Let’s start by talking about your backstory. I’m curious how you originally got into concrete making
I started many things throughout my time as a designer, however, I never did see any of them through. Concrete Everything occurred at a time of my life that I felt the need to make things, which was something I have been throughout my growing up days. Living in a typical HDB flat, I was looking for materials I could interact with, being exposed to wood, steel in my schooling days made me realise how difficult it was to get access to these materials in Singapore. Searching for a material, I chanced upon cement when I noticed construction workers repaving the void deck. It was a material that surrounds us and best of all, didn’t seem to require any hardcore equipment. I conveniently took some home, watched online tutorials, halved a carton of milk and cast a concrete lamp for the very first time. And here we are today, 4 years since that very day.
Was there a certain point when you felt like it was something you could make a career out of?
Being a really practical person I never thought art was something I was capable of. Truth be told, I was never good at sketching, or having any natural artistic flair. Being married and having 2 kids, adds pressure to do the safe things. So for the longest time, Concrete Everything has been an after-hours hobby for me. It has been an interesting journey for me and my family, having to juggle the extremes of being an employee, father, husband and an entrepreneur. Having seen these facades of myself, I am starting to form a clearer identity and this experience have brought me to realise what I want in life with greater clarity.
So I never felt I was an artist ever, however being a designer, I was rooted to design theories and something that really caught my attention was the Japanese idea of beauty in transience and imperfections, Wabi Sabi. I won't bore you with the details but I am deeply influenced
Where did the moniker Concrete Everything come from?
I think Concrete is somewhat an underappreciated material. It's all around us yet no one notices it. Its capable of so much, but yet so little is explored. I thought the name of the company could highlight the material and at the same time, interest people to create everything out of concrete? Apart from that, I was also looking for a simple name that everyone can recall. I hope it does. haha
What was the first piece you ever made?
The first piece I ever made was a concrete lamp, created from a halved piece of a milk carton. Unfortunately, I snapped off the wire, so I'm not sure if it still works, the good thing, I still have it as a reminder of where we started.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
This is a complex question and can be answered on so many levels. If there could just be one, I hope I can help build the local community to experience and appreciate the art of craftsmanship. If there could be one more thing, is to enable others to pursue their dreams.
Favourite piece of furniture you own?
Haha, I'm more a practical person than a designer. So there are no pricey or fancy furniture around my home. However, having taken part of the furnishing in my home, my proudest piece would be my front gate for my unit. It’s a custom-made steel gate which I personally designed for, with my surname embedded in it.
What was the last piece you made for your own home?
Having to face so much concrete, I don’t usually design stuff for my home use. I do however design pieces for my workshops. The last piece I made was a name card holder.
What are you working on right this minute?
I am currently working on a few things, one of which is to combine resin with concrete.
Where do you go to escape from it all?
Depends on what I am escaping from. If you are referring to the things I hate the most (my corporate job), it is playing with concrete. It is highly fulfilling seeing through the things you create and its a world of difference. Aside from that, I don’t escape from anything, my only worry is I don’t give enough time to my family as I should. Which I constantly remind myself every day.
What advice would you give someone who’s just getting started?
There is absolutely no reason for you to procrastinate and everything always finds its way to come together. I've run Concrete Everything as a part-time gig for 4 years now, juggling a family and a day job, not that I'm any better but I love doing it. Find what you love and if you haven't found what it is, then at least start by checking off what you don't enjoy. Start somewhere.