Designer Thoughts

Celine Ng Wants To Elevate Singapore’s Design Scene Through Diversity

Fraction Design Studio’s founder shares the importance of design and creativity in today’s volatile world.

Celine Ng Wants To Elevate Singapore’s Design Scene Through Diversity
Celine Ng, founder of Fraction Design Studio

Growing up in Singapore’s heartland, I’ve only ever known one path. Study hard, get into a junior college (JC) and graduate with a good degree. I never questioned the existence of alternate paths or thought about what I actually wanted from life.

One thing I always knew, however, was my attraction to “pretty things”. I didn’t know what design was back then, but I loved beautifully designed stationery. In school, I would skip recess and use the pocket money to buy pens and erasers. As a young adult, I turned my attention to leather goods instead.

My visit to Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts’ open house in my final year at Hwa Chong JC turned my obsession with pretty things into my life’s work. I vividly remember a chair made of polymers and shaped like tree branches. It opened up many possibilities in my mind and got me thinking about how I can leverage different materials to create artefacts that will inspire action towards a more responsible and sustainable future.

In 2016, after graduation, I founded Fraction Design Studio to be a beacon of hope for designers. I believe that design can add value to lives and businesses; I’m glad that Fraction has pushed boundaries while elevating the local scene.

In the past six years, I’ve worked on some memorable projects, two of which come to mind. The first is The Furniture Centrum, commissioned by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council. I reimagined furniture retail in a post-pandemic world. The second is the rebranding of F&B concept Fat Bird. It taught me that designers play a key role in Singapore’s economy because strong visual identities play a part in attracting a business’s target demographics. Customers want to understand the relevance of a brand in their lives before they engage with it.

Today, Fraction is a known and respected design agency but I’m not resting on my laurels. I want to continue supporting local furniture and product businesses, acquire more market share and expand not only locally but regionally too. There are so many opportunities available in a post-pandemic world. It’s no longer about size, but nimbleness and flexibility. Creativity and business savvy can coexist.

Creativity requires us to be innovative when faced with challenges, while business is about creating value within a specific set of circumstances. At Fraction, we clarify the business objectives before we ideate.

Similarly, as the world becomes smaller and more interconnected, diversity becomes increasingly important. When men support women and vice versa, business becomes better since specific market nuances and needs are met more consistently. If we can encourage those in decision-making positions to value the perspectives and sensitivities of the other half of the population and be more inclusive at the structural level, I believe that design and other industries will be significantly elevated.

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