Pushing the boundaries: Project feature with Panelogue & Superstructure
The best way to predict the future is to design it, and with Emily Sim, that’s exactly what she intends to do. The founder of Panelogue and Superstructure is tackling (and championing) the issue of sustainability head-on with innovation and conscious design, fueled by a vision in which builders, designers and architects can create spaces where ecology and urbanisation can progress in parallel. We find out how she navigates the industry and the ever-changing design trends whilst being mindful of the impact on the environment.
Striking out on one’s own is never an easy feat. It takes consistent time and effort poured into making something from the ground up, and few can withstand the pressure and rejections that come with it. However, for Emily Sim, it is a challenge she takes on willingly each day with her two brands, Panelogue and Superstructure.
Founded in 2016 and 2017 respectively, the two work hand in hand to push the boundaries and go above and beyond the traditional ways of using materials and design processes. “We want to change the narrative and focus on coveted products from items of rarity to products that innovate instead, that fulfil a much-needed goal of sustainability,” Emily says, when asked about the vision for Panelogue.
Even as the topic of sustainability grows ever hotter over the years, many have yet to jump on the bandwagon in favour of cheaper and traditional alternatives for the convenience, and greenwashing is something that makes the goal of sustainability even harder to achieve. However, this does not deter Emily, as she is big on educating the industry that innovative, safe and sustainable materials are worth exploring.
Once a familiar face at many international design fairs and trade shows, Emily tries to keep abreast with times despite the travel restrictions brought upon by the pandemic. She mentions that she continues to keep in close contact with industry players and designers, and browses reading materials such as magazines and social media more often to ensure that her products continue to stay relevant and inspire designers and architects alike.
“Panelogue helps to bridge material trends and design by listening to the needs of the designers’ and projects and pairing it with the suitable material that matches in characteristics. Our materials that we have brought in recently help to influence designs by introducing new angles to designers.”
Introducing new angles to designers is something that can be seen evidently in the projects she takes up at Superstructure with her co-founder, Pan Yi Cheng. They continually try to pick up projects that they can glean learning points from, as the exploratory process is something that excites them the most.
One of the biggest challenges was to realise the crazy dreams that designers sometimes have, and fortunately, Emily and her team have always been ‘challengers’. They recently collaborated with the designers at Produce to construct an installation for the office of Lien Foundation. Situated on the top floor of a building along Orchard Road, they connected predetermined triangular panels together using bolt and nuts, forming a continuous timber structure reminiscent of an unfolding scroll. The result was a dynamic and aesthetic office space with clearly demarcated spaces and acoustic properties due to acoustic felt lining the inner surfaces of the structure.
Working with designers has also allowed Emily and her team a better insight on the feasibility and costing of the projects, which in turn improves the confidence her clients have towards a project.
In another recent project with KKI Sweets last year, the roof-like structure was designed parametrically in 3D space, allowing the designer to preview the depth from all angles. This allowed them to gauge the feasibility of the design beforehand before starting on the work.
“Complementing (our vision) with cutting-edge technology to tease out the materials’ potential and possibilities in design, is also another angle that we’d like to shine a light on in upcoming design trends.”
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and it is evident that Emily and her team have taken them in the direction that ensures the longevity of the industry in tandem with the longevity of the Earth and its resources.
Coming from a traditional family business of timber distribution, she never stops asking herself how she can make a positive change. Moving forward, she hopes that her brand and products continue to make progress in innovation and sustainability. “I hope we can see the shifting of demand from what is rare to what is innovative and forward thinking instead in the coming years.”
All images courtesy of Panelogue and Superstructure.
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4 October 2021
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