The U Press N°3

The U Press N°3 Singapore Edition is now available in over 250 locations islandwide.

Front page documents an intimate conversation with The xx front man, Oliver Sim, on putting together the pieces that matter. Design highlights feature an awe-inspiring interview with Rolf Hay, get inspired and take part in the Prix Émile Hermès 2014. Coverage on local initiatives includes the “Going Where?” an exhibition by ShanghART, Asian books specialist Select Books and Nadya Hutagalung on sustainability. The growth of a new culture is celebrated by taking a closer look at heritage store Tong Mern Sern Antiques Arts & Crafts, and modern day specialty cafés, Flock and The Plain.

The U Press regular columns dives into filmmaker, Boo Jun Feng’s work at heart in FIRST PERSON, Sin Kwang Minced Meat Noodle in NEIGHBOUR, Beijing Mobile Living from PIN-UP Magazine in GUEST and finally, eeshaun imagines and illustrates one of the worst things that could ever happen in Singapore, in EXHIBIT.

Grab a copy, take a photo and tag us, @underscoremag #theupress on Instagram, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates.

Hjgher’s Friday

Presentation started early in the day when Justin brought everyone out to lunch to eat what he thinks is the best bak kut teh (Chinese pork soup) in Singapore. The dark brown soup with generous portions of meat was pure comfort, especially with the accompanying coarse white rice. The more adventurous amongst us shared a bowl of pork legs and shitake mushroom boiled to deliciousness in a similarly dark brown but more viscous gravy. Is it really the best? Well, you’ll have to try it for yourself at Leon Kee Claypot Pork Rib Soup at Alexandra Village Food Village.

At the end of the day, Cassie got the ball rolling with Singaporean of the Day, a video project featuring “stories from everyday Singapore in 2 minutes”. These stories reveal the quiet charm of ordinary life in this fast-paced glitzy city, showing the hopes and dreams of Singaporeans. We watched Elaine Chiam, the cat rescuer.

Steph asked us to Find Momo, Andrew Knapp’s border collie. In this photography project, Andrew posts pictures of his dog, Momo in the midst of a landscape and viewers are supposed to find him, then comment with #foundmomo. All this started when Andrew kept finding Momo hiding in odd places everytime they went out to play. Can you spot Momo in the photo below?

Amaris showed us photos form her sister’s wedding in Varndovagen Church in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a beautiful traditional chapel with stained glass and wooden pews that has been around since the 1300s.

Jerry shared Lunch with FT, a weekly interview series by the Financial Times with leading cultural and business figures. He was particularly taken by the depth of the details described every interview, showing not just the voice of every interviewee but also their personality. Every interview is marked by wit, intelligence and authenticity – an all round great read. Founder of Mega Upload and now Mega, Kim Dotcom‘s interview revealed a side to him rarely seen. Read a snippet below.

“You know I have never uploaded and shared a movie in my life,” he says. “I have always bought all my content. I’ve spent over $20,000 in the past five years on iTunes. I’m not a pirate.” That’s not how the DoJ sees it, or the “Department of Clowns”, as Dotcom refers to them on Twitter. Among reams of evidence, it cites emails showing what it says is wilful complicity in copyright infringement, including one from Megaupload’s chief technical officer saying, “We’re not pirates, we’re just providing shipping services to pirates :).” Dotcom says the DoJ lacks a sense of humour.

It is all part, he says, of a battle being waged by Hollywood against Silicon Valley. Suddenly he breaks off. “Is that a chicken in my house?” Sure enough, a large white chicken is strutting through the living room towards us. “That’s a first. You can mention that the chicken came out when we started talking about Chris Dodd,” he says, referring to the chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, the Hollywood lobby group that Dotcom regards as one of the driving forces behind his prosecution.

Bin Hua introduced his favourite television documentary, Connection by James Burke. The series is about the interconnectedness of past inventions that lead up to and affect what we take for granted today. The humble bullock cart has been an indirect influence to the electricity today. You can find out why, as well as many other intriguing ideas in the first episode below. The rest of the series can be watched on the same channel.

Hjgher’s Friday

Another Friday, another round up!

Miguel went first with his presentation on Joe La Pompe, a website dedicated to the search for similar advertising ideas from around the world. We went through a few of examples and one of them is below.

Shoe in Hair
Top of Mind Idea. Left: Alto Palermo Shopping Mall’s campaign in 2008 and right: iFaba Shoes in 2013.

Jerry’s presentation titled Who’s Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, involved the following worksheet, which Steph not only completed the fastest with all the right answers, but also used the most effective method. This same method is used by fifth graders. Will you be able to answer all the questions within 2 minutes?


Yiling went to A Design Film Festival over the weekend and caught The Naked Brand, which talks about how brands have evolved with advances in technology. Brands are now accountable not just to their stakeholders, but to everyone, as was the case with Dave Caroll’s United Breaks Guitars. Watch the self-explanatory video, which has gotten over a million views and has even become a book!

Bin Hua introduced Cod.Act, a label that develops artistic performances and interactive installations. The basis of their approach is a reflection on sound and movement and their possible interaction. One of their creations is the Pendulum Choir, a weird and wonderful performance that involves singing people attached to a metal device. It boggled our minds too!

Justin brought out his leather crafting tools from Japan. He has every tool needed to make whatever leather product you can think of. He showed us some of his leather creations including a leather clutch made from an interesting malleable material that closes on its own without a clasp.

Justin's Leather Tools 2
Justin’s tools

Justin's Leather Tools 3
Leather clutch

Justin's Leather Tools 1
Hole punching tools and base.

Cassie shared 50 problems in 50 Days by Peter Smart, a design specialist who traveled 2517 miles in 50 days to solve 50 problems. The project explored the limits of design’s ability to solve social problems. One particularly interesting solution was on Day 21 for pickpocketing.

Steph made us guess who was singing this incredible cover of Rihanna’s Stay. At the end, she spoke of how she was reminded of the fragility of life through the juxtaposition of the soothing nature of the song and the realities of war. Listen to said cover below.

Amaris rounded up the week with some funny pictures for haze protection. The following two sent us into roaring laughter.

Haze Protection 2

Haze Protection

Have a great week ahead!


Hjgher’s Friday

To round off the week at the studio, we ask everyone (except Kiki) to make a presentation of something and anything. Last Friday was no exception. Here’s the roundup of what was shared, in order of presentation.

Cassie shared food photography from Gabriele Galmiberti’s Delicatessen with love. The series captures over 40 dishes by grandmothers from around the world. Each photo is accompanied by a recipe so anyone can try their hand at it, although we’re not sure where you will find a Houduran iguana in Singapore, as is the case with the photo of Maria Luz Fedric’s Honduran Iguana with rice and beans from Cayman Islands.

Maria Luz Fedric’s Honduran Iguana with rice and beans (Photo by Gabriele Galmiberti)

Dominic challenged everyone to eating a slice of white bread under a minute, which Bin Hua won by squeezing the slice into a little bun. Other failed strategies include tearing the slice into smaller pieces, and drinking water (although it wasn’t allowed). Why is this deceptively simple task so difficult? The dry slice soaks up your saliva leaving your mouth a little too dry to finish the rest in under a minute. That, and the uncontrollable laughter from watching your fellow colleagues desperately stuffing themselves.

Jerry mused on a Tumblr dedicated solely to people who cried at Marina Abramović’s famous installation at the MoMA, titled Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present. Another deceptively simple act, but such a profound one. We were particularly taken by this woman who cried after sitting with Marina for 164 minutes.

Day 68, Portrait 15. (Photo by Marco Anelli.)

Steph, inspired by all the staring in Jerry’s presentation, was reminded of the Samsung Galaxy S4 One-hour stare contest. Because the phone can sense you looking at it, Swisscom set up a machine in Zurich Main Station to see who would be able to stare at it for 60 minutes. The prize for hitting the 60 minute mark was the phone but if you get distracted, you don’t get anything. Sounds easy? Not quite, especially when there were epic distractions like barking dogs, a quarreling couple, motorcycle crashes and burning hot dog vendors. See for yourself in the video below, but don’t get distracted!

Yiling shared Xia Xiaowan’s haunting surreal 3D glass paintings, inspired by dreams. According to the artist in a Don’t Panic Magazine interview, he’s exploring “human being humanity” in this series. Read the full interview here.

Xia Xiaowan's 3D glass paintings One of Xia Xiaowan’s 3D glass paintings. (Photo from Don’t Panic Online)

Amaris shared two paper swatch books from her recent trip to GF Smith, an independent British paper company. The first is GF Smith’s regular range, while the second is the recently launched Colorplan is a gorgeous colour swatch with an interactive site to accompany the experience.

GF Smith – Regular GF Smith’s regular range swatch book

09 Colorplan_concertinaGF Smith’s Colourplan swatch book (Photo taken from GF Smith)

Bin Hua wowed us with Illustrator scripts that stylizes photos into vector illustrations. These scripts give its user the possibility of extending Adobe Illustrator’s functionality by the use of the JavaScript language. In the example below, the triggered script, which can be found on Scriptographer, pixelises photos with a shape of your choice.

Kiki – Photo Photographed Kiki.

Kiki – Vector Pixelised Kiki.

Miguel introduced Estrella’s 2013 summer advertisement. According to him, the beer ad marks the start of the summer for those aged between 25 to 35 living in Spain. It’s not difficult to see why when the ad features plenty of sunshine, gorgeous people and beer.

The Human Scale


How are the cities we shape shaping us in turn? How do we live more with less? How much does it cost to be nice to one another?

These are some of the questions being raised in The Human Scale, one of the twelve films we caught during the recent Design Film Festival 2013.

50 % of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050 this will increase to 80%. Life in a mega city is both enchanting and problematic. Today we face peak oil, climate change, loneliness and severe health issues due to our way of life. But why? The Danish architect and professor Jan Gehl has studied human behavior in cities through 40 years. He has documented how modern cities repel human interaction, and argues that we can build cities in a way, which takes human needs for inclusion and intimacy into account.

Directed by Andreas Dalsgaard, The Human Scale delivers an alarming and slightly disturbing message with beautiful camera works, intriguing conversations, and rounds it up with heart-warming stories that show us a slight glimpse of hope living in a mega city.

The Human Scale
The Human Scale
The Human Scale
The Human Scale

Timeless Voyage


On May 9th, for the very first time in Asia, Singapore hosted the unveiling of the CHANEL 2013/14 Cruise Collection at the Loewen Cluster, a preserved heritage site on Dempsey Hill, with 400 top international media and celebrities, which included Carine Roitfeld, Andre Leon Talley, Anna Mouglais, Si Won Choi and Rinko Kikuchi personally flown in to attend the inaugural launch.

We are pleased to share that Creative Cultures: The Singapore Showcase publication was handpicked to be a part of Chanel’s welcome gift to all their invited international media and celebrities which included the kaiser Karl Lagerfeld himself and close to 30 female creatives from Creative Cultures: The Singapore Showcase publication were handpicked by CHANEL and invited to the inaugural event. Fleecircus, Germaine (Anonymous), Mae Pang, Elyn (Stolen), Yvonne (Woon Hung), Shing (Lekker), April (aspidistralfly), Gilda (Revasseur), Priscilla (Studio Juju) and Jade & Letitia (Time Taken to Make a Dress) were just some of our dancing partners at the after-party (of the decade).

Merci beaucoup CHANEL, come back soon!

More about the history and evolution of CHANEL Cruise in The U Press N°2, Singapore edition.

Chanel Presents: Once Upon A Time & Women Only


On May 8th 2013, the evening before the Cruise Collection show which will take place at Loewen Cluster on the Dempsey hill, Karl Lagerfeld unveiled his two new short films Women Only and Once Upon a Time… during a private screening at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore.

The Palm Court, a charming interior courtyard at this legendary hotel, was chosen as the theatrical backdrop for the screening.
Within this verdant showcase, where Charlie Chaplin and Somerset Maugham once wrote beneath the shade of the palm trees, the guests were invited to enjoy a preview of these two short films, followed by a tropical interlude during the cocktail party.

In this leafy setting, the CHANEL ambassadors Zhou Xun, Anna Mouglalis and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey as well as the stars of the short films, including Clotilde Hesme, Caroline de Maigret, Stella Tennant, Saskia de Brauw, Jamie Bochert, Ashleigh Good and Lindsey Wixon, all came to congratulate Karl Lagerfeld after the screening.

Chanel Presents: Once Upon A Time & Women Only
Caroline de Maigret & Karl Lagerfeld.
Chanel Presents: Once Upon A Time & Women Only
Zing & Zhou Xun.
Chanel Presents: Once Upon A Time & Women Only
Against the historical Raffles Hotel.

The U Press N°2

The U Press N°2 Singapore Edition now out and available islandwide.

Front page headlining the ever inspiring Hussein Chalayan, on his ideals of escapism. Fashion highlights with the Chanel 2013/14 Cruise Collection and an intimate conversation with Dion Lee. Along with local initiatives in the culture scene, Thambi Magazine Store, Commune BistroThe Observatory and A Design Film Festival.

The U Press regular columns take an intimate look at Donna Ong’s life in FIRST PERSON, an in-depth interview with a leading creative. Handy Service, featured in NEIGHBOUR, an adaptation of Underscore’s Neighbourhood series. And MessyMsxi muses about life as an illustrator in EXHIBIT, an illustrated column.

Grab a copy, take a photo and tag us, @underscoremag #theupress on Instagram!

Creative Culture: The Singapore Showcase × The White Rabbit

We launched Creative Cultures: The Singapore Showcase with a gathering of Singapore’s creatives at The White Rabbit. We could not have asked for better company.

Creative Cultures: The Singapore Showcase is an Underscore publication showcasing the works of Singapore’s creative disciplines with over 280 pages of visuals and interviews. Over 100 creatives from fields of art, design, music and photography were featured.

The theme, Uncover, was established for Singapore, describing the emergence of a new creative culture. With Singapore’s identity as a creative culture still uncast and at its youth, the focus lies in its future. As with no baggage of a past, we now have the power to learn from others, to be experimental and to forge our own unique identity. With an irreversible scratch-and-see gold foil hardcover, the reader is invited to scratch and uncover what lies underneath the gold foil; printed on the front cover, the names of all creatives featured in the publication are revealed. Each book will have its own unique hardcover, randomly and organically scratched, depending on how its reader handles the book.

We would like to thank everyone for working together with us to help make this project happen. We are truly touched by the kind words of support and encouragement. As it is with building a creative community, we could not have done this on our own.