Thinking Beyond the Box

A cardboard box, a poly bag or a padded envelope – these generic pieces of packaging define the ubiquity of e-commerce today. Regardless which online retailer one patronises, it is probably impossible to tell the difference when the package arrives. While e-commerce boasts of designing all sorts of interactions, including predicting customers’ preferences and nudging more purchases, its delivery of an online purchase in real life remains unsophisticated and in need of better design.

➜ Read the full column in CUBES #96 (Jul/Aug/Sep 2019)

How Innovative Print Publishing Takes Creativity from Local to Global

Estonian indie publisher Lugemik on its last decade, and why it still takes forever to reply to emails 

When graphic designer Indrek Sirkel first conceived Lugemik, he planned to translate and publish important texts about design and art into Estonian. A decade on, his publishing initiative has become known for the opposite: translating art and design from the Baltic state and bringing it to the rest of the world.

The plan changed when a client of Sirkel, Mari Laanemets, wanted a catalog for a show she was curating but lacked the budget for a traditional publisher. Sirkel, a graduate of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam, offered to design and publish Life Would Be Easy in 2010. This was quickly followed by several exhibition catalogs with other artists from Estonia, and Lugemik was born, co-founded with Anu Vahtra.

➜ Read the full story in AIGA’s Eye on Design

East Coast Park: “The Singapore Way” to Recreation

Despite being touted as an “explosive book”, Socialism That Works… The Singapore Way has a surprisingly idyllic-looking cover.[1] Featuring an aerial photograph of a tree-lined lagoon and greenery that stretches into the horizon, the book could be mistaken for a tourism brochure. Instead, this picture of East Coast Park fronts a 268-page publication that refutes “the many half-truths perpetrated by hostile parties” about Singapore, including the government’s detention of communists without trial and its controls on trade unions and the press.

Over 10 chapters, the country’s top politicians and trade unionists refuted the allegations and made a case for how successful Singapore had become under the rule of the People’s Action Party (PAP). East Coast Park was just one picturesque outcome. As Singapore’s newest and largest public recreational centre when Socialism That Works was released in 1976, the park showcase how the PAP had literally reshaped the island for modern play.

[1] ‘Socialism That Works… the Singapore Way’, The Business Times, 1 February 1977.

➜ Read the full story in The Singapore Architect #15 (May-August 2019)