Engineer bags Designer of the Year award

Dr Hossein Rezai is the Designer of the Year for this year's President's Design Award.
Dr Hossein Rezai is the Designer of the Year for this year's President's Design Award. PHOTO: ALICIA CHAN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES
Dr Hossein Rezai is the Designer of the Year for this year's President's Design Award.
Dr Hossein Rezai is the Designer of the Year for this year's President's Design Award.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Architect Raymond Woo, design engineer Dr Hossein Rezai and architect Rene Tan were handed accolades for Designers of The Year at the annual President's Design Award on Friday, Dec 9.
(From left) Architect Raymond Woo, design engineer Dr Hossein Rezai and architect Rene Tan were handed accolades for Designers of The Year at the annual President's Design Award on Friday, Dec 9. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

An engineer has won the prestigious Designer of the Year award for the first time in the President's Design Award's 11-year history - a surprise as the profession is not often regarded as creative.

Past winners have typically been architects or designers.

Dr Hossein Rezai, founder of international design engineering consultancy Web Structures, works with architects to help bring their sketches to reality. Projects he has been involved in include the Tokio Marine Centre in McCallum Street, and the Assyafaah Mosque in Admiralty.

The 60-year-old Tehran-born chartered civil and structural engineer, who is a Singapore permanent resident, said of his win: "I'm humbled to be given the honour. Looking at the achievements of this year's and past recipients, it's a fantastic company to be in."

Besides Dr Rezai, architects Mr Rene Tan of RT+Q Architects, the low-profile architect of the spaceship-like Science Centre, and Mr Raymond Woo of Raymond Woo & Associates Architects, who is known for his conceptual residential and commercial projects, also received the Designer of the Year award.

The President's Design Award, given out by the DesignSingapore Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, also celebrates designs.

This year, 10 winning projects - including a medical lancet and a washing machine that allows users to add clothes mid-cycle - clinched the Design of the Year award.

This award goes to designs by lead designers who are Singaporeans or permanent residents, or to projects completed in Singapore.

The awards were handed out tonight by President Tony Tan Keng Yam at a ceremony at the Istana. The President's Design Award is given out by the DesignSingapore Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

natashaz@sph.com.sg