Design week spills into living rooms

A rendering of Sombra Verde, a pavilion that will provide shade at Duxton Plain Park at the Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar. Play Book, a "pretend play" environment inspired by the pop-up book and designed for children aged three and above, wa
Play Book, a “pretend play” environment inspired by the pop-up book and designed for children aged three and above, was created by design agency Pinch Design. It will be showcased at SingaPlural.PHOTO: SINGAPLURAL
A rendering of Sombra Verde, a pavilion that will provide shade at Duxton Plain Park at the Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar. Play Book, a "pretend play" environment inspired by the pop-up book and designed for children aged three and above, wa
A rendering of Sombra Verde, a pavilion that will provide shade at Duxton Plain Park at the Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar. PHOTO: LOPELAB

Go on tours highlighting heritage and architecture, meet global leaders and explore play in design at SingaPlural

Singapore Design Week will return from March 5 to 18 with more ground-up initiatives to engage the wider community.

The annual festival is a celebration of all things design - with craft fairs, exhibitions and conferences across the island - and is now in its fifth year.

New this year are the Singapore Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar and District Design Dialogue in Holland Village. District Design Dialogue features installations, workshops and other activities that spill into residents' living rooms.

Eight of the festival's nine key programmes are helmed by industry partners such as Lopelab and Hjgher.

Ms Agnes Kwek, executive director of DesignSingapore Council, the festival's organiser, said: "We have a lot of people in the design community with a very good reading of what people respond best to. It's time to let the design community be more in the driving seat."

She said the growing number of ground-up initiatives each year is a sign of its success.

"We're loving how our new way of working with industry partners has yielded many more creative ideas and hope that Singapore Design Week will become the launch pad for more of these creative businesses," she added.

One of this year's highlights is the inaugural Brainstorm Design conference, led by the editorial teams of Fortune, Time and Wallpaper* magazines.

Participants can meet more than 60 global leaders in design, business and public policy and discuss how design can be used to transform businesses, communities and lives.

Some of this year's prominent speakers are Ms Elizabeth Laraki, Facebook's director of product design, and Mr Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive of Changi Airport Group.

Then there is SingaPlural 2018, which will showcase installations from the local and international creative industry at the National Design Centre. This year, it explores the importance of play in design.

The Wallpaper* Handmade 2018 exhibition will include a special showcase of seven Singapore pieces that will debut at Gillman Barracks before being exhibited at Milan Design Week in April.

International Furniture Fair Singapore, Singapore Design Week's long-standing trade show, will partner French design magazine Intramuros' founder Chantal Hamaide for a showcase of up-and-coming brands known as Carte Blanche at Singapore Expo.

Other highlights are The City Ramble Design Trails - which will offer tours of places with architectural and heritage value; the Market of Artists and Designers at i Light Marina Bay; and the Bras Basah. Bugis Arts Sprawl in Queen Street.

DesignSingapore Council, the Unesco Creative City of Design Office, is working with three Unesco Creative Cities in Australia to design projects inspired by music, literature and film. Three Australian creatives will take part in a workshop and public forum at the festival.

Several "satellite programme partners" will also hold talks, workshops, exhibitions and product launches next month to leverage on the buzz from Singapore Design Week. Millenia Walk, for instance, will launch its first design festival.

Most of the events at the festival are free.

Ms Kwek said that since its inception in 2014, the numbers have been encouraging. Between 2015 and last year, the number of attendees grew from 75,000 to 81,000.

More partners are also coming on board.

"Not just design firms, but the non-design community as well, such as commercial partners. To me, this signals they are starting to see the value of being part of this," she added.

• For more information, visit www.designsingapore.org/sdw

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2018, with the headline 'Design week spills into living rooms'. Print Edition | Subscribe