top of page

Exploring The Structures Of Architect Pamela Tan's Mind

Pamela Tan Local Malaysian Architect Artist

Chances are you've probably seen one of Pamela's structures when you were out and about. From various locations overlooking the KL cityscape such as the Doom of Disappearance at Masjid Jamek Lookout Point to events such as Good Vibes Festival 2019 with her Projection: Kite, her creations are show-stopping builds of texture, lines and shapes that you'll find difficult to look away from. Below, we speak to artist-architect Pamela Tan who runs her architectural studio, Poh Sin Studio, on her inspirations behind her art structures and how curiosity definitely did not kill the cat but broaden her world of creativity.

When did your journey as a creative begin (both personally and professionally)?

Personally, it started during my studies when I was pursuing my Master's degree in Architecture in London in 2013. Professionally, it began the year after I left a local architecture practice in Malaysia, which was sometime around the end of 2017.

What is your life ethos?

Stay curious, be speculative, and always aim to surprise myself.

What are some of the things your artworks are constantly seeking to explore?

I like to explore narrative or certain subject/question that I find it intriguing. I also like to work at a range of scales, from product design to public installation. I believe in the collaborative nature between these disciplines and that it could contribute to one and another in practices and processes.

What was the most significant/impactful project for you thus far — why?

I think Eden is the most significant project because it is my very first public art installation that is both realised and spatially immersive.

163 Retail Park Pamela Tan Exhibition Art Structure Malaysia
Eden displayed at 163 Retail Park from November 2018 to May 2019. Photography by David Yeow, image courtesy of Poh Sin Studio.

How do you see the world around you?

I see the world as a giant complex living organism with many layers of invisible interconnection. Everything is connected!

What is your favourite and least favourite part of the creative process?

My favourite part would be the experimental phase of design. It's the phase of testing out my wildest ideas in the form of prototypes or other mediums. The result is often surprising. That's the beauty of the design process—you will never know the outcome unless you test it out! My least favourite part would be managing the logistics side of the work.

What type of artist do you wish to be, and what's your ultimate goal as a creative?

I aspire to be the kind of artist that does not limit to a specific field, medium or scale. I love exploring different avenues that are in line with my practice values.

In your opinion, what makes for good design? How do you strike a balance between form and functionality?

It's hard to say what is 'good design', it's a very subjective term. However, I am very drawn towards interesting designs and the ideas behind them. For instance, design that makes you contemplate/impose questions/dabbles with irony or humour, and the like. Some designers dabbled with 'Bad designs' in an amusing manner. Sarah Ross's 'Archisuit' where she creates wearable workarounds for 'Defensive Architecture' comes to mind. The ill fitting outfit is meant to be a comical response to the hostile public space design.

What’s your guilty pleasure(s)?

Collecting or shopping for random material samples for fun such as textile fabric, ceramic tile, stone sheet and more!

I see the world as a giant complex living organism with many layers of invisible interconnection. Everything is connected!

How would you describe your creative and artistic style? Do you feel much has changed?

I think in most of my projects, I prefer expressing forms and elements that reveal what was normally hidden or unnoticed. Sometimes it reveals movement and strength. Other times the linearity and simplicity of a singular line itself enable me to highlight and outline certain particular patterns or distinct networks of the subject and form.

Good Vibes Festival Malaysia Art Structure Pamela Tan Music
Projection: Kite for Good Vibes Festival 2019. Photography by David Yeow, image courtesy of Poh Sin Studio.

You mention on your website that you aim to "blur the boundaries between creative disciplines invoking ambiguity in [your] art". Can you share with us 3 tips on how other creatives can also find ways to inject a sense of mystery and wonderment in their own works?

1. Be speculative - pose 'what if' questions. 2. Find your narrative - this helps compose meanings, characters, and elements. 3. Be experimental - you'll never know if you never try! Always give your ideas a test.

Lastly, please shoutout 3 of your favourite local creative crushes and their IG handle!

- No-To-Scale @notoscale

- Marianne Tan @thinkannethink

- Anniketyni Madian @anniketyni_madian

bottom of page