Joe: Well-being, Details, Rising Above & Design Thinking

April 13, 2020

At Aquí, we take our cuppa Joe very seriously. Rest assured, because the same applies when it comes to design. As avid coffee drinkers, we often ask, “How do you like your coffee?” And as a creative boutique, we like to ask, “How do you like your design?” Joe is a blog segment where we - #TeamAquí - share our design inspirations.


A Class on Well-being

Last week marked the fourth week of remote work for us (not that we are counting). Here in Singapore, we are currently going through a month-long COVID-19 ‘circuit breaker’ period, so the telecommuting journey continues for us. To be honest, the desire for social interaction had sparked many fascinating conversations between the team in our daily morning meetings and inspiration sessions. Topics usually range from easy food recipes to interesting webinars (or shows) to catch. With that being said, Maria shared with us in last week’s inspiration session about an online course that she had recently signed up for.

Last month, Business Insider published an article, “Yale’s most popular class ever is available for free online — and the topic is how to be happier in your daily life,” which has a title that none of us would skip pass. The class that earned the title was actually “Psychology and the Good Life” taught by Professor Laurie Santos in 2018. The aim of the class was to help students make sense of happiness and fulfilment with the use of both psychology and behavioural science. Eventually, with an overwhelming demand for it, Santos created The Science of Well-being, an online version of the class that is available to everyone on Coursera.

You have the option of auditing the class for free or getting a certification for $49.

This 10-week course might just be what Maria needed to get her through the stay-home days and maintain a positive spirit. “This will be, in a way, a change of scenery and I am so excited to get started,” she expressed.


Appreciating Details

Image by Elen Winata

“Elen Winata is one of the illustrators that made me go “oh my gosh, how is this possible” when I first saw her works,” Evelyn tells us as she got to the illustrator’s website.

The Singaporean designer has worked with notable brands including Airbnb, Starbucks, Coach, Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. "Her works are known for their clean lines and vibrant colours, which are held together by simple but provoking ideas,"Elen describes her style on her website. The level of detail in Elen’s works might not be obvious on first look but it is really what brings out her illustrations and gives it a very distinct look. The precision in her craft is reflected in how her ability to use colours and geometric shapes to make it come to life.

“It looks simple but it’s actually very complex. You can see that she puts in a lot of thought into the gradient to imitate the light and texture you see in reality,” Evelyn explains. For someone who values attention to detail and having a recognizable style, Evelyn’s admiration for Elen runs deep and also inspires her to draw again.


Rising Above It All

The berlin-based South Korean DJ Peggy Gou (pronounced as “goo”) is Yu Ting’s recent muse. Having listened to her single “Starry Night” while grooving to it at the same time, Yu Ting cannot help but take a liking to the DJ’s upbeat music style which she sometimes refers to as “K-House”. For Yu Ting, what was so inspiring about Gou was not just her music, but the way she has unapologetically carved a career for herself in a field where most females face scrutiny.

Before moving to Berlin to pursue her music career, Gou studied fashion in London and worked as an editor for Harper’s Bazaar Korea after. Initially, when she decided to do music full-time, her fashion background posed a challenge to her as the DJ’s musicality and knowledge were being predetermined instead of being recognized for what they were. Today, with a lot of hard work, grit and confidence, she is South Korea’s most prominent female DJ with her own record label Gudu Records and fashion label Kirin.

“The best revenge is just me doing well,” she says in an interview with Evening Standard.

There is a lot to learn in Peggy Gou’s ambitious and determined nature. It is not always easy to rise above it all and trust in what you are doing. It takes a lot of planning and experimentation.

“People think I’ve achieved quick success through luck, but I’ve always believed that you make your own luck,” Peggy Gou in an interview with Business of Fashion.


Design Thinking for a Sustainable Future

Kate Franklin and Caroline Till of FranklinTill by Zetteler

FranklinTill is not your typical design studio - they are a London-based futures research agency that focuses on sustainable design, material and colour innovation. Nella found out about them when she was studying at university. She also had with her their first book, Radical Matter, that invites the readers to go through case studies of material exploration to rethink the way it is being produced and consumed in a sustainable fashion.

We hope you can picture us on a video call squinting our eyes to see the beautifully-designed book that Nella had on her hands. She flipped through some of the pages and we eventually dove into a discussion, pondering about how they were making furniture out of dust.

“How much dust does it take to make that? And how do they collect dust?” asked Evelyn, as puzzled as we all are. It was not until that moment that we truly understood the essence of what FranklinTill is doing - to use design thinking as an anchor to challenge businesses to rethink their way of working and steer them toward being champions of a sustainable future.

“At the heart of everything we do is a shared belief that research and innovation in materials and design are integral to a more sustainable future,” FranklinTill explains on their website.


Joe: Conscious Living & Happy Places


Joe: Exploring Details, Motivation, Style & Familiarity

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