A Space for Remarkable Talents
In a repurposed warehouse factory is where PORT commune is located, established back in 2014 by an architecture collective called PORT25. The capitalisation of the four letters represents an acronym that stands for People of Remarkable Talent, and with a space so minimally designed and decorated, it is intended for a multitude of events as the space is meant to be a convergence spot for creatives of all facets, such as design, architecture, art, and more, to interact and engage in thoughtful discussions that stimulate action and growth in the creative community.
The industrial and modern design of the space has served as an adaptable platform for various kinds of events and activities. Past events include a fashion showcase by d.d collective, exhibitions by artist Nicholas Choong, the holding of Framing the Common exhibition in conjunction with Venice Biennale of Architecture, and the reoccurring No Lights, No Lycra event, which encourages people to exercise freeform dance in the dark. Additionally, PORT commune looks to expand its functions to holding creative workshops, a coffee bar, and a design museum, as the people behind the space strive to contribute their efforts in cultivating a more vibrant and prosperous creative culture.
PORT commune is located at No.3, Jalan 51/201, Seksyen 51, 46050 Petaling Jaya.
O: 9.30pm – 6.30pm (Monday – Friday)
T: 03 7781 2228
Tan Tek Tsien, Koh Nyapshin, Chua Yu Jeen, Too Kean Kong
A Cluster of Visionary Creatives
These four men are the principal partners of architectural and interior design firm PORT25, whom founded PORT commune. To learn more about PORT commune, JUICE spoke to one of the owners, Nyapshin, as he explained the space’s purpose to foster a stronger creative culture, its various functions, and the challenges of running a business based on engaging the right people, be it for partnership and collaboration or for purposeful exchange of innovative ideas and thoughts.
How did a group of architects and interior designers come to create this convergence space for creative likeminded people? What was the impetus?
This falls back to our years of practice since ’05 as an architect and design consultant [when] we worked very closely with multi-disciplinary creative people. And we always have a dream/vision to be able to create a space that all creative individuals from multi-disciplinary fields can work really closely within the vicinity.
The space is bare and minimal, so it can be easily adapted to accommodate any sort of events that are held there. Is there any design features or functions that make the space unique?
The uniqueness of the space is all about simplicity and functionality, we want to create a space that is honest, that will inspire and engage the user, which is why we adapt/refurbish and almost preserve this very rare and specific post-war warehouse to its original state.
How much of a change was done to repurpose the former warehouse factory?
Practically, we had removed the entire internal space of the three adjoining block of the existing warehouse, which is the admin front office, the warehouse old wing, and the warehouse new extension.
Given that PORT commune has held a range of events – from art exhibitions to an upcoming dance event – is there a certain theme or criterion that you guys look for when determining to hold which events?
Our focus is to encourage and promote the local creative industry, and we strongly believe the purpose of this space goes beyond just an event space. This is a place that the creative industry and the public can engage in discourses, provoking creative curiosity and knowledge among the public. It is also for individuals and corporates looking for an alternative working space. Basically, we are open to any kinds of events, as long as they are creative and the people behind it have the passion and talent to inspire. The space has many functions, as an event space, gallery space, co-working space, and now a dancing space… There will be creative workshops, a coffee bar, and a design museum in the pipeline, catered to the growth of the creative industry here.
What would you say are some of the struggles since founding PORT commune?
It is about connecting the right people. We are very particular when it comes to choosing the right business partners and collaborators. Sometimes it is hard to get hold of people whom we know can greatly contribute to the creative industry. We also have trouble getting funds to support the creative community, and I guess, exposure is another thing as well.
PORT commune was established in August ‘14 but it only started operations in July last year. Why was there a gap?
PORT commune was initially a closed group of individual creatives working in the repurposed old warehouse. Since August ‘14, we had gotten quite a lot of positive feedback/compliments and demand from friends/clients/business associates, saying that it will be great if our place can be used by the public.
When you guys engage a person, a company or an organisation for an event at PORT commune, is the process a collaborative one?
Yes, we always believe in a collaborative culture. We are very process driven and we would like to be involved, either directly or indirectly, in most if not all the events that we host. It is almost like organising or having a brainstorming exercise for each event. And we treasure and enjoy the interaction that we have with our clients, creating a connection that is important if we were to collaborate on current or future projects.
There are a number of well-designed event spaces around town, what sets PORT commune apart from the rest?
PORT commune is a platform to connect the passionate creatives with the public. It is more design-centric, I suppose. We are moving in the direction of being a creative hub, and hopefully in the future, there will be events that range from art to architecture being held in the same space at the same time. We want to create that crossover of interest, e.g. artists can be exposed to architectural concepts, and architects can be exposed to art forms.