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One of Asia’s premier design festivals that champions design thought leadership
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Press Release

Innovative homegrown solutions tackling local challenges on display in first showcase by Good Design Research

6 min read

National Design Centre will present a line-up of 17-projects by Singapore designers over 11 months via hybrid exhibition

Above: (Clockwise) Claudia Poh, Gin Lee and Tamir Niv (GINLEE Studio), Pan Yi Cheng (Produce Workshop), Morgan Yeo (Roger&Sons), Jackson Tan (ART-ZOO), Esli Ee and Edmund Zhang, Kuik Shiao-Yin (Common Ground and The Thought Collective), and Wendy Chua and Gustavo Maggio (Forest & Whale)

Singapore, 15 October 2021 – Whether it’s the sheer amount of plastic generated by our “dabao” culture, the state of felled Angsana trees and raintrees piling up in the sawmills of Sungei Kadut or the future of brick-and-mortar retail, design firms in Singapore have been exploring solutions to these issues and more as part of the Good Design Research (GDR) initiative, launched by DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) in 2020.

The initiative, aimed at deepening the role of research-based design in solving the challenges faced by societies and cities, provides homegrown designers with sponsorship, mentorship and industry support to empower them to design impactful solutions.

A total of 17 projects cutting across three impact areas – Environment; Communities and Culture; and People and Organisations – were selected and supported under GDR’s first two open calls. The designers will present their research findings, solutions and prototypes via an 11-month rotating physical showcase as well as a series of online workshops and webinars hosted by the National Design Centre.

“The projects under Good Design Research not only demonstrate great diversity, they understand the role and the potential for research to crystalise better, human-centred solutions for the many challenges we face today. In these VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) times, there’s a greater urgency to design more thoughtfully for positive impact and reveal new possibilities for a better world by design,” says Mark Wee, Executive Director of Dsg. 

Above: (Clockwise) KopiCup (Reuse Lab by Forest & Whale), Sandwiched Variable Eggcrate Structure
 (Produce Workshop) and Make in Shop (GINLEE Studio)

Kicking off the GDR exhibition this month is Reuse Lab by multidisciplinary design studio Forest & Whale. The project, spurred by the environmental damage caused by disposable food packaging, saw the design studio undertake a series of interviews with hawkers to create more sustainable, reusable and user-friendly takeaway options as an alternative to single-use plastic.

Reuse Lab has created three concepts for the exhibition: KopiCup (its local version of a reusable coffee cup) inspired by the iconic kopitiam milk tin; a Borrow and Return reusable container; and a Hybrid takeaway model comprising a compostable brown paper liner and a reusable container. In addition, podcasts and video interviews with food critic KF Seetoh, design and sustainability experts and hawkers will be shared as part of its exhibition. This pop-up laboratory will run for three weeks from Oct 15 to Nov 10, 2021.

“Reuse Lab is our way to ignite conversations on sustainable reusable models for hawker centres, where single-use plastic is widely used. Through the exhibition and our prototypes, we hope to discuss topics such as how we can nudge behaviours and redesign the relationship between hawkers and consumers from simply a transactional one back to something more relational. We believe bringing reusable models into hawker centres where most people eat daily can help to scale up the collective impact of using reusables instead of disposables,” says Gustavo Maggio, co-founder of Forest & Whale.

This will be followed by Make in Shop, by fashion label GINLEE Studio, that will explore the twin issues of over-production in fashion and the revitalisation of brick-and-mortar retail from Nov 15. The third pop-up will be helmed by design studio, Produce Workshop, and will showcase its new sustainable material for the construction industry.

The exhibition space will be updated monthly to present a line-up of GDR projects that delve into other issues such as assistive ageing; inclusive fashion for the mobility-challenged; reusing stone and wood offcuts from factories; and hybrid music performances for the neo-pandemic age. Online offerings of GDR projects will commence next year.

For more information about the first GDR showcase, Reuse Lab, visit–whale

Please see Annex A to learn more about the 17 GDR projects and Annex B for details of the GDR initiative.

About the National Design Centre

The National Design Centre is the nexus of design, the meeting point for creative minds and businesses and the venue for presenting all things design. It is also home to DesignSingapore Council. The repurposed, award-winning conserved building is as much an emblem for outstanding Singaporean design and architecture, as it is a thriving venue for visitors to attend showcases and programmes.

Find out more at

About the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg)

DesignSingapore Council’s (Dsg) vision is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. As the national agency that promotes design, our mission is to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design. The Dsg is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board.

For more information, please visit

Media contact

Serene Lim

DesignSingapore Council
Assistant Director

D +65 6962 2063
Sharhind Singh

Edelman for DesignSingapore Council

D +65 9001 4639

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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