Airy house, flip-up glasses and more innovations win prizes at President's Design Award show

T House. -- PHOTO: JOVIAN LIM
T House. -- PHOTO: JOVIAN LIM

Eleven entries won the Design of the Year award at the President's Design Award. LEE JIAN XUAN looks at five of them

T House by Linghao Architects

What: This two-storey home, located on a 6m by 22m land plot in a residential area near Peirce Reservoir, features an open-air internal courtyard that doubles as a living space as well as a rooftop garden.

Architect Ling Hao believes it is a house that has made a difference to its inhabitants.

The client is cultivating his own plants and has started a garden company, he says.

The jury says: "The house is an open airy structure that incorporates multiple courtyards and gardens within a small space.

"The open structure and humble material evoke the memory of old Singapore houses. The jury commends the radical simplicity in the interpretation of the tropical house... it is a model for how to live life simply."

A Guide To The Flora And Fauna Of The World by Hanson Ho and Stephanie Ng, in collaboration with Robert Zhao

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What: It is a publication, presented as an archival box, with 55 sheets of photographs and supporting documents to look at how human intervention has affected science and nature. The project, designed by local graphic designer Hanson Ho, was a collaboration with Robert Zhao, a photographer-artist who presented an art installation of the same name at the Singapore Biennale.

The work, which has only 500 sets in publication, picked up prominent international design awards, such as Gold Pencil from the New York One Show Design Annual Awards.

The jury says: "Ho's design direction appropriates diagrammatic charts, computer programming language and juxtaposes these with Zhao's images to suggest the human race's use of technology and data analyses to control nature.

"It is a testament to the unexpected possibilities of cross- disciplinary collaboration, creating a product that is more than the sum of its parts."

The Eyelet Flip by Nanyang Optical

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What: This innovative lens frame made of steel and titanium lets users easily switch lens by "flipping down" another pair.

Unlike other flip frames, which use screws that tend to loosen over time, the Eyelet Flip employs a hinge spring, which has been tested to withstand 10,000 flips over seven days.

The Flip will come in useful for those suffering from presbyopia (long-sightedness) as they need to remove their glasses when reading or doing near-range work, says its designer and Nanyang Optical chairman Yang Wah Kiang.

The jury says: "The use of titanium adds to the overall design aesthetic, resulting in a beautiful synthesis of form and function...

"As a stand-alone pair of spectacles, it is elegant and sophisticated, with perfect proportions."

Rabbit & The Tortoise collection by Studio Juju

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What: It is a set of seven tables in varying forms and sizes, which can be easily arranged in different configurations.

The fluid design was inspired by sketches and doodles, say designers Timothy Wong and Priscilla Lui of Studio Juju. They were created to bring "freshness and to respond to the living area with a different pair of eyes", adds Mr Wong.

The range was developed and presented by Italian furniture- maker Living Divani at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2012 and is now distributed worldwide.

The jury says: "The product applies well to both indoor and outdoor spaces. The simple quality allows many possibilities of arrangement and brings a sense of lightness and energy to spaces. This project re-examines the typology of coffee tables and offers a fresh, alternative perspective."

Buccaneer 3-D Printer by Pirate3DP

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What: The Buccaneer is a low-cost 3-D home printer which lets users print objects of any shape within a few hours, says its chief designer Tsang You Jun. It is currently in production.

It was designed with six goals in mind, including a desktop footprint of less than 250 sq mm and that it should offer a fuss-free and safe user experience.

The Buccaneer received US$1.4 million (S$1.8 million) in pledges from more than 3,500 backers on crowd- funding site Kickstarter, making it one of the most successful crowd- funded projects last year.

The jury says: "The designers managed to conceal complex electronics with a minimalist design aesthetic, perfect for desktop use in a domestic environment. They exceeded their crowd-funding target of US$100,000 by raising US$1.4 million, indicating strong market appeal.

"The jury is particularly impressed with the potential of this project."

jianxuan@sph.com.sg