#SGID17 Influencer Cherin Tan graduated with a degree in interior architecture from Curtin University and worked with interior design firm Asylum for six years before setting up her own boutique interior design studio, LAANK, in 2012.
As the founder of LAANK, Tan handles the company’s creative direction and strives to make a difference in the industry by marrying functionality with workmanship and creativity to create a unique and valuable experience for both customers and users. Among LAANK’s projects are the O+ store and Violet Oon restaurant in Clarke Quay.
Can you share some thoughts on Singapore’s current creative scene?
When LAANK first started we had a tough time trying to make clients see interior design as something more than just a selection of wall and floor finishings. They needed to see that it’s a powerful tool that shapes behaviours and steers reactions towards crafting a fuller brand experience.
It’s been a progressively painful road (we’re sure it has been for many others too) but we’ve been fortunate to work on projects that let us have the freedom to create distinctive experiences in our clients’ spaces. This reflects how far the industry and scene have come in the past couple of years.
I believe that this change has come about because of the local creative professionals, who’ve struggled and fought for progression in Singapore’s landscape. Even in our current economic climate, the sectors that are most affected like hospitality, F&B, and retail still hold opportunities. They’re beginning to see the value of design and are slowly but surely coming around.
A huge factor contributing to the growth of the creative landscape are the platforms (both commercial and self-initiated), conversations, collaborations and sharing of knowledge that happens between creative professionals in Singapore – we’re all a community and we need to give back to grow. Some of us have gone back to school, and initiated workshops and talks to try and affect change with the next generation of professionals, not just creatives.
From a broader perspective, we’re at a very exciting juncture as a country. More people are beginning to question our national identity, some are even disillusioned, and they’re beginning to care how others perceive us. This friction is always a step towards change and we’re seeing more conversations and more projects being initiated. And I’m excited to see what results from this process.
What are some of the things that drive your practice?
Some would say that the meaning of entrepreneurship is ”enter and take charge”. I’ve come to learn that entrepreneurship is not for everybody and those who possess the capabilities are constantly faced with countless challenges, not least the limitations of operating in a small country and open market environment.
I believe that those who aren’t afraid to initiate things that translate into good and see them through should be supported. Often, as entrepreneurs, we’re driven to secure higher-value projects to survive. At LAANK, we believe that it should be more – all that we do needs to have intrinsic value to our clients, the community and ourselves.
Our philosophy is based on my personal beliefs and the passion of the team. I feel strongly that interiors are ultimately where we experience and make memories, beyond just the look and feel, we need to make that experience memorable. We’re driven to create spaces not through the lens of a camera or phone but how we actually move, feel and live as people. It’s about the details in the space and how your senses react to them in a variety of situations.
LAANK essentially pieces all of this together – balancing the life of the space, the people in it and pragmatism (something we don’t run from).
It’s known that functionality ends up driving the wagon with most clients, but our work is driven by the exploration of an alternative path. Firstly, the design should be driven by the intended life of the brand and followed by everyday functionality. The beauty is in weaving these two sometimes-disparate needs together to create new stories and experiences.
What are you looking forward to seeing and experiencing in SGID17?
I hope to meet different people from the industry, institutions and beyond. It’s all about the dialogue, learning and getting inspired. I think SGID17 is going to be a great platform for people looking for opportunities to collaborate with similar or differing ideas, and I’m glad to be part of it!
At Singapore Indesign 2017, you have the chance to get five-minutes of one-on-one time with Tan at the Louis Poulsen showroom, and walk away with a prize.
How? Click here for details!