National Day 2019: A Singapore special edition Casio G-Shock designed by ‘Sticker Lady’ Sam Lo
We Are Singapore
Whether you're staying home to watch the parade or skipping town on a long weekend getaway, there's no right or wrong way to celebrate our nation's birthday. But for Singaporean artist Sam Lo, National Day has an extra special meaning this year.
Imprinted with her latest graphic motif which is inspired by Peranakan tiles, this timeless classic model GX-56BB in black or any colour of the rainbow is a watch many of us grew up with. Now it's been given Sam Lo's signature touch and as fellow Singaporeans we cannot be more proud.
Lo's signature style has always been to put a fresh spin on a Singaporean symbol, or to shed new perspective on something quintessentially Singaporean. The ever-present five stars on our nation's flag, for instance, has been rearranged in a single row on the strap. Lo explains this is a nod to our perpetual obsession with being the best in anything and everything, hence the five-star rating. Tongue firmly in cheek, of course.
Buro. Singapore talks to the homegrown artist about Casio, collaborations, and what makes us Singaporean.
Everyone grew up with Casio. What was your own journey with the brand like?
The first watch I ever had and saved money for was a G-Shock. I always love the design, it's very edgy, very bold, goes with everything I wore. The best part is it's so tough, you can drop it and it stays intact. That really made sense to me back then, as I've always been quite practical in a sense. Now, it gets even better because G-Shock has worked with so many artists and creatives, so it made me appreciate and love the brand even more.
Why did you come up with this design?
I think about the new values that shape us today. We see culture is always evolving because ideas are always evolving. We're always trying to stay relevant, right? In this pursuit of excellence, we adopt a new set of values and different influences affect the way we live. That became the next part of the idea. There are five different patterns on the strap inspired by tiles because when we think about a visual language of culture we think about tiles. Tiles document a time. I wanted to take that concept and marry it with modern elements to show that this culture is constantly evolving.
What's uniquely Singaporean about this watch?
The first pattern shows surveillance and a smart nation, that's why there's a camera lens and all these different things around it. There is also a comment on power because when we think of Singapore and how it's a strict state, power comes to mind. You see heritage because even though we're a young country we are always looking back, thinking about where we came from. There is the dollar sign symbolising the economy. If there's one thing we're really known for, it's our economy. Then there's our auspicious beliefs. If anything, we're damn pantangright? So I started with these five values and went on from there.
Over the last few years there seems to be a profusion of global brands collaborating with Singaporean designers.
Since SG50 right?
Yeah! Now do you think this is a reflection of something really positive, or is it just another opportunity for companies to promote themselves?
With every trend or movement there'll always be two camps. It's like a double-edged sword sometimes. There'll always be opportunistic moments and those who genuinely want to express something. It's up to each individual to discern. I see both sides in that sense but what we can all see is a movement to embrace it [Singaporean design] even more. And that says something about us in general, that we're really starting to embrace the fact that we are [sic] damn Singaporean.
What's the gist of Singaporean art?
That's very hard to answer. And that was what got me started on the culture and identity thing. I've always wondered what makes something distinctively Singaporean. When I first started RCGNTN I was documenting Singaporean artists. Now eight to nine years later, we still don't really have an answer. And we shouldn't rush for an answer, because we're still learning and we're still young. We may not have a distinct look but what's the hurry? Maybe what we're already seeing now is in fact the Singaporean art. We negotiate our identity together with all the things we've been exposed to and learn. That is a unique point of view.
Singaporeans are a quirky bunch. What do you like best and least about being Singaporean?
I really like how adaptable we are, how resilient we are. But at the same time I don't understand some things, like, how do you get off the escalator and just stand there? [Laughs] Also maybe how we tend to avoid eye contact. We have a lot of quirks, many of which I find are funny, so I won't say I dislike them. Except the escalator thing.
Favourite National Day Song?
That song by Kit Chan called Home.
What are your plans for the upcoming National Day-Hari Raya Haji super long weekend?
I'm going to stay at home, chill, be with my cat, watch lots of TV, eat lots of food. Recalibrate. It's been a really crazy year so far. A really crazy journey. I want to re-centre, take the time to do all of those things, and watch the parade.
The Casio G-Shock X SKL0 special edition is limited to 300 pieces, retailing at $299, and available at all G-Shock boutiques (except IMM).