Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
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Singapore 188969

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The Beauty of Good Design and Its Effect on Sustainability


Event details

  • Date and Time
    Date and Time
19 Jan 2021
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM
  • Location

Zoom Webinar

  • Event Fee
    Event Fee


Event Recap

Watch the webinar recording below now!

Key Takeaways

  1. There are three areas in which we can consider when designing, communicating or evaluating design, namely the synthetic, pragmatic and semantic aspect.
  2. The synthetic, pragmatic and semantic aspect of design should come together and overlap to produce thoughtful design.

 Responses to Unanswered Q&A  

Are you more for Future or Past?

Hans: I’m for being in the present. I like to see it as condition where you have one hand in the past, and the other hand in the future.

How can I decide if a product is really necessary? I think it is our role as designers to be responsible what we are bring in the world and sometimes I think if we really need another spoon or chair.

Hans: As long as the new product is a better version, it contributes to the improvement to life. For that to happen, honest benchmarking is required, and a courage to go against the grain. It’s important to note that better could look different when applied to different aspect of a product. For example, we normally relate that to the pragmatic angle, which is to have better features or improved use. On the other hand, producing a product that is similar in quality, but at a heavily reduced price is also “better”.

How do you think the Designer’s own cultural preferences for certain materials, forms, colors, subtleness or directness of design come in the process of design? Are these preferences helpful or “harmful” in the design process?

Hans: As long as the decisions made are sensible and appropriate to the users, it makes a positive impact. It’s narrow to assume that a designer’s preference is selfish and idosyncratic. It’s a designer’s resposibility to develop a sensiblity that is relevant now, or aspirational in the future, to the people they are designing for.


With the increased saturation of the design scene, many are left to wonder, what truly is good design? Is there a more objective way to evaluate design? And how can good design play a role in promoting sustainability in our community?

Hear from our speakers from different design backgrounds as they share examples to illustrate their evaluation framework for what a good design is and can be.

Programme Schedule

This webinar runs from 5.30pm – 6.15pm. It has two segments:

  • For the first segment, Dr. Christian Gilles Boucharenc will share more about the evaluation of good design using the SPS framework (semantic, pragmatic and synthetic).
  • For the second segment, Mr Hans Tan will be introducing the 24 exhibited objects at the national vending gallery and sharing how good design has played a role in the sustainability and timelessness of these objects.

About The Speakers

  • Dr. Christian Gilles Boucharenc
    Christian is an educator as well as the author of the book “Design for a Contemporary World”. In this short lecture, he will be introducing a rational analytical approach based on three interrelated dimensions, namely syntactic, pragmatic and semantic. This analytical approach from three respective angles could be applied to our entire environment, from a simple object to the most complex building, allowing also some evaluation and highlight some possible design opportunities. It is also a very precise tool for communication when a design work is completed. His presentation will be supported by several visuals of syntactic, pragmatic and semantic analysis conducted by the students of the Division of Industrial Design of the National University of Singapore.
  • Mr Hans Tan
    Hans is a designer and educator based in Singapore. As a designer, his work tiptoes on the boundaries between design, craft and art, making use of utility as a pretext for visual discourse, while maintaining a keen focus in disrupting common things, materials and fabrication processes. He is the founder of the National Vending Gallery; the collection of items put together for Topic No.2 is based on his hunt for archaic household goods shops around Singapore over the years.

This is an accompanying webinar to the ongoing exhibition National Vending Gallery: Topic No. 2 Future Past.

Presented by WhatisDesign, in collaboration with National Vending Gallery and DesignSingapore Council. Supported by the National Design Centre.

This event is part of the National Design Centre’s “Sustainability & Design” programme line-up for January 2021.

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Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines
One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
National Design Centre