/ a significant characteristic of our installation that would allow it to stand on its own without a strong dependency on a function to bring out its true value. Function should not be the initial focus of our project. It should not spur our reason to create. Neither should we be focusing on how the object works nor how the form is designed to bring out the most effective utilitarian value. Our idea needs something more significant than a utilitarian value, a material representation and a beautiful form. It needs a reason, a story to tell, a narrative, a unique experience, a memory to speak on its own.

The interactive part of our installation should be anchored by an existing memory which we would look into for next week (week 4).