For The One Academy’s Interior Architecture & Design student Tan Yi Xuan, living in a multiracial country such as Malaysia is truly a blessing, and an opportunity to look at life from different lenses through appreciation and sharing of culture among one another as a Malaysian.
Out of 112 designers, Tan was shortlisted as a finalist along with 20 other competitors in the recent ‘Bench Design Competition for KVMRT SBK Line Underground Stations’ organised by the MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn. Bhd. (MGKT) in collaboration with the KVMRT Project Owner Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn. Bhd. (MRT Corp), as part of the ‘Art Express Programme’. Selected designs will be incorporated into respective stations along the MRT Sungai Buloh – Kajang Line.
Much like herself, the other finalists from 18 local design institutions were encouraged to participate in the competition as it was an avenue for them to display their capabilities, and as the industry’s method of tapping into the pool of young creative talents for designs that are “aesthetic, original and innovative”.
As a promising designer, Tan has taken a keen interest in cultures differing from her own as inspirations to her work and portfolio. Following her triumphs at the International Art & Design Competition 2016 hosted in Florence, Italy, where she incorporated Sarawak tribal patterns and the classic ‘congkak’ in her designs, Tan borrowed Islamic motifs and patterns in her bench design for Tun Razak Exchange Station.
“Much like a picture that speaks a thousand words, an artistic design summarises concepts and ideas to make the understanding of cultures easier for people, often just by looking at it,” said Tan at the prize presentation ceremony, KVMRT Training Center, Sungai Buloh.
To design her bench based on the Islamic Corporate identity of Tun Razak Exchange Station, Tan assimilated geometric patterns that symbolise the natural stages of growing plants, a motif commonly found in Islamic art and architecture, but with a modern interpretation. The patterns used are also akin to the growing financial district of the corresponding area.
“When light is shined on the white upper part of the bench, shadows are casted on the blue lower bench, showing the combination of two different patterns that represent the station’s interchange of the SBK Line and SSP Line,” she explained.
One of the main challenges of designing the bench was exhibiting the elements and identity of the station in a harmonious and elegant manner while considering the basic requirements for sustainability and safety. The steel rod and wrought iron used as materials, along with white and blue spray paint as finishes, allow the benches to be welded and painted again in the case of vandalism.
From the beginning of idea designing to briefing by the organiser and from model making design to manufacturing, Tan completed her entire bench project in about 4 weeks. She also received valuable guidance from her lecturers regarding construction details and suitable materials.
Tan is also a ‘Design Ninja’ from the Design Ninja Programme by School of Interior Architecture & Design, The One Academy, where students obtain practical knowledge through training and competitions, as part of the institution’s ‘Masters Train Masters’ teaching philosophy.
[ The One Academy of Communication Design was established in 1991 with the aim of promoting the region as the world’s center of creative reference. Strategically located in the thriving creative hub of Bandar Sunway, Selangor, with a branch in Georgetown, Penang, The One Academy is today a top notch leading international institute in art, design and creative multimedia, renowned with graduates who steer successful careers in creative capitals worldwide. The courses offered are Multimedia Design with Digital Media and Interactive Design, Digital Animation with Game Development, Film Visual Effects, Illustration, Movie & Game Art, Advertising & Graphic Design, Interior Design, Paris Fashion Design & Pattern Making and Fine Arts. ]
Tan Yi Xuan with her cash reward, certificate and model of her bench design at the prize presentation ceremony, KVMRT Training Center, Sungai Buloh.
Tan Yi Xuan’s blue and white bench design for Tun Razak Exchange Station.