Colin Chen is the Creative Director at The General Company. Handcrafted or not, he just likes travelling. Doyenne.sg finds out more about the craftsman’s travel inspirations.
The world of craft is full of talented individuals capable of creating amazing works of art. As Creative Director at The General Company, Colin Chen connects talented craftsmen and designers with the public through more intimate settings like workshops, sharing sessions and profile interviews.
“They are a little misunderstood and misrepresented by the mainstream media right now,” explains Colin. “Typically, a retail setting is quite intimidating. So we help these creatives share their stories, interact with consumers and have a more personal understanding about the craft. This also enables better designs and creations in the future.”
Doyenne: Which are your top three Asian countries to visit for good design and craftsmanship?
Colin: Japan, Thailand (Bangkok), Taiwan.
D: Why do they have an edge over Singapore?
C: In general, these countries have a deeper appreciation for design because of their heritage in building and creating stuff. More importantly, they have a good ecosystem. Local communities readily help one another. Raw materials are available within their countries. The local domestic markets are also supportive of independently produced goods, which helps drive exports to international markets.
D: How often do you visit these countries then?
C: I can never get enough of them. I travel whenever the opportunity arises.
D: Where do you travel for creative inspirations?
C: All over Japan, Paris, and Iceland.
Japan never fails to surprise me. Their culture for perfection, hospitality and innovation is infectious.
Paris is always a good idea. You can just be yourself and no one else really cares. That’s the beauty. People are individualistic and not judgemental. Style oozes from whatever they do.
Iceland is a land of abundance. Despite limited resources and harsh conditions, I am amazed how people built their lives and flourished. It is my refuge from the rest of the world.
D: What do you look out for when you travel?
C: Typically, I plan to check out iconic destinations. In the last couple of years, Instagram has been really helpful in highlighting some amazing places to visit.
I also leave some time for random explorations – just walking around and exploring the local culture. I enjoy unique experiences associated with specific locations, cultures and heritages. Handcrafted or not, I just like travelling. I also think it is important to choose who you travel with.
D: What is your proudest moment at The General Company?
C: Every time I meet someone new and share what I do, they go “Oh yeah, I know The General Company”. I can’t imagine doing any other stuff really.