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CHARMAINE CHEN There can’t be a better name for this industrial design-trained, 30-year-old’s company. Started in 2014, Old World Charm specialises in sign painting the traditional way. First she sketches (technology has helped ease this process and she’d be silly not to use it, she admits), then transfers the design onto its destined surface, before painting or applying gold-leaf onto every stroke by hand. The latter process is particularly delicate since she’s working with pure gold that’s been hammered into thin slivers. Depending on the base material, intricacy of the work and even weather, a sign can take as long as months for her to complete. “(Different) layers, textures and the beauty of imperfection are all elements I relish to establish depth and character,” she says of her MO, which has resulted in elegant yet quirky signage, murals and windows that look as if they’re from decades past. The digital age can be “a tad monotonous” she says, and her craft is her way of “stirring up nostalgia and reminding people that old is gold”. Evidently, many creatives agree – clients have included vaunted sneaker artist Mark Ong of SBTG and, as recent as last October, branding agency Goodstuph and The Substation.

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