Gabriel Tan

SINGAPORE (1982)
Gabriel Tan
Gabriel Tan grew up wanting to be an aircraft pilot, completely unaware of the design origins of products all around us. But while serving in the Singaporean Navy, something changed, and he began devouring everything he could find on industrial and furniture design. “It felt like a new world opened itself to me as I read about Charles and Ray Eames, Alvar Aalto, and other great designers,” he recalls. “I remember my bunkmates looking at me curiously, as though I’d been bitten by some art bug.”

Tan was soon studying industrial design formally at the National University of Singapore, and he attended his first Milan Furniture Fair in 2006. A year later, he returned to Milan, this time as an exhibitor with startup design collective Outofstock, a collaboration among Tan and three other designers based in Barcelona and Singapore. After Milan, the group succeeded in producing a steady stream of furniture for clients in France and Denmark and interior design work for clients in Singapore, including a prototype restaurant design for Burger King.

In 2019, Tan moved from Singapore to Porto, Portugal, with his wife and two young sons. These days, he runs his own firm, Gabriel Tan Design, with offices in both cities. In Porto, Tan formed a larger family of designers, artists, and creatives. Here, along with his wife, Cherie, he founded Origin Made, a brand dedicated to preserving and elevating craftsmanship by introducing nearly a dozen international designers to Portuguese craftspeople practicing centuries-old techniques. The result is a collaborative collection of sculptures, vessels, and functional furnishings that radiate handmade care while reflecting each designer’s individual style. They’re pieces that Tan and his family live with daily.
Gabriel Tan
Notes
I think that this human connection between products and people is deepened when you can see the process and when you know who made it, when there’s a face to the person who made your chair.
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