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Press Release

President*s Design Award 2020 Kicks Off Jury Session with Multi-disciplinary Panel of Design and Architecture Experts

14 min read

A biennial gathering of internationally-renowned and respected jurors will carry out a rigorous judging and selection process to determine this year’s best-in-class award recipients.

Singapore, 1 December 2020 – The DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) announced today that its multi-disciplinary jury panel will convene for the 2020 President*s Design Award (P*DA) Jury Session with the aim to recognise the value of impactful, meaningful and groundbreaking designs in Singapore. The jurors will gather physically and virtually from 1 to 7 December to deliberate on the country’s best-deserving design talents and works across all disciplines.

The P*DA is Singapore’s most prestigious award for its designers and designs, and it is evident in the panel of jurors that has been put together to make the selection. This year’s jury panel comprises 18 prominent Singapore and international leaders in design, business, and architecture, which also includes previous P*DA recipients.

Design Panel

  • Dick Powell, Co-Founder and Chairman of Seymourpowell (UK)
  • Dr Hossein Rezai, Director of Web Structures (Singapore)
  • Chris Lee, Founder and Creative Director of Asylum (Singapore)
  • Christina Melander, Programme Director, Danish Design Centre and Head of Danish Design Award (Denmark)
  • Hans Tan, Founder of Hans Tan Studio and Associate Professor, NUS Division of Industrial Design (Singapore)
  • Jane Withers, Founder of Jane Withers Studio (UK)
  • Lekshmy Parameswaran, Co-Founder of The Care Lab (Spain)
  • Larry Peh, Founder and Creative Director of &Larry (Singapore)
  • Professor Lou Yongqi, Dean of the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University (China)
  • Melissa Kwee, CEO, National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (Singapore)
  • Dr Ming Tan, Managing Director of IPOS International (Singapore)
  • Randy Hunt, Head of Design at Grab (Singapore)
  • Welby Altidor, Group Chief Creative Officer of Cityneon Holdings (Singapore)

Architecture Panel

  • Ar. Chan Soo Khian, Founding Principal and Design Director of SCDA Architects (Singapore)
  • Professor Ho Puay Peng, Head of Department of Architecture, School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore (Singapore)
  • Ar. Tan Kok Hiang, Founding Director, Forum Architects (Singapore)
  • Ar. Ma Yansong, Founder and Principal Partner of MAD Architects (China)
  • Ar. Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Founder of AZPML (Spain)

The biennial Award’s Jury Session will be a five-day programme that follows a structured judging process that includes interviews of all shortlisted candidates and on-site visits to evaluate design works. They will also base their selections on an agreed methodology and a holistic judging criteria that includes having impact and technical excellence. With the overarching theme, “Creating a Better World by Design”, the P*DA places great emphasis on outcome-based design impact in four areas across all disciplines – enabling economic transformation, raising quality of life, advancing Singapore brand and culture, and making ground-breaking design achievements.

There were more than 130 eligible entries for this cycle. Of the 23 eligible entries for the “Designer of the Year” category, eight designers and five architects were shortlisted. Out of 107 eligible entries for “Design of the Year”, 26 design and 12 architecture projects were shortlisted.

Mr Mark Wee, Executive Director of Dsg said, “As the nation’s highest accolade for design, the P*DA has evolved over the years to remain relevant in recognising designers and design works that go beyond just aesthetics, but have also significantly contributed to Singapore’s economic competitiveness, quality of life, culture and more. Dsg continues to see top quality design and architecture submissions and nominations this year, that through both tangible and intangible ways, uplift the community and contribute to a city that is thriving, creative and loveable. This is what design is about, and through P*DA, Dsg is committed to championing great designers and designs that have made a profound difference in our lives.”

Ar. Yap Lay Bee, Group Director (Architecture and Urban Design) in URA said, “We are heartened to receive sterling architecture submissions for this cycle of P*DA. Good design is not only a hallmark of a modern, progressive society like Singapore, but also enriches and improves people’s lives. P*DA is an avenue to raise awareness and appreciation for great architecture and design. Together with our partners, we will continue leveraging architecture as an enabler for making the world a better place and reaffirm Singapore as a city of architectural excellence.”

Diverse jurors comprise both design and impact experts

This year, seven of the jurors are past P*DA recipients. They form part of the Design Panel and Architecture Panel, lending their insights to the Jury Session, having been through the entire process of being shortlisted and evaluated themselves.

Recipient of the P*DA Designer of Year 2016 and Jury Vice-Chair of the Design Panel this year, Dr Hossein Rezai, said, “The P*DA is the pinnacle of the design awards in Singapore and is the highest accolade anyone in the design industry can achieve. I see it as the best affirmation one can receive to validate that one is on the right path. The recognition of the award has empowered me to spread the word on the importance of sustainable and purposeful design on the journey towards social and environmental justice.”

Recipient of the P*DA Designer of Year 2009 and also a juror on the Design Panel this year, Mr Chris Lee, said, “The P*DA is the feather on the cap to top off all the other industry awards because it is one recognised and endorsed by the President of Singapore. It’s an award that will gain you the respect of your peers because of its prestige and my hope is that it encourages them to aspire towards receiving it too. But beyond that, the P*DA holds an even more special place in my heart because my dad was there at the awards ceremony.”    

Recipient of the P*DA Designer of the Year 2014 and a juror on the Architecture Panel this year, Ar. Tan Kok Hiang, said, “Winning the P*DA Designer of the Year 2014 is to wear an architectural badge of honour, which has allowed me access into many worlds other than the world of design.  For instance, I have been contacted by a novelist and have collaborated on her book. I have also been invited to design fabric patterns for a bespoke suit tailor. This inter-crossing of disciplines makes my experience as an architect all the more richer and in turn allow my vocation to add value to society.”

Dsg is also honoured to have new jurors contributing to the Design panel with their diverse backgrounds and experiences such as Ms Melissa Kwee, Mr Randy Hunt, Prof Lou Yongqi and Mr Welby Altidor. Ms Kwee, as a strong advocate for greater empathy within our communities, will lend her experience to assess entries which address the “raising quality of life” impact area; Mr Hunt from Grab will look at projects which use design to transform businesses and add value to customers’ experiences; Prof Lou, who has worked on community projects that preserve heritage balanced with sustainability, will be able to weigh in on projects with social impact; and Mr Altidor’s creativity and innovative background will identify transformative projects and experiences that people will love.   

In addition, the participation of jurors such as Ms Christina Melander and Ms Jane Withers are a result of partnerships Dsg has forged with renowned design awards like the Danish Design Award and memorandum of understanding signed with the British Council, respectively. This highlights the importance of collaboration in the field of design, where a cross-cultural exchange of knowledge and ideas can take place to drive greater adoption of design across disciplines. 

A strong proponent of effective and impactful design, Mr Dick Powell, Jury Chair of the Design Panel, said, “Design and innovation are inextricably linked together in a simple and clear objective: to make things better – better for people, better for business, and better too for the world. The drive for innovative and better things is a powerful agent for change, and that change affects people’s lives. We strongly believe in impactful designs at P*DA and encourage more designers to embark on this journey to make the world a better place!”

URA would like to thank Ar. Chan Soo Khian, P*DA Designer of the Year 2006, for returning as Jury Chair of the Architecture Panel. Ar. Chan, with his multi-disciplinary background and rich experience in urban design, will lead the panel to select the best architectural design talents and works for P*DA 2020. 

URA welcomes two new Architecture Panel members, Professor Ho Puay Peng and Ar. Tan Kok Hiang, to this edition of the P*DA. Professor Ho has close to 30 years of experience in academia with his main research interests in the fields of architectural history and conservation practices. Ar. Tan, a P*DA Designer of the Year 2014, has a practice that spans decades, as well as experience working on a wide range of projects, including healthcare, residential, commercial and hospitality developments.

Together with the Architecture Panel Jury Chair, the jurors’ multi-faceted backgrounds will bring added depth and a more holistic perspective to the judging of the architecture submissions. Ar. Chan said, “Architects and designers will need to explore a more sustainable, resilient and regenerative path forward to address the new realities of our time.” 

URA would also like to express gratitude to the international Architecture Panel jurors, Ar. Ma Yansong and Ar. Alejandro Zaera-Polo, for their invaluable insights and contributions to the shortlisting jury process. 

Jurors’ Forum

The Jury Session will culminate in a Jurors’ Forum, organised by Dsg and URA. It offers a platform for the wider design and business communities to glean insights from a panel of esteemed design and architecture jurors who will lend multi-dimensional and international perspectives to the conversation. This year’s theme, “Creating a Better Future Design – In Conversation with Design Changemakers”, will expound on how design is instrumental to creating a future that seeks to address social issues while enabling economic transformation, especially in a year fraught with uncertainties. The Forum is open to the public and will be held on 8 December 2020. (Refer to Appendix for more details).

For more details of the Jurors’ Forum, visit

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President*s Design Award (P*DA)

The President*s Design Award (P*DA) is Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs across all disciplines. It recognises the achievements of an extraordinary group of people making a difference to the lives of Singaporeans and the global community through excellent design.

Established in 2006, P*DA was founded with the following objectives:

  • Recognise the significant achievements of Singapore’s design talents and the contributions they have made to Singapore’s economic competitiveness and quality of life;
  • Engender pride in the nation’s outstanding designs and leading designers among Singaporeans and in turn nurture among Singaporeans a greater awareness of quality design in all areas; and
  • Demonstrate to industry, businesses, the general public and the international community the government’s commitment to design development and promotion.

In 2017, P*DA was re-launched as a biennial award with a greater emphasis on the impact of design in transforming work and business; raising the quality of life; enhancing culture and connecting communities; and advancing the design industry and the role of designer.

P*DA is presented in two categories – Designer of the Year and Design of the Year. It is conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore and is jointly administered by the DesignSingapore Council and the Urban Redevelopment Authority. More information here on the P*DA website.

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.

Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA)

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is Singapore’s land use planning and conservation agency. Our mission is ‘to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play’. We strive to create an endearing home and a vibrant city through long-term planning and innovation, in partnership with the community.

URA’s multi-faceted role includes being the main government land sales agent. We attract and channel private capital investments to develop sites that support planning, economic and social objectives. We also partner the community to enliven our public spaces to create a car-lite, people-friendly and liveable city for all to enjoy. In shaping a distinctive city, URA also promotes architecture and urban design excellence. Visit for more information.

Media contact

Michelle Tan

DesignSingapore Council

D +65 6962 2059
Tiffany Chan

Strategic Communications & Outreach
Urban Redevelopment Authority

D +65 6329 3276

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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