CREATIVE FORCES

Community champion

Farm's works include Lloyd's Inn, a 34-room boutique hotel in Orchard Road. Farm's (from far left) Tiah Nan Chyuan, Torrance Goh, Selwyn Low and Peter Sim.
Farm's works include Lloyd's Inn, a 34-room boutique hotel in Orchard Road. PHOTO: LLOYD'S INN
Farm's (from left) Tiah Nan Chyuan, Torrance Goh, Selwyn Low and Peter Sim.
Farm's (from left) Tiah Nan Chyuan, Torrance Goh, Selwyn Low and Peter Sim.PHOTO: FARM

A decade ago, Farm started not as a design studio, but as a registered society that ran events for creative people every few months. During these events, anyone from artists to fashion designers could come and talk about their work.

The event was called Rojak, attesting to the mixed bag of talents that spoke at these platforms.

Rojak, which was free, saw the founders opening up their homes to host the event in the early days. As they grew, they could draw crowds of up to 200 people.

One of the founders is architecturally trained Selwyn Low, 35. He says: "We like the idea of facilitation and collaboration and we felt it was important to share ideas.

"Since then, the design landscape has changed tremendously - there are many other platforms for people to have conversations."

Besides Mr Low, the firm is also helmed by architects Peter Sim, 40, and Tiah Nan Chyuan, 37, as well as Mr Torrance Goh, 37, who is architecturally trained. They are all married except Mr Goh.

Now, Farm has become one of the most prolific cross-disciplinary design studios in Singapore, designing anything from boutique hotels to mooncake-shaped paperweights.

It is also working on the National Gallery Singapore's above-ground art connector, which links the gallery to City Hall MRT station. It is slated to open at the end of November.

Its other work includes Lloyd's Inn, a 34-room boutique hotel in Orchard Road, and The Pool Shophouse, where it worked with KD Architects to remake a Geylang shophouse into a stylish abode with exposed brick walls and a monolithic pool indoors.

But it has kept up its community- focused efforts through the years. It has organised two editions of Stamp, a postbox public art competition, and Bench, where the public could submit its proposals to transform the wooden seating planks from the former National Stadium into new benches in 2012.

The low-key firm's ethos remains simple: Work hard and be nice to people.

Mr Low says: "We believe hard work is the prerequisite for any design exploration. We also believe that if you are happy and you enjoy what you do, you will naturally be good at it."

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