Abstract or Summary of Project

Hydroscape is a commentary on urban life and the need for little escapes through looking at water.


Process and More Details

The Project’s Essence

Through the project I hope to explore the calming psychological effect water has on the mind and bring attention to the water bodies found in everyday urban life. Like puddles after a heavy storm, rainwater accumulated on window ledges, sewage covers, waters in drains, collected in reservoirs, water trapped in gaps of the pavement tiles…  I wish to rediscover these forgotten water bodies through the placement of tiny figures to create miniature scenes of relaxation with water. These little water sanctuaries are metaphors of the phenomenon of urban dwellers traveling to the beach resorts as an escape from city life. The tiny figures are placed in contrast with their huge real-life surroundings, reflecting the simultaneously opposing feelings of being lost in the big city and being wholly absorbed in their water sanctuaries. These water sanctuaries will evaporate over time mirroring the holidays that urban dwellers take; they only last momentarily but is important as a break to rejuvenate the mind.

The Start

Beginning from the exploration of South East Asian communities that live on water, I realized that how these communities lived their lives were very different from Singapore urban life. From Kampong Ayer (water village) in Brunei to the kelongs dotted in the waters of the region, the residents live in harmony with water. In urban city-states like Singapore however, we slowly forgetting the importance of water and try to control it; much of the water we notice are sculpted into man-made features like ponds or fountains (or even into the water pipes flowing right to our taps). We haven’t forgotten the therapeutic nature of water though and every now and then, there is a longing to get away from the bustle of the urban city and travel to the relaxing beach resorts of Bali and Phuket. Thesesun.sand.sea holidays provides an escape for urban dwellers to be surrounded by water which induces a calming effect on the tired mind and body.

Title of the project: Hydroscape

The title hydroscape could be broken in to two parts: hydroand scape. hydro reflects the water element as well as the healing nature of water like in ‘hydro-therapy’. While scape is used to describe the scenes captured in nature and the idea of an ‘escape’ from the buzz of urban life.

Extending the project

The project encourages Singaporeans living fast-paced urban lives to create their own hydroscapes with the purchase of a kit containing tiny figures. By creating their own scenes in urban waters, the act of creating could become a therapy in itself, calming the mind in the process. The website allows for everyone to share their own hydroscapes with accompanying titles and captions. A dialogue of ideas is created where browsing other photos could spark more inspiration for new hydroscapes and so on, making this a self-sustaining project.


Overall Design Concept: I wanted to showcase the photographs as much as possible as that is the core of the project. Hence, I used a clean and minimalist style in the design to draw the focus to the photographs. Simple elements such as circles, squares and puddle forms are used in the design. The typeface selected is Minion Pro for its tails which end in bulbous forms that resemble water droplets. In the logo, these forms are further enlarged and emphasized in the ends of the ‘y’ and ‘d’.

The Hydroscape Photography book

The book features full bleed pages of the photos with titles. In each page spread, I juxtapose the zoom out image (on the left) with the zoom in image (on the right). The idea is for one to look first at the zoom in image before being able to discover the well-hidden figures in the zoom out images, like a game of surprise! The cover  has a die-cut puddle form revealing the behind page with the idea of looking into these water sanctuaries.

Virtual Book

Click on the above link to access.

Packaging of the Hydroscape Kit

In deciding on the form of the packaging, I drew inspiration from the tetra-pak we see often on supermarket shelves. These tetra-paks are usually used to contain liquids (which ties back in to the idea of water), yet are an invention of urban culture to contain water. The size of the kit is convenient for the user to carry around when taking photos outdoors. A cut-out window in the shape of a puddle allows the user to see the contents.

The Hydroscape Website

The website allows people to share their own hydroscape photos and also purchase the book and kit.


Posted on

March 27, 2015

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