Interior Design School of Design Singapore

Tan Meng Ying, Clare

When I was a little girl, dolls, tea party & dress up were never my interest at all despite having 2 elder sisters to play with. I loved toys that could allow me to build or to create new things such as wood blocks, train tracks & definitely not forgetting many of our childhood favourite, Logos. Unfortunately, it did not sustain an inquisitive, active little girl for a long time. Soon, the 2 year old me could be seen searching through every trash bin in the house, my favourite was the study rooms! Envelope’s transparency, scrap ribbons from presents, cute images from newspapers, boxes & so many more treasures could be found there!

As a little girl, I perceived these as toys, these “toys” I could never get bored of even after 20 years. These “toys” were limitless, it did not have a fixed way of building, unlike wood blocks or Logos. Soon I found myself addicted, it was a daily routine to search through the bins for treasures & hiding them in my secret box before my mum wakes up, clears the trash & catches me red-handed. There was so much I could be creative to use it for, I would create a paper bag out of Cereal boxes, made cards from the scraps, mini drawers from plastic bottles or even creating games through what I have collected! There are just tons of things I could do with these ordinary items around us, too much to be listed!

Till this day, I am still creating & have not gotten bored of it because every day is a different creation, there’s the beauty mandane, ordinary materials found in the trash bin which holds so many values in my eyes. I saw potential in these ordinary mandane items. The value possesses that is flexible & allows me to be creative to recreate so many versions of things which through the process has allowed me to understand the character of the materials better, what tape could stick better with paper versus plastic etc. Exploring & discovering new things through the process is something that could never become standard.


Reprocessing & Reimagining_The Bistro
Repurposing_The Exhibition
The Resurrection

Reprocessing & Reimagining_The Bistro

“Reprocessing” seeks to renew the idea of convenience by highlighting the habit of laziness via going through an experiential eating journey through a mystery of maze & dining alone to evoke one’s attention to details to show the beauty of materials in our daily surrounding & gain a fresh perspective of the daily items & the impact it can give. In addition, it aims to bring forth an awareness of the wide variety of pollution garbage contributes to & why we should reduce.

“Reimagining” seeks to investigate how we can do more to bring new life & purpose to daily items by inspiring families, even the young to creatively transform “useless, unwanted” products into something new, to evoke its true value & characteristics, intriguing its true aesthetic at home. In addition, it aims to bring forth an awareness of how we can do more to decrease the amount of garbage & be an impact on our Earth.

Repurposing_The Exhibition

“Repurposing” seeks to investigate breaking the habit of turning daily items into garbage by inspiring young designers to creatively relook on how materials can be resurrected through finding a new purpose for it by reusing & repurposing “useless, unwanted” products, to offer a different function entirely, to discover & understand more of the physical properties without changing its identity as what it is known for to keep a full recognition & trace of what the common ordinary “trash” is & can do. In addition, it aims to bring forth an awareness of the high amount of garbage we produce & how we can reuse & repurpose them instead.



The Resurrection

Materials are all around us in our everyday life, which subconsciously we perceive as familiar & ordinary. This results in the very existence of materials to be something that is often taken for granted but however, materials intrinsically carry profound depth & purpose.

This project proposes to explore on evoking a stronger sense & attention of daily materials to in turn help users see the value in daily items before they perceive it as garbage. It aims to push for creative re-looking on how materials can be resurrected via 3 different methods & processes: repurposing, reprocessing & reimaging.





"Risks" collage depicts exploration and curiousity to step out of comfort zones to experiment and to explore unknowns in order to discover something new. Greatness does not come from being safe. Exploration and experimenting are risks necessary to take to bring us to new perspective, discoveries and a new learning takeaway for the future.

All around us

"All around us" collage represents how materials are around us in our everyday life, which sometimes results in the very existence of materials to be something that is often unnoticed or taken for granted but however, materials intrinsically carry profound depth and purpose.

Cause and effect

If the land we live on is not a huge impact to us, how about the food we congest? The bright micro unknown pieces in the body of the fish represents our trash found in the ocean that becomes micro plastics and being eaten up by our sea creatures that our naked eyes cannot see. The plastic bag the fish is in not only emphasizes on our trash trapping sea creatures but also depicts the grocery we buy. Our trash not only affects the animals but the consequences are further passed down onto us, the cause of the problem. The cause and effect. It is a cycle.

Evoking senses

The atmosphere & the occupants of a space is crucial in bringing about a good spatial experience that evokes an emotional journey via one’s senses. "Evoking senses" collage represents the intangible value perceived by those who pay close attention to the materials around them that can evoke all five senses. To others, materials possess subtle, intrinsic qualities that immerse the individual in a sensory experience, doing well to avoid being explicitly noticed.


Daily ordinary materials are collected and combined to create a collage representing materiality.


The collage is made of disposable mask, snack packagings, cardboard boxes & old magazines. The green represents the greenery of our land & the blue, the ocean. The emphasis is put on the human that can be seen sweeping the trash. Many might be deceived that it reflects a responsible person keeping the place clean but what it truly reflects is how the trash we dispose is polluting our sea creatures, our animals, our green & our nature sometimes with or without our knowledge. Our trash pollutes our Earth, both the land & the ocean. Are we ignorant of our “cleaning”?