This interview was first published on the Project Passion 365 website and was told through visuals. Lilian was kind enough to let us republish and remix it a little. All photos and text provided by the author. The Karung Gunis are rag and bone men in Singapore who visit residences door-to-door to collect unwanted items and newspapers.
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AARON KOH/CASEY LOH/LEON LAI, SINGAPORE

Art Director/Copywriter/Producer at ARTSYFACT

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

Aaron: An Art Director and a skate enthusiast.
Aaron believes in the insight behind every idea / design.
Casey: A Copywriter and a movie buff.
Casey believes that having a compelling story is vital in getting the message across.
Leon: A Suit / Producer and a coffee connoisseur.
Leon believes that focus and staying true is key to success.

What is your passion in life?

Keeping memories alive and if we can help the environment along the way, even better.

Why is passion so important in life?

Without passion, everything will be done half-heartedly and passion makes all the sacrifices we make along the way worth it.

Do you have Monday Blues (or Sunday Evening Sorrows)?

Never. Most probably because we’re off on Mondays but more importantly, we look forward to every day and every new challenge with eager anticipation.

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When did you have the ‘Fuck this, I’m going to do this now’ moment?

When we realized that we couldn’t stomach another lie.

Who/what is your inspiration?

Aaron: Guy Ritchie
Casey: Ryan Giggs
Leon: My mom

What is your favourite phrase/word/sentence?

Aaron: It’s very very good.
Casey: That’s what she said
Leon: Billionaire. Not millionaire.

What is your most hated phrase/word/sentence?

Aaron: Take a chill pill.
Casey: *silence*
Leon: Trust me.

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If you managed to find the key to turn back time, what would you have done the same or differently?

Aaron: I wouldn’t turn back time.
Casey: Spend more time with my family.
Leon: I wish I was there beside my grandmother’s death bed.

Advice for others who want to pursue their passion.

Do whatever it takes. IF you fail, you won’t fail in saying you didn’t try.

What are the challenges you’ve faced when starting this passion of yours?

Learning curve.

What is the mantra/wisdom you live by?

Functional, applied creativity just works.

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Why upcycling in furniture?

There are enough things being produced all over the world. As supply outgrow demands, waste is being produced, causing pollution. Recycling may turn waste into new material but it’s also too expensive to break down the materials to its core source. Upcycling is simpler, cheaper and retains the memory of the material’s former life.

What were your influences?

The upcycling movements in Australia, America and even Beijing. We also think of Herman Miller and Phillipe Starck who put functionality into beautiful designs.

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What are your individual roles in ARTSYFACT?

Aaron: Design, Social Media and Marketing.
Casey: Writing, Sourcing, Production and Custom Projects.
Leon: Marketing, Social Media and Administration.

How are decisions made? Votes?

Yes, in the most democratic sense.

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Why Everton as the shop’s location?

As one of the oldest estates in Singapore, Everton has a lot of charm and legacy. With the opening of a few cafés and indie brands in the vicinity, it’s also going to be a cool place to be, in a hipster kind of way.

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What skills have you learned from furniture refurbishment?

Learning to tell the difference between wood and timber materials, the need to reinforce and strengthen structures, functional and practical designs, colour mixing, restoration, and that nothing is as easy as it looks.

What is the most memorable story behind a furniture piece that you have salvaged?

Our sewing machine table top — Homage to Har Cheh, was inspired by the resilient story of Har Cheh, an old lady who refused to move from her home in Kampong Kepayang, a village that the government has reclaimed to make way for progress. Her strength and stubbornness to stay rooted to her home despite everyone else moving out has inspired us to push harder in everything that we do.


Check out Aaron’s CreativeMornings / Singapore talk below on the monthly global theme, “REUSE”.

photo 9 150x150 ARTSYFACT: Creative Karungunis Keeping Memories Alive
An advertising creative, who is currently on her one year sabbatical experiment, love to ponder on the question ‘What if…?’ everyday.
photo 9 150x150 ARTSYFACT: Creative Karungunis Keeping Memories Alive

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