Meet A Local Furniture Designer Who Only Works With Recycled Wood

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We speak to Jackie Tan, the design director of Triple Eyelid Studio, on his venture into the world of upcycling and the importance of eco-consciousness in the design industry.

How did you get into the world of upcycling?
Prior to starting Triple Eyelid, I was an interior designer for five years with a Bachelor degree in Environmental Design. Furniture design was always a passion of mine and after witnessing the amount of industrial waste in the design scene, I decided to create the studio with a focus on sustainable furniture design, primarily out of reclaimed timber. Waste wood is easily found all over the country and industries discard them in huge amounts on a daily basis, and I felt it was such a shame that no company in Singapore was focused on reusing these free materials.

Jackie believes that well-designed furniture pieces should be highly functional without having to brag about how “creative” or “showy” they look.

Jackie believes that well-designed furniture pieces should be highly functional without having to brag about how “creative” or “showy” they look.

How would you describe your design style?
I would describe my design style as modern, minimalist and functional. When I was still a design student, the cubism movement really inspired a lot of my design decisions. As for our design philosophy at Triple Eyelid, we strongly believe that form always follows function when it comes to furniture design, where every product we design has to answer to a certain problem.

Take us through the process of upcycling discarded wood into a new furniture piece.
First, we have to dismantle a pallet into planks and then remove all nails within the planks. We have to carefully check each piece of wood for residual nails as they will damage the machine blades. Next, we send the wood to heat-treatment facilities within our factory to rid them of insects and moisture. After treatment, the pallet wood are then sorted based on their sizes and planed smooth ready to be made into furniture.

When it comes to materials, Jackie loves working with timber and concrete, where the cold and hardness of concrete juxtaposes the warmth and organic properties of timber.

When it comes to materials, Jackie loves working with timber and concrete, where the cold and hardness of concrete juxtaposes the warmth and organic properties of timber.

Can you tell us more about the meaning behind your brand’s name, Triple Eyelid?
The name “Triple Eyelid” actually spawns from the realisation of how tiring it is to hand make every piece of furniture. An extra eyelid usually occurs when the person is extremely exhausted, both physically and mentally. The randomness of the studio’s name also serves as a great conversation starter or icebreaker!

Not one to let a good thing go to waste, Jackie made his first furniture by collecting discarded pallet crates from industrial estates in Singapore.

Not one to let a good thing go to waste, Jackie made his first furniture by collecting discarded pallet crates from industrial estates in Singapore.

Why do you think eco-consciousness is important in the design industry?
Personally, I think that when a designer is coming up with ideas for something new, considering the sustainability of the end product should be as important as the purpose of the design itself. The short-term result is the production of the furniture, but designers should be aware of the possible long-term effects that their designs may have. We are designing not just for our generation but also for the next, so it is important that we have the right mindset towards ensuring that we manage the material resources we have prudently.

This was adapted from an article originally published in the September 2018 issue of SquareRooms

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