Dominique Cheng - Objects and the spaces they live in

Dom Cheng, Architect at Nonument ( - Toronto, Ontario.

What do you collect? Do you have more than one collection?

It’s a boy’s collection – everything from coins, stamps, vintage sports cards to miniature souvenir buildings and old diecast airplanes. I went through an oddball phase of collecting sand from different beaches around the world but that quickly lost steam.

How did your collection start? What is the first thing you acquired?

Most of the time a collection begins with a gift or an inheritance from someone else.

What is your most prized possession in your collection?

I love my 1957 Bob Cousy rookie card and my model of the Acropolis from the Monastiraki Flea Market (Athens) equally.

Was there a moment you realized it was actually a collection? Was this a conscious decision?

I think the moment that you begin to establish groups of things that have perceived value and meaning they qualify as collections.

How do you collect?

Trading with other collectors. Purchases from yard sales, antique/flea markets mostly and eBay occasionally.

Why do you collect?

There’s a thrill in both the chase and act of curating collections but it can be argued that it feeds my obsessive compulsive appetite for nice things.

Where do you house/store your objects?

Most are hidden away in storage bins and rarely see the light of day.

Do they serve a purpose? Are they functional or purely decorative?

More decorative than functional – like precious art you would display on a wall, only mine are in bins.

Do you think about your collection beyond acquisition?

I think about their provenance and historical significance. I think about how things were simply better made back then.

How has your relationship to your collection changed or shifted since Covid?

Covid has definitely reinvigorated my love of collecting in a profound way because there’s more time spent at home to ruminate on the things we own.

In general, how attached are you to these objects? If you lost everything, would you start your collection over again?

It varies. Objects that connect me to a particular person, moment or experience in my life are irreplaceable but generally I can live without most of it.