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Design for everyone, for everyday.

Meet Adib - Design Curator, Writer And Urban Spaces Activator (Yes, He's One Person!)

May 04 2014

Architecture-trained Adib is the type of guy who marries his interests with work, and ends up doing lots of things, mainly: curating design content for clients, creating platforms for creativity to flourish and using it to activate urban spaces, writing for design publications and occasionally designing spaces and brands.

Inviting a professional curator to well, curate, for us should be an easy task, so we invited Adib to pick out his favourite design objects on Naiise that keep him inspired and amazed. We also take the chance to find out what he really does on an average day! Read more about it here. 

Credit: Photo by Zakaria Zainal

1) Tell us more about yourself and what you really do?

I’m a 31 year old Singaporean who studied architecture and after practicing for a few years, decided to explore other ways of "doing" design. I have a deep interest in design, architecture, cities, place, community, family and food. Thankfully, as my personal and professional interests overlap, most of my time and work is a continued exploration of turning urban and domestic spaces into meaningful and memorable places for communities.

Professionally, I am the Director at Shophouse & Co, a creative agency that activates urban spaces through creative cultural projects with the community. Prior to this, I was a full-time lecturer at Temasek Polytechnic’s School of Design, served as the Festival Director of Archifest - Singapore’s annual festival of ideas for the city in 2012 and 2013, and was also co-founder of Fivefootway, an online journal about cities in Asia which is now archived.

I do A LOT of things but largely, I curate design content for clients, create platforms for creativity to flourish and use it to activate urban spaces, write for some design publications, teach design and occasionally design spaces and brands.

2) 3 Things you love and hate about your job?


1. I get to discover, meet and work with creative people from all disciplines on a daily basis.

2. I get to contribute back to the creative industry through the programmes and platforms that I help create and curate.

3. I get to create and write about things that I have a deep passion for.


I don’t hate anything about it as I feel they are all necessary challenges! We all prefer to have more generous timelines and budgets but that's not how the world works.

3) Describe an average day in your life, and how design relevant?

Wake up. Shower. Breakfast with the wife. Catch up on some news and travel to work. I always try to do my thinking and writing in the morning where it tends to be quieter. 

After 10am, it’s usually a jumble depending on which stage of a project we are at. It usually involves checking out links and things that have come onto my radar, brainstorming discussions about an upcoming project, plenty of meetings, emails and phone calls with the team and various partners to coordinate a project. I try very hard to protect my evenings for the family and other personal commitments though sometimes I have to continue writing and doing work that needs some quiet at night.

Design is embedded in everything I do. Either I am discovering new designs or helping to design and create the platform so that other people’s design can thrive. Being married to another designer also means that we often geek out over design ideas and issues at home and we try to have nicely designed things at home too!

4) Favorite designers and sources of inspiration?

I don't have a favorite designer but like many, I enjoy Scandinavian and Japanese design for their clean and honest design. Nature, human behaviour and emotions inspire me. 

I appreciate things that are simple, clear, humble yet sophisticated. What's also important to me is for a design to relate to human emotions - be it through the imperfections of being crafted by another person, a touch of humour to make me smile, or for it to grow and age with me. 

5) Thank you for curating this collection. How does it reflect your personal style?

There's a hint of my architectural soul in there, basics that I think every man should have, basics for a nice setting at the family home and all of it tied together with my design values that I mentioned earlier. In fact, I already own a few of the things that I've selected there!

6) Top 3 picks from the collection?

Plumen light bulb - Beautiful reinvention of a utilitarian product that puts a smile to my face. It was also one of the first few things that I bought when I moved to my first house so I have a sentimental appreciation for it. And, it's energy saving! 

Holstee Manifesto Poster - There've been a few times that I've returned to this poster to be inspired and reminded of how awesome life is. A classic.

Vintage Collection Dining Table - Every home needs a solid wooden table for the family to gather around. More than just a surface where food is served and sometimes made, a table is witness to the countless family conversations that will unfold. A well-made, solid table can last for a long time, growing old with the family, carrying scars and stains from a life well-lived. 

7) What can we look forward to from you in the year ahead?

Hopefully the creative platforms that I've been thinking about come to fruition, perhaps a couple of urban activation projects and more design-related writing. 



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