CREATIVE FORCES

Bases around the world

Outofstock's (above from left) Sebastian Alberdi, Wendy Chua, Gabriel Tan and Gustavo Maggio. (Below) A set-up from the Sori Yanagi exhibition in Singapore they designed.
Outofstock's (from left) Sebastian Alberdi, Wendy Chua, Gabriel Tan and Gustavo Maggio. PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK DESIGN
Outofstock's (above from left) Sebastian Alberdi, Wendy Chua, Gabriel Tan and Gustavo Maggio. (Below) A set-up from the Sori Yanagi exhibition in Singapore they designed.
A set-up from the Sori Yanagi exhibition in Singapore they designed.PHOTO: OUTOFSTOCK DESIGN

It sounds like a logistical nightmare, having four designers working on projects from different corners of the world.

But physical distance between the members of Outofstock has brought good ideas to the table. Of the quartet, Mr Gabriel Tan, 33, and Ms Wendy Chua, 31, are from Singapore. Mr Gustavo Maggio, 35, is from Argentina while Mr Sebastian Alberdi, 37, hails from Spain.

They first met in 2005 at the Electrolux Design Lab, a global competition for undergraduate and graduate design students to present their ideas for future homes. Ms Chua and Mr Tan were representing Singapore and Mr Maggio and Mr Alberdi, Spain.

A year later, they decided to work together. Their name, Outofstock, came out of a chance meeting they had in Stockholm, a shortened version of "out of stockholm", says Ms Chua.

She looks positively on their distance. "Our eyes and ears are open to the freshest ideas that are igniting the cities we live in."

With the world as their office, they have snagged collaborations with international clients such as Danish furniture company brand Bolia.

With so many influences, Outofstock is not tied to one particular style, says Ms Chua. "The language of our work is rooted in our collective cultural mindscape and the rituals of daily living."

The design world has noticed the firm's talent. In 2009, it won the Elle Decoration Spain's Young Talent of the Year and was featured in Wallpaper* magazine's Graduate Directory 2009 as outstanding recent graduates of design.

It also received a warm welcome at home. In 2010, it won the President's Design Award for its Black Forest table, and produced by French furniture label Ligne Roset.

It teamed up with home-grown company Scanteak to design Prologue, a range of teak furniture. It has also done the interiors of Burger King Garden Grill in Goldhill Plaza as part of a pilot design project for the fast-food chain.

This year, in particular, it has had its name in lights numerous times. Most notably, it was chosen as Singapore's representative at the Maison&Objet Rising Asian Talents Award in March; and it turned ceramic exhaust filters into scent diffusers for an exhibition at Milan Design Week.

Ms Chua says Outofstock looks to design products that work in everyday situations. "We are not so much interested in the fame big brands bring but their audiences. The feedback from design managers and royalties reports tell us if what we are creating fits the target audience and how their lifestyles are evolving."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Bases around the world'. Print Edition | Subscribe