Tag: DesignSingapore Council

By Design: SINGAPORE

What is design? This is a question that frequently popped up when putting together this publication. Many of our interviewees expressed (pleasant) surprise to be featured in a “design” publication, while some designers were sceptical about including less than professional work. Underlying these reactions is an assumption that “design” is extra (ordinary) and can only be created by those trained in it. This has led to the popular view that there are chairs, and then there are “designer” chairs—a binary view we seek to reframe with By Design: SINGAPORE.

Our compilation of 10 stories challenges the belief that design is only a stylish product and a tool for innovation. While such points of views have propelled its meteoric rise with industrialisation, design is ultimately a creative act necessary for living. We all carry this out when trying to overcome challenges in the environment. As the American design writer, Ralph Caplan, once wrote: “[D]esign is a process for making things right, for shaping what people need.” This was from his 1982 book, By Design, whose name we borrowed the name for our publication.

Another inspiration is from where we come from: the city-state of Singapore. In a speech to design students in 2018, its Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong explained that: “Singapore is a nation by design. Nothing we have today is natural, or happened by itself. Somebody thought about it, made it happen.” Designers in Singapore have no doubt contributed to this. We highlight some unexpected examples, including a prosthetic for a hornbill, several restored historic buildings and the effort to build high-tech “tropical” data centres. But we are also interested in how the rest of Singapore society has harnessed design as a process. For instance, local food hawkers have crafted new tools to prepare traditional delicacies for modern times, while its food technologists are inventing fresh ways of repackaging Singapore cuisine to the world.

In examining design as broadly as possible, By Design: Singapore shows how design is everywhere around us. It can be stylish. It can be innovative. But more than a consumer product or invention, design is an action each of us can take to make an impact on the world.


The publication was supported by the DesignSingapore Council and was first published for the Singapore Design Week 2019.

Concept: In Plain Words
Design: Modular Unit

The 10 stories:

  1. A City for Nature
  2. A Vernacular Sign Language by Vikas Kailankaje
  3. Huat Ah!
  4. The Future of a City’s Past by Stephanie Peh
  5. New Ways, Familiar Tastes by Sheere Ng
  6. We Make This City by Don Wong
  7. Science of the Secondary: Rubber Band by Atelier HOKO
  8. Cooling Down This Hot Island by Timothy Misir
  9. Housing Singapore’s Smart Nation
  10. Consider the Wok by Sheere Ng

Design Frontiers

They are driving new design frontiers in their fields. Recognised in the President*s Design Award in 2018, 5 designers discuss challenges, renewal and how to stay relevant.

➜ Read the full story in Skyline 10

[FEATURED] 画家与策展人蔡荣恩 以艺术家之名 走入平面设计

BY 黄向京

我们知道蔡荣恩(80几岁)是本地抽象派画家、前国家博物馆画廊知名策展人(1978-1985)、培训过美术教师,但少人知道他在平面设计也有一手。

当蔡荣恩来到国家设计中心五楼的“新加坡设计档案”展之“艺术家——平面设计师蔡荣恩”,小木橱上虽展示为数不多的展品,但他已发出惊叹,因为连他自己也没有收藏的平面设计作品,竟会有人感兴趣。

蔡荣恩接受联合早报访问时说:“今天我们比较重视保存档案资料,以前根本看不到它们的价值,很多资料都丢失了,前国家博物馆画廊丢掉蛮多的。”

➜ Read the full story in 联合早报