Grand Designs: Q&A with Florence Ng, Founder of Synergraphic, A Glass-Art Company

Florence Ng has grand designs

Synergraphic’s founder and artist, Florence Ng is a pioneer in shaping the Singapore’s glass making landscape.

Prior to entrepreneurship, she was working in insurance, freelance graphic design and illustrations. Fast forward 30 years later, and her company, Synergraphic Design has just celebrated its 30th anniversary with the opening of, Fluid, a special exhibition dedicated to the innovation and art of glass making.

Synergraphic Design specialises in providing concept, design, fabrication and installation of decorative, sculptural and structural glass art works for architectural and interior spaces.

Liyana spoke to Florence Ng to learn more about her pursuit of entrepreneurship, and her beautiful work.

Q: Tell us about the glass-art business, how long you’ve been doing it, and who your customers are?

A: My customers are designers (interior designers, furniture designers, etc.), architects, contractors, specifiers and decorators, developers, home owners – who are looking for materials for interiors, or features, installations and artworks. I work primarily with glass but also look for synergies with other materials such as wood, textiles, metal and acrylic to build it up into various forms for various applications.

We also create corporate gifts, lifestyle accessories and furniture items, and even jewellery in our earlier days.  I have been doing this for 30 years now.

 

Synergraphic Fluid Exhibition 30 August_2

 

Q: You had a hot glass studio in 2004, which shut down to high operating costs. What lesson/s did you learn from that experience?

A: Setting up a hot glass studio was the realisation of a dream. But at the time when we started the studio, we were supporting it entirely on our own – this means that all equipment, craftsmen, materials and utilities were borne by us. This was however not commercially viable as we were not making standard products but doing a lot of prototyping and experimentation, which was what I loved. It did lead to bringing in some business but it was simply not sustainable.

I would do it again though, just differently, such that it can be sustainable.

Much of our business comes from word-of-mouth. The business is also still very much dependent on personal selling and providing good customer service.

Q: In terms of sales and marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?

A: Much of our business comes from word-of-mouth. The business is also still very much dependent on personal selling and providing good customer service. When we are able to provide solutions to help realise their ideas and designs, they will always think of us for their projects even if it takes place years later.

 

2016-08-30 - Synergraphic - Fluid 2016_4

Q: What is your best-selling product/service?

A: Under the category of building materials, our LamiArt range (glass laminated with various interlayers) and Memoirs Collection (prints on glass) is very popular.

However very often, our clients come to us because they are looking for something special that is suited just for their projects. Till today we are known for our customisation and art/design services.

Our number one business challenge remains to be managing people and finding people who have similar passion for the unique work that we do, with the right set of skills.

Q: Tell us about your number 1 business challenge?

A: Our number one business challenge remains to be managing people and finding people who have similar passion for the unique work that we do, with the right set of skills.

This is more pressing as we seek to find the next generation of young project managers, designers and craftsmen for the business to continue for the next decades.

Moving forward, Sara, my daughter is increasing her role in the company. She is helping in transitioning the company into a modern and digital setting.

 

2016-08-30 - Synergraphic - Fluid 2016 - _CXP6255

Q: Where do you see the future of your business?

A: Keeping the business going for the future is tough. But we just have to keep adapting and changing with the times.

Our business will not be so project-based as what it is now. We will seek collaborations with unexpected people in unexpected places to produce unique designs in glass in synergy with other materials and art forms, distilled in furniture, lighting, lifestyle accessories and perhaps even in fashion, that people will come to appreciate and find that these works bring value to their lives and spaces.

 

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