Singapore Design Week 2016

Mr Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director, DesignSingapore Council Board

International and local design professionals were treated to more than 100 design events and programs at the third Singapore Design Week, 2016. With Singapore only 7 hours away it’s a perfect and logical opportunity to gain inspiration and to keep up-to-date with what is happening in our region.

The program included interactive installations, trade shows, exhibitions, craft workshops, networking events and discussion sessions.

Mr Masaaki Kani presenting at the Innovation by Design Conference

Mr Masaaki Kani presenting at the Innovation by Design Conference

Jeffrey Ho, Executive Director, DesignSingapore Council Board, said SDW was about giving local and international design communities, businesses, students and the general public an opportunity to meet, collaborate and speak about design, and, crucially, a space to consider the impact of design on everyday life.

“We hope to develop SDW into a must-attend design event in Asia.  SDW continues to give our local designers and businesses a dynamic arena to meet…we also want to bring design to the general public so they can understand just how large a role design plays in their lives today,” said Mr Ho.

As last year, the program was diverse, with something for everyone including established businesses, curious students, fledgling start-ups and amateur design enthusiasts.

A standout event was the Innovation by Design conference, a creative symposium with international design leaders sharing their personal design and innovation journeys and discussing the role that design-led innovation plays in driving the economy and business.

Mr Jaime Hayon presenting at the Innovation by Design Conference

Mr Jaime Hayon presenting at the Innovation by Design Conference

The conference was a great opportunity to hear from those at the very top of their game.  Keynote speakers included the Spanish designer Jaime Hayon, founder of Hayon Studio, and Masaaki Kanai, Chairman and Representative Director of Ryohin Keikaku Co. Ltd  – parent company of Japanese manufacturer and retailer MUJI.

The President’s Design Award celebrated a decade of design excellence with a multimedia exhibition at the National Design Centre.

Design and Make Fair at the National Design Centre

Design and Make Fair at the National Design Centre

The Design and Make Fair at the National Design Centre was a hands-on platform for the public to design and create their own products using craft and traditional materials.  Workshops included ceramic doll making, soap-crafting, glass-painting and jewellery making.  Visitors also had the opportunity to buy products from Singapore-based small business and entrepreneurs.

Urban Ventures brought designers, artists and visitors together in a unique place making project – working to transform the Keong Saik road into an art carnival which reinterpreted street elements into a live gallery space.

The popular SingaPlural  event returned for a fifth year.  Under the banner of ‘Senses – the Art and Science of Experiences’, it celebrated the best elements from across the design spectrum – advertising, architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, interior design, furniture and graphic and fashion design – with a collection of immersive and interactive installations, talks, exhibitions and workshops.

Design Trails bus

Design Trails bus

Design Trails returned under the theme of ‘Thoughtful Design’, giving visitors the opportunity to hop on a bus and explore the lesser known nooks and crannies of the design scene in the Jalan Besar/Geylang and Joo Chiat neighbourhoods.

MAISON&OBJET ASIA, the Paris-based interior and lifestyle trends show, returned, featuring an expanded selection of high-end interior design concepts and solutions to inspire architects, interior designers, property developers, hoteliers and restaurateurs.

Hecker Guthrie, a leading Melbourne-based interior design consultancy, gave a keynote presentation at MAISON&OBJET, expanding on the idea of the ‘authentic considered experience’ in the interior design process.

The International Furniture Fair returned, showcasing a range of furniture, accessories, interiors and fittings.

Alongside the larger set piece events, there were some innovative fringe events.

Participants at the Jewellery Making Workshop

Participants at the Jewellery Making Workshop

Workshops such as 3D Printing 101 and User Experience and Design Thinking introduced the essential elements of the design process to beginners.  Fast and FuriousPrototyping demonstrated how to quickly create a prototype using 3D pens, Dremel and Polymorph materials.

Deconstructing Book Design explored the conceptual design framework of a book including paper material and font choices.  Thoughts from authors, designers, publishers, booksellers and readers were included to give a holistic picture of the process.

The Play of Brilliants, an interactive digital light installation with a 3D curved ceiling created by a number of suspended crystal balls, gave a constantly-animated display of sparkles, reflections and shadows.

President’s Design Award 10th Anniversary Exhibition at the National Design Centre

President’s Design Award 10th Anniversary Exhibition at the National Design Centre

Portfolio Slam was a golden opportunity for up-and-coming designers to strut their stuff in front of leading designers from global design and strategy firm frog’s APAC studios to compete for employment and internship opportunities.  Each designer had just 10 minutes to impress the panel with their design skill, eye for detail, passion, and vision for the future.

In Slow Design: Significance and Impact in the Next Decade, artisan leather designers 72 Smalldive explored the concept of ‘shokunin’ – social consciousness and obligation to work for the general welfare of the people – in fashion accessories production.

The Kohler Design Forum, in conjunction with Sleeper Magazine, discussed sustainability in hotel architecture and design.  Designers Bill Bensley, Duangrit Bunnag and Kohler’s Mark Bickerstaffe considered how to deliver sustainability as standard in hospitality, in everything from landscaping to interiors.

There is a lot to like about SDW.  The city-state, which recently became part of the UNESCO Creative Cities network, takes design seriously and is keen to burnish its credentials.

With a bright, engaged and entrepreneurial design community, a thoughtful program, and strong investment from the DesignSingapore Council, its future looks assured.

Singapore is only an eight hour flight from Sydney and 2017’s program is likely to be another strong one.  Australian designers should consider visiting – it would be the perfect opportunity for inspiration, discovery, networking and learning.