Singapore Design Week 2018 to return from March 5 to 18

A rendering of Sombra Verde, an urban pavilion that will provide shade at the Duxton Plain Park at the Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar. PHOTO: LOPELAB
Guests viewing the Frontliners in Action exhibition at the opening of Singapore Design Week 2017, on March 3, 2017. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - 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 to the festival are the Singapore Urban Design Festival in Tanjong Pagar and the District Design Dialogue in Holland Village. The latter features installations, workshops and other activities that spill into residents' living rooms.

Ms Agnes Kwek, the 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."

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

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

"Our dream is to make this a yearly celebration that is truly owned by the design community," she said. "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."

New to the festival is the Brainstorm Design conference, which is led by the editorial teams of the 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.

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

The conference is the result of a three-year partnership between DesignSingapore Council and Time Inc. Brands, which is now part of Meredith Corporation. It is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board.

Another notable event is SingaPlural 2018, which will showcase installations from the local and international creative industry. It will take place at the National Design Centre in Middle Road and explore 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 the Milan Design Week in April.

International Furniture Fair Singapore, SDW's long-standing trade show, will also partner with French design magazine Intramuros' founder Chantal Hamaide, for a showcase known as Carte Blanche at the 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 in March 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 the festival's inception in 2014, the numbers have been encouraging. Between 2015 and 2017, the number of attendees grew from 75,000 to 81,000.

More partners are also coming on board.

"Not just design firms, but from 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."

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