Design fest to charge for entry

SingaPlural chairman says the fee of $5 to $10 is to help sustain the event

Home-grown design festival SingaPlural is back in March with a bigger show - and will charge admission fees for the first time in its five-year history.

Tickets cost $5 each if they are bought in advance and $10 during the week-long festival, which starts on March 7.

Mr Mark Yong, chairman of SingaPlural, says that charging an entrance fee is a "move towards sustainability".

Last year's festival cost about $1 million to stage and was funded by sponsors and government agencies such as Spring Singapore and DesignSingapore Council.

It also received funding from the International Furniture Fair Singapore, a trade show held annually at the Singapore Expo.

Mr Yong adds: "We have to stand on our own two feet, rather than continually rely on taxpayers' dollars. The (entrance fees) go back into the show.

"We might tweak the ticket price in future, but this year, we went with a nominal sum to try out."

Children under 12 years old and those older than 60 can enter for free. Those who buy 10 tickets at a go will get a complimentary ticket if they are bought by Feb 21.

The festival is the anchor event of the annual Singapore Design Week and showcases works from various fields such as advertising, architecture and interior and fashion design. It returns to 99 Beach Road, the former home of the Beach Road Police Station.

This year also sees more installations - 71 compared with last year's 52. These are by designers, manufacturers, builders and design schools, working on the theme Senses - The Art And Science Of Experiences. And instead of taking up just the first level of two buildings there, the installations now take up their second level too.

Aside from Singapore participants, international names such as Hong Kong's Stickyline, known for its folded paper designs, are also in the line-up.

With an installation titled Scale Up Your Fear, the quartet will show off its folding skills, as it makes paper cockroaches for its piece.

There are also workshops, talks and tours - some of which have a separate charge from the admission fee. Some of these events last year were also ticketed.

Mr Yong is confident that visitors will not be put off by the admission fee. In fact, he expects at least a 20 per cent increase in turnout this year, up from 28,262 visitors last year.

"In part, SingaPlural also gives back to the design community. We have a lot of creative talents here that have a lot to show if they have a good event and venue to showcase their capabilities.

"Our content will speak for itself. Good content is worth paying for."

•Tickets are on sale at singaplural2016.peatix.com

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline 'Design fest to charge for entry'. Print Edition | Subscribe