Melvin had always had an inclination towards arts, but his turning point was during his junior college years where he realized the only enjoyment he derived from his studies was being able to sketch out cross sections during biology classes and plot out Math diagrams.
Upon graduating in Furniture Design in 2008, Melvin left for London to pursue further studies on Product Design. During his stay in the UK, Melvin worked with a design agency and had the opportunity to come under the tutelage of established designers such as Chris Lefteri and Reiko Kaneko.
Strengthened by these experiences that molded him, Melvin made a decision to come back home to Singapore in 2012 to establish his studio, Desinere, which focuses on bespoken furniture pieces and homeware accessories.
The latin root of the word silence is “desinere”, meaning “stop”. To Melvin, stopping at the roots of silence enables an individual to take the sensory measure of the world.
To him, design is a contemplative process. He approaches design through quiet reflection of relationships between objects, people, and experiences. This pushes him to challenge his preconceived notions of his surroundings and in turn creates work that evokes curiosity and surprise.
“I enjoy making things with my own hands,” Melvin said. “It’s always enjoyable to see how an initial doodle comes to life in a tangible form.” He added on by saying that the sense of fulfillment he feels is indescribable and once he experiences it, he can’t imagine himself doing anything else.
The Rok concrete paperweights were Melvin’s first foray into working with concrete. It was a trying learning process as the particular shape he wanted to cast was challenging, with a lot of undercuts and facets. This took Melvin one year to get right and perfect its replication as it needed a thorough understanding of the unpredictability of concrete casting.
Melvin believes that craftsmanship is important and it is a form of discipline. The undivided dedication towards a craft steers him on the path of pursuing excellence. He said: “Everything is so ‘instant’ today and that’s why craftsmanship is so valuable as it becomes the counterweight to this fast-paced culture.”
In his practice, Melvin continuously makes effort to experience and experiment with different mediums and processes. “And that’s why I joined The Balvenie Connoisseurs of Craft Initiative. It’s such a great journey where you never stop learning,” Melvin said.
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