Tuesday, April 7, 2009

KL Design Week 2009

I didn’t even know CapSquare existed until last week. It’s blocked by uncool buildings all around, so it’s pretty freaky to see what I can only describe as a full design district in the middle of old (not rustic, just old) buildings.

Anyways, I’m glad someone posted something up about KL Design Week, so I eventually ended up taking a quiet stroll of the exhibitions there last Friday. Just to reaffirm Foldees’ beliefs – there is some serious talent here in Malaysia, just waiting to be discovered. While I did see ALOT of cool stuff there, I just really wanted to tell you guys about two booths that are doing really interesting things in the design space here in KL.

The first booth we visited was for a company called Genesis Culture. They are a T-shirt company that sells t-shirts made by designers. Sound familiar? Well, not quite. Genesis Culture defers from the other website that starts with a T, in that they approach specific designers, and ask them to do a limited edition run of exclusive designs for them, in exchange for a cut of the pie.

They were selling two series of designs that day – a Black&White abstract series from Dennis called Sin, and a totally cool series of Zombie T-shirts called The Dreamwalker from a guy called Daryl.

I really liked the zombie shirts. Like seriously. In fact, I bought two of em, each for a very reasonable RM50 (the equivalent of about US$15). They retail for about US$25 on the site. Each shirt features a large colour illustration of the zombie on the front, and a smaller, related illustration on the back. Here are some pictures I stole off the site cos my pictures sucked.

This first one’s called Food for Thought. On the cover, it shows a zombie eating someone’s brain and getting an idea in the form of a lightbulb. On the back, it shows the zombie eating the lightbulb.


This next one shows a normal human girl in the arms of a zombie, with the zombie thinking about love. On the back, the zombie is shown in the exact same position, but thinking instead about brains. Very aptly, it’s called Love Bites.


Just one floor upstairs, there was another really cool company called Wall Tailor. They do custom wall decals that are easily applicable and more importantly, do not leave stains when removed. Again, the concept is simple. In fact, you can already buy such wall decals from Ikea. However, much like everything else, implementation is everything, and these guys have some seriously cool designs on sale.

First off, their exhibit is already wicked, with their Laugh Wall.


Basically what they encourage people to do is to take either a letter H or A from a bowl, and stick it onto their wall. The overall effect is that not only does it make a seriously cool wall (Robin, please if you’re planning on throwing it away, please do so outside my office so we can collect it and use it for ourselves), but it also shows visitors to the booth how easy their decals are to apply. Yes, they are seriously easy to apply, and definitely stick way better than those Swedish budget ones. While their designers are currently internal (full-time staff), Robin the owner did mention that they actually wanted to run a contest during KL Design Week to source for designs, and says that he probably will in the very near future.


 Their designs, which are currently sourced internally, are very cutely displayed on these cardboard t-shirts, with prices ranging from RM30 upwards, depending on complexity and size.


Honestly, with these cool decals, who needs furniture?

There were so many other cool exhibits at CapSquare that we probably would run out of space talking about them. I chose these two because they show interesting business directions for design here in KL.

So it looks like Foldees is part of something bigger… a move to make design a bit more profitable to our extremely talented local designers, and thus create a sustainable environment in which they can thrive.

It will take time, blood sweat and tears, but we are already talking to these two kindred spirits to see if we can work together to provide an even better platform for local designers to share the stage with other designers from all over the world. Wall Tailor is already thinking of expanding to Australia, while Genetic Culture is already in talks with other t-shirt companies across borders to do designer exchange programs and other cross-marketing opportunities.

As for us? Well, we recently sent a card to Serbia & Montenegro :)

I’ve never even met anyone from that country before, so that’s kinda cool.

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