Housing Under the Sea

One of the eight reef structures being lowered into the waters off Sisters’ Island Marine Park PHOTO: NATIONAL PARKS BOARD

Over the last five decades, Singapore has successfully built quality high-rise public housing that now houses over 80 percent of its resident population. But increasingly, it is not just people but also animals in the city-state that can proudly claim to live in a home designed for them.

From intelligent nests for hornbills to hotels for bees, the government has been creating structures to help different species thrive in an effort to strengthen Singapore’s biodiversity. One of its newest initiatives is the nation’s largest purpose-built reef within the waters of Sisters’ Islands Marine Park, located just south of the mainland. Five 11-metre and three 6-metre tall structures have been installed on what was previously relatively flat and bare seabed. Akin to three-storey terrace houses, they hope to eventually be home to some 1,000 square metres of reef substrate and other marine life. If successful, this pilot will pave the way for future restoration efforts in Singapore. Over the years, the city-state has lost some 60 percent of its reefs because of extensive development and reclamation over the years.

The government agency JTC first conceptualised this project in 2010 to support efforts in enhancing the city-state’s marine biodiversity, particularly in the face of climate change and increasing coastal developments. While it is better known for the planning and development of Singapore’s industrial infrastructure such as the petrochemical complex, Jurong Island, this was an opportunity for JTC to lend its engineering and design expertise to scale up previous efforts to restore the city-state’s coral reefs.

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Welcome To A Brand’s New World

Our everyday lives are increasingly intertwined with the digital. But are brands succeeding at welcoming customers to their virtual spaces? Some are forging enticing new pathways, writes regular columnist Justin Zhuang

Flame wars, social media envy and fake news are just some examples of how the online world can incite emotions – often by design. Interactions that encourage snap judgements and the ease of them going viral has resulted in highly emotive spaces that are often polarising too. The digital revolution has not only disrupted how we interact as individuals but also with brands. On the one hand, brands can have deeper and more meaningful conversations with their customers. But they also have to be on their toes. A single angry customer rant or a misstep by a brand can be amplified quickly and often disproportionately, if not dealt with correctly.

➜ Read the full column in CUBES #99 — Emotive Spaces

In Singapore, Residents Create a Social Distancing Wayfinding Language With Tape

Dots. Lines. Crosses. Boxes. They have popped up all across Singapore over the past few weeks. Plastered over furniture, floors, and more, the city-state renowned for its cleanliness and order has become a maze of symbols, in order to defend its inhabitants from the COVID-19 pandemic.

This “mess” is indeed a series of messages. They tell citizens to stay apart from one another as the city battles to control the spread of the virus. Such makeshift signs started appearing right after the government introduced safe distancing measures on March 20, in order to limit the number of people gathering in a space and keep them at least 1-metre apart.

With just two-days notice before the measures turned into law, and no specific guide on how to implement them, local businesses and organizations quickly found their own solutions. While some printed custom signage to explain the measures, the most popular method has been to use adhesive tape to construct symbols, from crossing out seats to drawing queue lines and cordoning off areas.

Read the full story in AIGA’s Eye on Design