FAR EAST PLAZA TEE BY TROPICAL FUTURES INSTITUTE

FAR EAST PLAZA TEE BY TROPICAL FUTURES INSTITUTE

$55.00

These two t-shirts, from Far East Plaza in 2016 and the subsequent design from Golden Mile Complex in 2018, represent an ongoing dialogue I have with Singapore as my birthplace and home. As a teenager, I used to hang out at Far East Plaza for hours on end, visiting all the different select shops across the entire mall. This formed a core set of memories and sparked my interest in design, streetwear, art, and culture in general. After the first run of these t-shirts, I realized that many other people shared this core memory of spending time in Far East Plaza, each with their own experiences of stores, cafes, and stalls. This building embeds countless memories, all networked through different moments in time. In a weirdly comforting way, this t-shirt helps tap into these nostalgic memories.

For Golden Mile Complex, and the continuation of exploring spaces through these t-shirt artifacts, the inspiration beyond memories and love for these buildings came from two references. One is Royston Tan's film "Old Places," which gives me goosebumps and makes me a little emotional as I type this, and the other is a paper titled "Heritage as a Tourism Commodity: Traversing The Tourist-Local Divide" by TC Chang for the Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography.

The shirt and in many ways the two references mentioned above is a response to the end block and a moment in time when many older buildings were being torn down; buildings that weren't given a chance to become heritage buildings in their own right. Buildings were denied the chance for adaptive reuse, and networked memories were erased from these places. The shirt also serves as an exploration of a type of master plan modernism and metabolist architecture design futures that have unfolded and were supposed to unfold along the stretch of Beach Road. However, the grand utopic plans, much like NEOM in Saudi Arabia, never manifested as intended. Instead, they've created their own paths towards the 'future.' Also, remnants of a type of spatial affluence where the gross floor area of developments was not maximized suggest a certain economic and political rationale that influenced the type of design being developed.

–Tropical Futures Institute

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