theseus chan interview
theseus chan interview theseus chan interview
nov 29, 2007

theseus chan interview

theseus chanimage © designboom


we met theseus chan at his studio in singapore,on november 29th, 2007.

what is the best moment of the day?it’s when I have a chance to play my guitar in the morning.

what kind of music do you listen to?I like delta blues, so I play a lot of that, I like that.


WORK office in singaporeimages © designboom


do you listen to the radio?internet radio, all the time, mostly.

what books do you have on your bedside table?guitar catalogues, guitar books, amplifier books.


WERK no. 15, autumn/winter 2007/08,‘under the influence’


do you read design, art or architecture magazines?not really. I don’t read them, but I flip through them ifthey are interesting.

where do you get your news from?google.


WERK no. 15, autumn/winter 2007/08,‘under the influence’ – a view inside the magazine


I guess that you notice how women dress,do you have any preferences?well, I think woman shouldn’t dress predictably.I think they should express their intellect more as opposedto showing more flesh maybe.

what type of clothes do you avoid wearing?yeah, I avoid trendy clothes.


left: WERK no. 14, spring/summer 2007,‘3 cap’ is the meeting of three creative minds– clang, yasushi fujimoto and theseus chan.right: WERK no. 14, spring/summer 2007,‘3 cap’ – a vuew inside the magazine


do you have any pets?no.

when you were a child did you always want to becomea designer?it wasn’t apparent, but it occurred to me as I grew olderthat I have a natural tendency to be able to visualize and todraw. so it came to me later, but I started drawing at avery young age like 4 or 5 years old.I can perceive spatial perspective quite clearly in my head,so it’s natural.


WERK no. 14, spring/summer 2007,‘3 cap’ – a vuew inside the magazine


do you discuss your work with other designers?no, but we do discuss with clients.

where do you work on your projects?the work is with me all the time so it’s more in my head,how I work, and putting them together is more mechanicalwork basically. but I think a lot of thinking goes through allthe time and everywhere.


WERK no. 13, spring/summer 2006,‘jan de cock’ – photographed by kirby koh at tate modern, london.a laborious die-cut technique was employed to echo the complexityof belgian artist de cock’s body of work.

could you describe your style as a good friendof yours might?controversial and unique.when we put unlikely things together,the strange can be beautiful.

what are some of the main characteristics ofyour current work?(with the latest issue of ‘werk’ magazine) I think what Iwanted to do was to let things happen organically.I didn’t want to have too much control because I thinkthe theme of the issue is called ‘under the influence’.so maybe I thought it’s nice to not have too much control;let it happen naturally because we are also workingwith 11 of some of the world’s best I think the idea was to let go and not have too muchinterference. I think that was a new way of working.

could you describe an evolution in your work?in my work I wanted to connect them somehow,like I said I wanted to have the concept of being able toevolve organically, one leading to there is a lot of overlapping in the work.maybe because of encounters or because of introductionsto people work gets somehow overlapped all the those overlaps also go to personal work and clientwork as well.


which of your projects have given you the mostsatisfaction?‘work’ is appreciated and does not have too muchunnecessary interference. I think clients that allowyou or they trust you to give you freedom to createsomething good for them. you know they accept theway you think, they see your perspective.I think those are the most satisfying sort of projects.

are there any artists, designers or architects thathave influenced you or that you particularlyappreciate the work of?I thought of it many times – I appreciate maybe not an architect,but a fashion designer. I would say she is an extremelygood designer: rei kawakubo, from comme des garçonsin tokyo. I totally admire her for her creativity, for her strengthand spirit.

WERK no. 13, spring/summer 2006,‘jan de cock’ – photographed by kirby koh at tate modern, london.a laborious die-cut technique was employed to echo the complexityof belgian artist de cock’s body of work.


WERK no. 13, spring/summer 2006,‘jan de cock’


WERK no. 13, spring/summer 2006,‘jan de cock’ – a view inside the magazine

who would you like to design something for?maybe for a guitar company like fender of gibson…


left: WERK no. 03, spring/summer 2001,‘repetition’.the concept allows total independence to create,solely based on our emotions, feelings and WERK no. 01, spring/summer 2000,‘how to be sexy without showing everuything’.every issue of WERK magazine starts from where the previous issue ends.right: guerrillazine, autumn/winter 2004/05the first edition of the ‘unofficial’ publication of the comme des garconsguerrilla stores global network, featuring comme des garçons guerrillastores in berlin, barcelona and singapore.


do you have any advice for the young?not to be afraid to be themselves, to be independent individual thinkers.I would encourage young people to persevere,to push on even though they sometimes feel maybediscouraged or they feel it’s really difficult.they must be strong.if they keep on doing it they will eventually realize theirdreams or their objectives or their goals.the future is really theirs.


what is ethics in design?we do a way we probably can not be sincere, but we wantto be honest. we want to be dependable, we want tobe trustworthy.if we make a mistake, mostly we try and make up for it,we try to rectify it and get over terms of financial as well we are a transparent andhonest company. we are not afraid to admit that there arethings that we can’t do or won’t that way we sleep better.


the future will be great.of course we would need to resolve a few issues ofhumanity and of those things, in reference to my ‘work’,is that I’m afraid of produce bad things is probably my biggest concern.


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