Voilah!

Designers behind the buildings

People's Park Complex is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition as part of Voilah!
People's Park Complex is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition as part of Voilah! PHOTO: COURTESY OF PHILIPPE DIVERSY AND BOB LEE
Golden Mile Complex is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition as part of Voilah!
Golden Mile Complex is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition as part of Voilah!PHOTO: COURTESY OF PHILIPPE DIVERSY AND BOB LEE
OCBC Centre is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition.
OCBC Centre is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition. PHOTO: PHILIPPE DIVERSY AND BOB LEE

People's Park Complex, Golden Mile Complex and OCBC Centre are architectural icons in Singapore, but do you know who the skilful designers behind each structure are?

To shed light on the history behind these three buildings and five others, French photographer-designer Philippe Diversy and Singaporean photographer Bob Lee put on a photography and design exhibition called Urban Fork.

The free exhibition will be held at indie cinema The Projector from May 5 to 31 as part of this year's edition of Voilah!, the annual French festival of arts and culture.

To create the prints, Lee first shot each building using a full-frame digital SLR. Then Diversy superimposed the name of the architect behind the building onto the picture.


OCBC Centre is one of the buildings photographed as part of the Urban Fork Exhibition. PHOTO: PHILIPPE DIVERSY AND BOB LEE

For instance, lin, the Chinese character for the surname of People's Park Complex's architect, Mr William S.W. Lim, is conspicuously marked across the green-and-yellow residential block.

In another work depicting the OCBC Centre, the red sign on the top of the 52-storey skyscraper is replaced by the name of architect Ieoh Ming Pei (better known as I.M. Pei) in English and Chinese.

The idea for the exhibition came from Diversy, 46, who initially tested it out on a building in France three years ago. He wanted to sign buildings off with the name of their creator.

We might walk or drive past these buildings every day, but not know the history behind each. Through this exhibition, we recognise the designers behind each building. 

PHOTOGRAPHER BOB LEE, who is staging the exhibition with French photographer-designer Philippe Diversy

For the Singapore show, he began corresponding with Lee early last year over Facebook Messenger as they shortlisted the eight buildings with distinctive architectural styles from the late 1960s to 1980s.

Lee, 40, adds: "We might walk or drive past these buildings every day, but not know the history behind each. Through this exhibition, we recognise the designers behind each building."

•Urban Fork is from May 5 to 31, 6.30 to 9pm (Tuesday to Friday except for May 5, when it opens at 7.30pm) and 1 to 10pm on weekends. It will take place at The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road 05-00. Admission is free. For more information, go to voilah.sg/urban-fork/

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 15, 2016, with the headline 'Designers behind the buildings'. Print Edition | Subscribe