Observation + Interactivity/Altered research

Looking into developing an interactive/altered look book for my final, to tie to my concept and relay abandonment in its truest form — constantly morphing, never static and always changing over time.

Observation at Keppel Hill Reservoir:

  • Light and shadow: make interesting visuals. Position of shadows shift as afternoon sun moves.
  • Colours: browning of leaves, some decay faster than others. Some in process of dying, while some are just sprouting. Pipes near reservoir are slowly getting engulfed by greens of algae.
  • Deterioration/Rust: Cracks slowly appearing on stones and pavement, broken stones/pipes
  • Fluctuation: Water levels fluctuate according to weather. Monsoon seasons mean over-flooded reservoir, hot season means shallow waters. No working drainage system to control water levels.

Observation at Dakota Crescent:

  • Architecture/Colour: Unique placement of buildings, blocks facing each other like butterfly shape. Windows are alternate on each level.

Elderly friendly, slops instead of steps. Balconies are painted in colours so that elderly can find their house easier. Main colours of Dakota is pastel hues: Pink, blue, turquoise, green, grey. Very interesting gate patterns especially at shophouses.

  • Deterioration/Rust/Litter: Lots litter, cat food collected over the cracks, papers and mails. Rusting gates and cracked concrete. Concrete has also oxidised, red tints from rust. Paint is fading. Broken block numbers and windows.

Observation at Bukit Timah Railway:

  • Architecture: structures of train tracks are still strong and recognisable, Metal tracks peek through above overgrown grass.
  • Colours: overall very cold and grey. Colours of broken pieces from past, like bright blue tags used to label the railway in past scattered all over

    Railway no. tags scattered on ground
  • Deterioration/Rust: Cracks/marks getting more apparent on wooden tracks, metals rusting and peeling over time.
  • Nature VS Man-made: Plants grow over wooden tracks, nature slowly taking over the structures
  • Light/shadow: When Sun hits tracks, very strong wood textures are made visible. As sun sets, wooden tracks become less visible and becomes one with forest setting
Wooden tracks in afternoon sun

Below are some interactive print works I found interesting:

  1.  Land Rover Topographic Calendar

A calendar with different sizes of paper layered and stack together to replicate a topographic effect. Curves of paper are gentle and soft, pastel colours compliment each other well.


When calendar is closed, layered effect is beautiful. Took this reference as it looks very similar to tree wood layers I saw at Bukit Timah. Very strong similarities to wood layers. As you flip the pages, layers slowly diminish, it looks less like wood — akin to construction work, precious wooden railway tracks are slowly being hacked away for conservation/revamping purposes.

2. Watercolour Abstracts

Textures. and shapes explored with watercolor medium.


Organic shapes and textures exploration using the nature of watercolour: Spreading, blurring. A mix of soft and sharp strokes give contrasting textures, even with the same colours used.

3. Rest of the Story

A CD album cum book, in hopes of integrating writing and music together. Writing is accompanied by visuals of what is meant to represent the music and theme.

Interactive aspect

There is a hole that exposes the CD when you flip the book open. As you flip through the book, you get ‘closer’ to the CD. Idea of getting closer’ to the main purpose of the album as you go through the pages —> to reach a conclusion at the end

4. Recto | Towards

Embroidery painting, where viewers are also invited to take a look at the back of the canvas to view the process of embroidery and sewing. The dialogue between the front and back of the canvas creates a multi-dimensional work, both sides interact with each other.

Interactive aspect

Going back and forth between the front and back of canvas, able to experience both sides together as a whole since canvas is translucent. 2 sides of the artwork create depth.

5. Intersect Origins

Transparent pages and pixelated graphics to explore history through a contemporary lens.  The book follows the story of an ancient beast and has brief descriptions  of history, focusing much on the pixel graphics instead. There in consistency in showing the beast, a pixelated ‘logo’ on most pages.

Interactive aspect

Transparent pages enhance the concept of the book. Colours  and designs change as one flips through the pages, providing one with a new aesthetic view of the ancient world.

6. Capital Cities

This book is about capital cities which are based on the economic power in the world. Each page is a city’s centre. Every two pages are separated along the diagonal, so that the city is divided into two parts. When the book is opened, the divided cities and the intact city are combined together, and create new cities.

Interactive aspect

Flipping the book gives you a new conclusion and meaning to the work.  Also, looking at book from different angles give you different patterns of shadows.

7. Mica book for Bind-O-Rama

The paper in the artist’s work is often left in its original colour with the original print on it. It gives her artwork a sense of freshness and raw emotion. This project is to explore a book as a transparent screen.

Interactive aspect

The artist often envisions the flag book as a movable screen to define space. Light and shadow capture is captured in the form, the focus is not on the ‘book’ itself, but the marks on the transparent sheet.

FYP Research: Audit

Xin Li | 李欣立 Aug 2020


Illustration, book


  • Superimposing doodles onto current photographs of Neo Tiew Estate

Main Objective

  • Reminisce the past, to show how people used to lived
  • How residents interacted with Neo Tiew estate back then

FYP project by Poh Ding Jie Leon, 2018/19


Exhibition space, poster, photography


  • Illustrations of abandoned sites, along with their brief historical accounts

Main Objective

  • raise awareness for these hidden abandoned sites
  • showcase narratives with abandoned sites
  • create alternate experience for local history exploration





  • Heritage and culture design visuals on everyday household items and gifts

Main Objective

  • to connect people and memories, enliven conversations and ignite new passions
  • seamlessly connect culture and heritage into everyday lives

Proj3ct M4yh3m / Project Mayhem




  • UrbEx photography of buildings of significant importance, stories and histories. Eg. Chernobyl, hospital/asylum rooms, swimming pools, schools
  • Telling a narrative with abandoned items in photos — empty and dried up pools, hospital equipment, beds, baby cribs, gas masks on school compounds
  • Has brief write ups on the history behind the abandoned sites

Main Objective

  • Capturing beauty in abandonment
  • Recount how life was like before abandonment by documenting ‘evidence’ of life before this – let viewers interpret for themselves how the space was like before abandonment

@ Home, Truly by National Heritage Board


Digital platform on NHB website



  • Something like an E-book, following the journey of Nadine and her Gong Gong (Grandfather)
  • Telling a narrative, histories, past stories with illustrations, old photographs, brief write ups on history
  • Chat quizzes to interact with online visitors

Main Objective

  • Recount history of Singapore through a light-hearted manner
  • to bring appreciation and foster love and rootedness for country, especially for youths since we do not live through the past or seen Singapore in its early struggling era

Modern Colony


Exhibition space


  • Set in a 1920s black-and-white bungalow, showcasing the cosmopolitan nature of Singapore as a British Crown colony in the 1920s and 1930s
  • Immersive experience where visitors get to roam around room and feel like they are in a 1920s house itself, browse through array of personal belongings ranging from richly embroidered cheongsams, intricately crafted shoes to simple personal trinkets

Main Objective

  • Understand and appreciate history of SG through immersive, first hand experience

Walking through Heritage by National Heritage Board


Digital platform on NHB website


  • A collection of virtual tours of Singapore’s heritage locations. Each location has its own link to a page, where there will be photographs, Street views where you can ‘walk’ around, videos, maps, audio tours and informational text.

Main Objective

  • Encourage Singaporeans to get to know their own roots and local places, foster interest and appreciation
  • Create a convenient alternative (especially in this pandemic) for Singaporeans to still be able to explore and discover local heritage





  • A series launched to uncover various Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) practices in SG
  • Practices in this series include traditional Malay dance, soya sauce brewing, songbird rearing, Catholic traditions during Easter, Eurasian food heritage, Ayurveda and the techniques of effigy-making.

Main Objective

  • Ensuring traditional practices and heritage is not lost and is still acknowledged in today’s modern  context
  • A way of documenting local / traditional culture

Study of Abandonment: Chosen sites

  • The Face of Abandonment: exploring abandonment as a visual form

I did some searches on the abandoned places in Singapore and made a list of sites I was comfortable documenting:

Bukit Timah Railway station, Keppel Hill Reservoir, Mount Serapong, Istana Woodneuk, Dakota Crescent

A useful site which updates on the accessibility

I further narrowed down to 3 places using these 2 factors:

  1. Accessibility and safety
  2. Uniqueness of site
  3. History

Chosen sites are Bukit Timah Railway station, Dakota Crescent and Keppel Hill Reservoir.

Bukit Timah Railway Station


  • Accessible and open to public
  • announced conservation in 2011, part of ‘Rail Corridor’
  • The first railway in Singapore, constructed in 1903 and subsequently bought by Malaysia’s KTM
  •  Unique architecture of identifiable cast iron railway bridge

Dakota Crescent


  •  built by the colonial government’s SIT organisation in 1958
  •  substantial history and has many valuable architectural styles which cannot be found in the modern public housing estates anymore
  •  various unique architectural elements of British architectural styles

Keppel Hill Reservoir

Concept tweak: restoration

Beyond Abandonment: Restoring Keppel Hill Reservoir

Main theme: Abandoned local spaces

Location: Keppel Hill Reservoir

Objective / Aims of project:

  • To ‘restore’ Keppel Hill Reservoir to its pre-abandoned state, in hopes of peaking interest and awareness towards the now abandoned site
  • Encourage people to visit and appreciate the history behind Keppel Hill Reservoir

How is it different/similar from my previous concept:

Previous concept was to document ruins and aesthetics of abandonment and use this to raise awareness and interest towards abandoned site. May be too superficial to only consider the aesthetics of these abandoned spaces. Also, just documenting the current abandoned space will merely ‘expose’ all of KHR and leave no room for curiosity, might not even interest people to visit.

New concept would still be to raise awareness and interest, but through imagining what pre-abandoned KHR might have looked like. Concept includes story and history behind site so there is heritage aspect in project.

Ultimately, new project will still require documentation of elements of abandoned Keppel Hill Reservoir, but now I will use these elements to ‘piece the puzzle’ and attempt to ‘restore’.

Breakdown of KHR:


– abandoned reservoir 1925 onwards, later used as an outdoor Olympic swimming pool by both British & Japanese soldiers between 1925-1954


– still has elements of an outdoor pool: partial diving board, shower area, platform, steps area, pipes, toilets, colonial-era house nearby


– known to be a haunted place, 3 people have drowned so far: in 1936 & 1948

– an interesting site of urban exploration nevertheless, dates back to 1905


Portraying Keppel Hill Reservoir in the 1920s, back when it was an outdoor Olympic swimming pool. Final could potentially be 1900s Catalogue:

A project to reimagine how KHR was like in the past. Catalogue could be something that was used in the past to promote KHR as a go-to destination for outdoor swimming and a getaway vacation.

Planned approach

  1. Document and study main elements of KHR on site — photograph, video, sketches
  2. Research how past outdoor pools were like
  3. Establish moodboard/colour palette
  4. Piece elements together, restore KHR in the form of a catalogue

Research question(s)

Will knowing the history/stories provide better appreciation and interest towards Keppel Hill Reservoir?

Creative Industry Report: ONLEWO

Onlewo is a Singaporean design label founded by Mike Tay. They specialise in gifts, fabrics, lifestyle products and fashion, but what sets them apart from the rest is their designs are always inspired from the unique Singaporean culture.

Their inspiration and style includes, but are not limited to, Peranakan patterns, traditional kueh and heritage locations such as Tiong Bahru, Chinatown and Little India. Their designs are created with the Singaporean root in mind, in hopes to create patterns design with stories.

I admire the way they have mixed the past into the present, allowing anyone to enjoy a ‘contemporary rendition of heritage’ put on everyday lifestyle products like notebooks, lamps, stools and scarves. The fusion of heritage and contemporary creates this new identity of modern yet familiar. It is interesting to see how Onlewo borrows an aspect of heritage, and then modifies it into something more relatable to this present-day. This makes a fun take on everyday items and creates a unique brand for themselves.

This unique branding they have created for themselves is also something I admire very much. Their visuals are clean, natural and the patterns speak an identity for themselves. Their brand identity comes off very strong but is not exaggerated at all, which is what I appreciate about Onlewo and their products.