Celebrating the creativity of our architects

Celebrating the creativity of our architects A napkin sketch exhibition by architects of SJ Group
Celebrating the creativity of our architects A napkin sketch exhibition by architects of SJ Group

At an event marking the first anniversary of the Surbana Jurong SEEDS movement, napkin sketches by architects were displayed. Mr. Chaly Mah, SJ Group Chairman (center) added his finishing touches to a joint butter paper sketch created by architectural leaders within the SJ group. Here he is holding it up with other leaders for the photoshoot.

SJ Group Leadership and Mr Mah holding up butter paper

The Surbana Jurong Group celebrated the first anniversary of the SEEDS movement in its architectural businesses on 1 March 2022, with Mr. Chaly Mah, Chairman of the Surbana Jurong Group, as the guest-of-honor. SEEDS represents Surbana Jurong Group’s goal to Enrich, Engage, Discover, and Share among the architects of SJ architecture, SJ Township, SAA, B+H, and Sino-Sun in 40 countries.

The SEEDS team also held an exhibition of over 150 napkin sketches at SJ Global Academy in Adam Road in Singapore. The sketches were collected from the group’s architects over several months. 

“It is a fun and engaging way to celebrate our architectural creativity, and sketching takes us away from our daily professional design work, even just for 5 minutes,” said Rick Yeo, Director Global Township, who had organised the exhibition of the napkin sketches as a leader in the SEEDS movement. “We had contributions from Architectural businesses and regional offices across the SJ Group, making the napkin sketch exhibition especially meaningful as a snapshot of our collective imagination and artistry as Architects.”

Sketching with children
Three of our architects also facilitated a sketching workshop for pupils from Canossaville Children & Community Services, with BEEP Lab, a social enterprise that provides design and architecture learning experiences for children. There was also an architects’ corner for the children to learn about the architect’s tools of the trade such as a 3D printer which produced a toy for each of the children to bring home.

SJ ACADEMY painting by Alfonso Paronda of SJ Architecture

(Above) Alfonso Vargas Paronda Jr, an architect from SJ Architecture, painted SJ Global Academy and gifted the children from Canossaville Children & Community Services with the painting at the event. (Below) The children got to learn how to use tools of the trade such as a 3D printer as well as sketching from a few architects.

Children from Canossaville Children   Community Services at the SEEDS 1st anniversary event

Alfonso Vargas Paronda Jr, an architect from SJ architecture, also painted SJ Global Academy and gifted Canossaville with his beautiful painting. “I thought sharing my arts might be one of the best gifts for the children as a remembrance,” he said. “For me, every child is an artist, so we should nurture and encourage their creativity.”

Alfonso is also a member of the Singapore Watercolour Society Each of the eight children also received prints of watercolour paintings he had done. Irvan Nurgraha and Timothy Tay from Surbana Jurong and Chetna Bhatia from B+H Architects, a member company of the Surbana Jurong Group, also volunteered to teach the children sketching.

The sketches will eventually be exhibited permanently at the upcoming Surbana Jurong Campus.

Highlights of the exhibition

Andrew Wee Napkin Sketches SJ 74 e1648439475720

By Andrew Wee, Senior Director, SJ architecture

“The sketch was a design study and visualization of a tropical resort. 

I used a dark blue felt pen instead of a black one because blue gives the images a more refreshing tone and lightness. The technique is closer to watercolor dry-brush as the ink bleeds into the napkin immediately when the pen’s tip touches the paper. I had a lot of fun drawing on the napkin, and it inspired me to delineate several images at one go!”

Check out Andrew’s art at

Napkin Sketches SAA Michael Leong 1

By Michael Leong, Deputy CEO, SAA Architects, and Leaders of Surbana Jurong Group’s SEEDS Movement

“This is a sketch of the section of the Pantheon. The Pantheon is one of the most inspiring buildings I’ve ever visited. Even though it was built almost 2,000 years ago, the ingenuity of the design continues to amaze. In fact, the oculus on the dome is a clever feature that makes this a very environmentally sustainable building!”

Napkin Sketches BH Sumandeep Singh

By Sumandeep Singh, Associate, B+H Architects in Hong Kong

“The building is a Concept Design for a hotel by a top design firm I had come across, and I sketched it out while researching for a design competition. To me, good design always starts a conversation. The building has a very interesting ‘dancing’ form inspired by the joyful dance of a butterfly. The two concave and convexly curved towers are playfully juxtaposed with an interesting slanting column holding up a part of the larger tower.”

Napkin Sketch SAA Marlon Cabunilas

By Marlon Cabunilas, Associate, SAA Architects

“This sketch is the famous Kaufmann’s House design by Frank Lloyd Wright “The Falling Water”.

It was inspired by the very idea of nature and architecture. In the same fashion, Falling Water was also built with nature as its central piece. Throughout history, Architecture was influenced by nature on how they were designed and constructed. Singapore is also a good example of how the city is famous for being a ‘Garden City State.'”

Adzmidth Hashim sketches e1648439332219

By Adzmidth Kamil Mohd Hashim, Executive Architectural Associate, SJ Malaysia

“This is a sketch of Gateway Towers, a 4-tower building with a Gross Floor Area of about 1 million sqm. It has been proposed for Dubai. Like a city on its own, the Gateway Towers project is a mixed development, separated by a man-made canal about 50m wide. Air rights permission allowed the towers to be connected via a floating mall and a lean curved top part connected to another tower, creating an arch, essentially the Gateway. The canal adds additional transport connectivity, while the pendant bubble lift car on the left allows users to experience the city scenery. There is also a multi-storey car parking to optimize the requirement at the basement.”

Rick drawing

By Rick Yeo, Director Global Township, Surbana Jurong Pte Ltd

“My napkin depicts all the skyscrapers that once held the title of the World’s Tallest Building. 

The sketch is actually done in a single continuous line that defines the silhouettes of each building, like a timeline of sorts. The timeline runs from the early New York ones like Chrysler & Empire State Building to the more recent household names of Petronas Towers and the current champ Burj Khalifa.”

Napkin Sketch SAA Jean Cheong

By Jean Cheong, Associate, SAA Architects

“Singapore has grown to be a global city because of its ability to create an urban space and infrastructure to complement each other. The hallmark of Singapore’s urban design is its ability to create a vertical cityscape, with buildings and expressways sprouting from the ground like trees from the soil. The futuristic skyline is a constant reminder of the city’s ambition and dynamism, synonymous with Surbana Jurong Group’s continuing metamorphosis at a rapid pace.”

Check out the video of the napkin sketch exhibition here

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