Florist blooms as Designer of the Year at President's Design Award

Mr Harijanto and his work, Furry Botany, on display at the Istana for the President’s Design Award prize ceremony last night. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Mr Harijanto and his work, Furry Botany, on display at the Istana for the President’s Design Award prize ceremony last night. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

A florist known for his work at society weddings has bagged a top design accolade at this year's President's Design Award, becoming the first floral designer to do so in the award's eight-year history.

Mr Harijanto Setiawan, 41, was one of six winners in the Designer of the Year category at the annual awards.

The Indonesia-born, Singapore permanent resident was over the moon when he was notified of his win. It was the third time he was nominated.

Taking home this award tops off a good year for the architecture-trained designer.

In May, he won the Silver- Gilt award at the Chelsea Flower Show, the most prestigious horticulture show in the world. The Silver-Gilt award is given to participants with potential to be a Gold Medal winner in future.

Mr Harijanto, who runs his shop Boenga at Harding Road and is the president of the Floral Designers Society Singapore, said: "Not many people appreciate or even know about the floral design industry. Winning is a good signal to the industry."

The five other winners are:

  • Mr Patrick Chia, 44, director of Squeeze Design and the Design Incubation Centre, and creative director of d.lab.
  • Mr Richard Ho, 57, principal architect of RichardHO Architects.
  • Mr Alfie Leong, 43, designer and director of fashion label The Little Voice.
  • Mr Pann Lim, 40, creative officer of Kinetic Design and Advertising.
  • Mr Yip Yuen Hong, 54, principal architect of ip:li Architects.

At the prize-giving ceremony at the Istana last night, the winners received their awards from President Tony Tan Keng Yam, who is the patron of the award.

Given out by the DesignSingapore Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the award recognises Singapore designers who develop iconic projects that make an impact on the local and international design scene.

There were 131 nominations this year, a slight dip from last year's 139.

URA chief executive officer Ng Lang said: "Our architects and designers are developing a distinctly Singapore signature. They are challenging norms, pushing boundaries and experimenting with fusing aesthetically pleasing designs with practical sustainability outcomes."

Aside from the Designer of the Year prize, nine awards were given out for Design of the Year. These honour specific design projects such as an exhibition of photography works at the National Museum of Singapore and food pavilion Satay by the Bay.

Winners were judged on their body of work and contributions, after nominations and citations were made by the public. The 15-member jury included previous award winners such as architect Sonny Chan and designer Voon Wong.