SINGAPORE - Home-grown design festival SingaPlural is back in March with a bigger show - and admission fees for the first time in its five-year history.
Tickets cost $5 if they are bought before the event starts on March 7, and $10 if they are bought during the week-long show. 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, government bodies such as Spring Singapore and DesignSingapore Council. It also received some 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) goes 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 below 12 and those above 60 can enter for free. Those who buy 10 tickets at a go will get one complimentary ticket if they are bought by Feb 21.
The festival returns to 99 Beach Road, the former home of the Beach Road Police Station. It 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.
This year, SingaPlural features 71 installations by designers, manufacturers, builders and design schools, working on the theme Senses - the Art and Science of Experiences. Aside from local participants, international names such as Hong Kong's Stickyline, who are known for their designs folded out of paper, are also in the line-up. 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, and good content is worth paying for."
Tickets are on sale at singaplural2016.peatix.com