With over 1.7 million followers and 30 million likes on TikTok at the time of writing, the architect Cliff Tan is the name and face behind @dearmodern. His claim to fame comes from his easily digestible videos that bridge the realms of feng shui and design.
Tan’s interest in both feng shui and architecture take a leaf from his family trade; his grandfather was a feng shui master, while his parents sold drafting equipment used by architects and engineers.
“I've always been interested in architecture, buildings and feng shui from a young age,” he recalls. “I was always looking at buildings and was intrigued by all the corners and angles, which I thought was very dynamic, and this then translated to the chi and the energy of the building.”
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Having graduated from the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, the trained architect has more than 15 years of experience in the field.
Tan, who was born in Singapore and currently based in London, cut his teeth at several architectural firms including British design and architecture firm Heatherwick Studio, where he worked on several Singapore projects like the The Hive at the Nanyang Technological University as well as the Eden condominium.
In 2016, he established his own practice, seeking to offer clients a “way to seek the advice of an architect from anywhere in the world virtually”.
@dearmodern #foryoupage #fyp #fengshui #interiordesign #bedplacement #bedroom ♬ She Share Story (for Vlog) - 山口夕依
Tan stumbled upon TikTok last year during a two-week quarantine stint in a Singapore hotel. “I was addicted to TikTok as it was really entertaining, and I wanted to contribute to the platform,” he recalls animatedly, in the same friendly and earnest manner that has earned him his large following. “Architecture was a bit too dry and technical to talk about, so I decided to make a very simple and easy-to-digest video about feng shui. It became viral instantly [Editor’s note: The video that Tan speaks of currently has 7.6 million views] and that’s when I realised that there was a huge interest in this!”