Justin Zhuang is an observer of the designed world and its impact on everyday life. Since 2009, the journalism graduate has covered architecture and design for magazines in Singapore and around the world, including BiblioAsia, CUBES, Metropolis, Eye on Design and Works That Works. He previously served as an editor for Singapore’s newspaper for students, What’s Up (2009–13), visual culture publication The Design Society Journal (2011–13), and an online journal about cities in Asia, FIVEFOOTWAY (2011–12).

Zhuang has authored several books and projects from his observations of everyday designs in Singapore. They include Reclaim Land: The Fight for Space in Singapore (2009), INDEPENDENCE: The History of Graphic Design in Singapore since the 1960s (2012) and Mosaic Memories: Remembering Singapore’s Old Playgrounds (2013). More recently, he worked with a team of collaborators to produce By Design: SINGAPORE (2019), a collection of 10 stories on unexpected creativity from the city, ranging from infrastructure designed for animals to the security design of lottery tickets. Zhuang is also the co-author of Everyday Modernism: Architecture & Society in Singapore (2022), the first comprehensive documentation of Singapore’s modern built environment through the lens of social cultural and architectural histories.

In 2013, Zhuang was awarded the DesignSingapore Scholarship to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Design Criticism at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He graduated top of the cohort with his thesis examining how digital fabrication transforms design piracy. Since returning home, Zhuang has continued researching into local design through his writings and a digital repository he started, the Singapore Graphic Archives, as well as lecturing in local design schools. In addition, he consults the London-based publisher, Thames & Hudson, on developing architecture and design titles from Southeast Asia, including monographs for Mok Wei Wei, PHUNK and Kerry Hill Architects.

Together with his partner Sheere Ng, Zhuang runs In Plain Words, a Singapore-based writing studio and publishing imprint.

Please write to justin@inplainwords.sg for inquiries and collaborations.