Can the weaving loom only make one shape? Asks DesignSingapore Scholar Tiffany Loy at DesignArt Tokyo

Mar 04, 2020

Last October, DesignSingapore scholar Tiffany Loy as well as designers from Studio Juju, Hans Tan and Gabriel Tan Studio were supported by the DesignSingapore Council to have their works showcased at DesignArt Tokyo’s main event, the “1% of Art” exhibition, organised by Design Pier, an official partner of DesignArt Tokyo. DesignArt Tokyo is the leading trade platform for design in Japan which had over 200,000 visitors in its previous edition.

Here’s a brief look at Tiffany’s work at DesignArt Tokyo, and what she plans to do next. Tiffany is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Textiles at the Royal College of Art.


Tiffany displayed her work “Expanding Rectangles” at DesignArt Toyko. Photo: Tiffany Loy


At DesignArt Tokyo, Tiffany, a textile weaver and artist, showcased her work “Expanding Rectangles”. At the event opening, she interacted with guests where she shared her story behind her work.

When asked to describe the genesis of her work, Tiffany explained: “Expanding Rectangles is about using the time-honoured hand-weaving loom in an experimental way: The rectangle is the only shape a weaving loom can produce. Is this a restriction, or a starting point for unlimited expansion?

“If a hand-woven rectangle can be expanded to become a tube, how will this three-dimensional form relate back to the physical body of the weaver?”

Through “Expanding Rectangles”, Tiffany aimed to ask if the analog weaving loom was still relevant in today’s world of automated industrial looms. For her, the hand-operated nature of the process allows makers to manipulate the yarn to a greater degree – to almost “sculpt” the fabric into a three-dimensional form.

Tiffany’s booth explaining her textile explorations. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo


Tiffany, who chose to display her work from a high ceiling in the exhibition space, explained that “the orientation of the pieces is ambiguous, just as the way the pure form of the rectangle can represent countless different things.”

Tiffany’s piece was hung from the high ceiling to convey a sense of ambiguity. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo


DesignArt Tokyo is a city-wide series of art and design related exhibitions and events, that typically sees many high-profile attendees. Even Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike came to officially open the festivities at the event’s hub, the World Kita-Aoyama Building, where the 1% of Art exhibition was held.

A big crowd at the opening reception of 1% of Art, the main exhibition at DesignArt Tokyo


It was Tiffany’s maiden outing at DesignArt Tokyo where, in addition to profiling her work, she got to establish new contacts, meet trade professionals, and deepen the relationships she built with contacts she met when she was at Milan Design Week 2019. She received positive responses to her work and learned many things from working with the Japanese crew to install her work in the space.

Following Tokyo, the DesignSingapore Council will be supporting Tiffany and designer Sean Gwee, who is also studying in the UK, to show their work at London Craft Week in May 2020.

Tiffany is collaborating with Gainsborough Weaving to develop site-specific silk sculptures that highlight the beauty of the inherent layering and three-dimensionality of jacquard weaving. By subtly balancing the tension within the fabric, Tiffany will construct a silk that subverts the expectations of fluidity we have come to expect in the material.

Titled “The Weaverly Way”, the installation is co-curated with Sean, an architecturally-trained performance designer, who will be presenting a text-driven mixed media response to the sculptures.


Curious about what the other Singapore-based designers at DesignArt Tokyo showcased? Here are some photos from the event:

‘Friends’ Coat Stand, by Studio Juju. ‘Friends’ coat stand is a union of curves, forming a presence of three embracing friends. Friends is a sculptural coat stand for coats, hats, scarves or umbrella. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo.



Sarong Party’ series by Hans Tan. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo. This series of work transforms out-dated porcelain vessels sourced from old shops and thrift stores in Singapore. The pattern is appropriated from the Singapore Airlines sarong kebaya batik, which represents the pinnacle of Asian hospitality. (Source: Hans Tan).



‘The Charred Vases’, from the Origin collection by Gabriel Tan. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo. Five unique forms made in the dying Portuguese art of Barro Preto. Buried and fired in an underground pit called a Soenga, this process of smothering the ceramic removes oxygen and results in a non-homogenous texture of black, grey and earth tones. (Source: Origin website).



1% of Art Exhibition, DesignArt Tokyo. Photo: DesignArt Tokyo.



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