SINGAPORE - Designer Jessica Wong, 37, who is trained in architecture, is the co-founder and director of contemporary Asian furniture and homeware brand Scene Shang.
While on a design internship in Shanghai in 2007, she discovered a love of fine crafts that reflect Asian heritage and culture. In 2013, she started Scene Shang with former private banker Pamela Ting, also 37. The brand shuttered its flagship store in Beach Road and its boutique at Raffles Hotel this year, and recently opened a 6,000 sq ft showroom in the Tai Seng industrial area.
Ms Wong's heritage-inspired designs have garnered accolades - including a special commendation at the President's Design Award 2014 and a silver prize at the Singapore Creator Awards 2019. She also served as an adjunct lecturer for design at Singapore Polytechnic from 2011 to 2016.
"Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, I had to travel frequently to China and around the region for business.
But when travel restrictions kicked in, I found myself appreciating having a weekend routine in which time has slowed down a little.
My perfect weekend involves three aspects - a bit of time outdoors, time at home and, most importantly, quality time with friends, family and loved ones over shared activities such as home-cooked meals.
I love outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, kayaking and cycling, which means getting time away from the computer screen. This is very important for me as a designer, as it keeps my senses keen.
The pandemic has forced me to seek out beautiful places in Singapore, such as Thomson Nature Park, which, besides having majestic tropical trees, also has village ruins hidden in the woods.
I also enjoy spending time at home in Tanjong Katong, keeping it tidy while I burn some incense or diffuse my favourite Scene Shang essential oils.
The downtime allows me to potter about in the garden, wash my patio and manicure my plants.
Recently, I went to Pulau Ubin for a tour of the mangroves on a kayak. I have always heard one could do that, but have not tried it until a friend asked me to accompany her. It suddenly poured, so we had to wait for the rain to stop before continuing in our kayaks.
Our guide led us to a really beautiful spot in Pulau Ubin when the rain subsided. It has a small body of water surrounded by mangrove trees. There were only a few of us and the water was calm, as it was a standing tide, where there was no change in the tides or the volume of water.
The sun was soft and shaded by the clouds, and it was so quiet, you could hear birdsong and subtle sounds emitted by insects.
I felt blessed to be able to enjoy this moment of calm - literally 'after the storm' - and be healed by nature."