The festival marks a high point in DesignSingapore Council’s 20th anniversary with special commissions by homegrown designers, a special edition of the Design Futures Forum, and new Design Districts at Bras Basah.Bugis, Marina Bay and Orchard.
Singapore, 20 September 2023 – Singapore Design Week 2023 (SDW 2023) is set to enliven the city from tomorrow till 1 October, as Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, Ms Low Yen Ling, officially opened the festival at the National Design Centre (NDC) this evening.
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) this year, the flagship festival will bring to life the council’s motto, ‘Better by Design’ for this special edition. From special commissions by Singapore’s leading design curators to a dialogue of the brightest minds at the Design Futures Forum, three new Design Districts to the first-ever Friday Late at Bras Basah.Bugis, SDW 2023 will present an extraordinary showcase of Singapore’s unique brand of creativity.
Festival Commission at Bras Basah.Bugis
In the heart of the city’s civic centre, three of Singapore’s most renowned and inventive design names will present specially commissioned installations showcasing new ideas and reflecting on three key themes – innovation, sustainability and inclusivity.
Jackson Tan, co-founder and creative director of BLACK, is the lead curator for the Design District of Bras Basah.Bugis. Together with Ar. Ong Ker Shing and Dr Joshua Comaroff, co-founders of Lekker Architects, and Pann Lim, co-founder and creative director of Kinetic Singapore, these curators will present three immersive showcases – Playground of Possibilities, FI&LD and School of Tomorrow – across the district.
“Through these exhibitions, I hope that visitors of all ages can realise that everyone can create positive impact through design. As our society evolves, complex challenges such as digital disruption and climate change have also surfaced. Instead of viewing them as hurdles, design can help us turn these into opportunities to make things better,” says Jackson Tan, lead curator for the Bras Basah.Bugis District.
Festival hub National Design Centre will host Playground of Possibilities, while FI&LD, and School of Tomorrow will take place at LASALLE College of the Arts and Selegie Arts Centre respectively.
Playground of Possibilities at National Design Centre
Curated by Jackson Tan, Co-founder and Creative Director of BLACK
Unleash your playful, creative self at the Playground of Possibilities. This showcase spotlights 12 design “stories of possibilities” from Singapore that tackle some of the most pressing challenges we face today with innovative solutions. The collection of playful and interactive installations, showcase four design principles or ‘pals of possibilities’ – Explore, Empathise, Imagine and Adapt – that designers use to tackle problems, transform them into opportunities, and dream up new possibilities.
Through the colourful array of experiential installations, visitors discover how the buildings of tomorrow can be naturally cool like the skin of an elephant; or visit a mini public housing town designed to be dementia-friendly; or interact with AI-equipped Robots, and play in a kitchen with ‘smart’ ceramic tableware that responds to the human touch. There are endless possibilities to discover with the help of design in this unconventional sandbox.
FI&LD at LASALLE College of the Arts
Curated by Ar. Ong Ker Shing and Dr Joshua Comaroff, Co-founders of Lekker Architects
A radical departure from traditional sports and games, FI&LD offers a new philosophy in inclusive design that is based upon play and improvisation. The interactive exhibition features some of the best examples of this ethos in practice – from physical environments and immersive experiences to graphics, products, and services. New concepts and initiatives, as well as prototypes of emerging objects and technologies come together to emphasise possible connections between inclusion, emotion, and technology through design.
Lekker Architects have also tapped on the younger generation for FI&LD. Collaborators include students from LASALLE College of the Arts, National University of Singapore’s Department of Architecture, and Yale-NUS College.
School of Tomorrow at Selegie Arts Centre
Curated by Pann Lim, Co-founder and Creative Director of Kinetic Singapore
Enrol in the School of Tomorrow for sustainability lessons with a twist. With a motto proclaiming “For Earth, For Humans, For All”, the School of Tomorrow, curated by Pann Lim of Kinetic Singapore, takes its serious mission of imparting sustainability through a fun and immersive format. Through classes covering common subjects such as geography, chemistry, and social studies, critical environmental issues will be introduced.
Drawing on the expertise of sustainability experts, School of Tomorrow spans three levels of Selegie Arts Centre. Through the novel set-up of each subject classroom, visitors will learn how to incorporate sustainability into their daily routines to design for a better future.
Uncover the harmful chain effects of plastic on our bodies at Biology class while getting a crash course on new alternatives like bio-plastics made from potato skins; study a reimagined periodic table which presents 45 new materials that will reshape the way we live at Chemistry class; or calculate your own carbon footprint and discover how to reduce it in Mathematics class. Last but not least, everyone’s favourite spot, the canteen, will feature an eye-opening menu of innovative food, tableware, and edible or sustainably sourced packaging.
“Sustainability might seem like a broad subject to broach, but we hope that by using the concept of a school for these installations, visitors can easily recognise the diverse environmental challenges we face, and find methods to better equip ourselves, both in theory and practice. Everyone has a stake in the future. We’re all students who are relearning our role and relationship with the environment to forge a greener path,” says Pann Lim, curator of School of Tomorrow.
Friday Late at Bras Basah.Bugis
Lighting up the Bras Basah.Bugis District will be Singapore Design Week’s first ever Friday Late on 22 September.
Festival goers can immerse themselves in the creative pulse of the district, with design installations, live demos, a pop-up retail market and food stalls running late till 11pm at five creative hubs – National Design Centre, LASALLE College of the Arts, Selegie Arts Centre, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and Stamford Arts Centre.
At National Design Centre, look forward to burgers and light bites from Love Handle, Asia’s first plant-based butcher. Festival goers can also get refuelled with sports- themed snacks from Lowercase after a round of games at LASALLE College of the Arts, or grab a plant-based ice cream from Kind Kones at the Selegie Arts Centre. Look forward to exclusive guided tours and open game sessions as the Bras Basah.Bugis district bursts to life to kickstart the weekend.
For Friday Late, shuttle buses will be running hourly from Marina Bay Sands to National Design Centre on 22 September starting at 5pm. The last bus will depart Marina Bay Sands at 8pm.
Building upon the enduring vision of Singapore Design Week and its three defining pillars – Design Futures, Design Marketplace and Design Impact – festival goers can also look forward to these key events.
Design Futures Forum 2023: Design for Better Futures
The Design Futures Forum 2023 is a special-edition event marking the DesignSingapore Council’s 20th anniversary, and 20 years of design’s evolution and potential as a multiplier for impact across contexts.
Featuring a diverse line-up of distinguished speakers from Singapore and around the world, the forum will explore how the worlds of design, business, and the social and public sectors can – and must – come together to design for better futures together in the critical areas of sustainability, emerging tech, and care.
Titled Design for Better Futures, the forum will include speakers such as renowned Japanese architect Shigeru Ban; Dr Tom Waller, sports, health and innovation expert who founded Lululemon’s R&D lab Whitespace; Lim Sze Ling, Chief Transformation Officer at ServiceSG; and Dr Deb Goswami, Structured and Generative AI Technologist for Developer Programmes, Asia Pacific South, NVIDIA.
Segment 1: Design for the Future of Sustainability
For Singapore and the rest of the industrialised world, addressing the urgent symptoms of human-caused ecological breakdown means we must transform our current ways of doing things. This includes how we feed and house ourselves; build businesses; power our homes and offices; and create products, services and spaces.
Designers can and must play a key role in shaping this transformation, safeguarding our planet’s life-supporting systems, while also meeting fundamental human needs for all members of society. This segment brings together inspiring designers who are pushing boundaries in designing for sustainability at individual and systemic scales, shifting mindsets and behaviours, devising zero-waste materials flows, and decarbonising our built environment.
Segment 1: Design for the Future of Sustainability
What does our digital future look like? This segment brings together the planners, designers, and architects who are shaping a new era of the digital age. In exploring different visions of our digital future and the technologies central to their realisation, we examine what an increasingly digitalised economy and society mean for the future of design, and why design is essential to the future of emerging tech. Learn about existing use cases that could be prototypes of the future, and examine areas in which Singapore’s experience may inform the global digital ecosystem for the future.
Segment 3: Design for the Future of Care
How might we collectively reimagine a thriving future of care, driven by design? This segment brings together provocateurs and pioneers in the world of care. They will discuss care from multiple perspectives and the role of design in connecting these complex layers: beginning with empowering individuals to act on their fitness and well- being; to strengthening communities of care in families, neighbourhoods, and shared interest groups; to creating empathetic care services through the social and healthcare sectors, and finally, driving national-level policy to establish systems of care.
“As Dsg turns 20, there’s no better time than to anticipate what lies ahead to optimise our design efforts today to achieve progress towards better futures. The Design Futures Forum will present the embodiment of Singapore design in a global context, where design is born from a strong sense of creative purpose and crafted for positive impact,” says Dawn Lim, Executive Director of Dsg.
FIND – Design Fair Asia
With over 300 brands exhibiting, FIND – Design Fair Asia returns for its second edition with exciting manufacturers from furniture, lighting, flooring, furnishings, next-gen workspace systems and design collectables.
This year’s edition of FIND – Design Fair Asia will see Yoko Choy, China editor of Wallpaper*, leading the FIND Global Summit along with speakers such as Teo Yang, Artistic Director of the Craft Trend Fair of the Korea Craft & Design Foundation and Jaelle Ang, Co-Founder and CEO of The Great Room.
New to FIND for 2023 is the Italia Geniale, a collection created by Association for Industrial Design, that showcases the most significant materials, objects and artefacts of Italian design icons such as Vespa, Nutella and Sacco.
EMERGE @ FIND
Following its remarkable debut last year, DesignSingapore Council will once again present the Southeast Asian design talent showcase at EMERGE @ FIND. Curated by Suzy Annetta of Design Anthology, this year’s edition will feature the curatorial theme of “CRAFT + INDUSTRY: MAN + MACHINE”.
Over 50 of the region’s most exciting designers will present works exemplifying the diverse spectrum of work produced across the region – from the handmade and crafted, to pure industrial and/or mass production. Visitors can expect to see a mix of returning and new designers from six countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam working across different materials and methods.
Future Impact: Homecoming Showcase
Six of Singapore’s most progressive designers reveal their vision for a better tomorrow through the Future Impact – Homecoming Showcase which debuted at Milan Design Week this April. Curated by Tony Chambers and Maria Cristina Didero, it features the works of Tiffany Loy, Nathan Yong, Forest & Whale, Viewport Studio, Gabriel Tan and Studio Juju.
From furniture and textiles created by Artificial Intelligence, to graphic posters that examine our relationship with nature, these designers marry cutting-edge technologies and poetic storytelling to shape a brighter and more sustainable future for design and production.
This year, SDW will also establish Design Districts as a key highlight of the festival. Each district will reflect the unique character and charm of its community and offer a wealth of immersive design experiences within walking distance. To kick off this new festival offering, SDW 2023 Design Districts will span three key precincts – Bras Basah.Bugis, Marina Bay, and Orchard Road.
In addition to the three key festival commissions, the Bras Basah.Bugis district also plays host to key events such as SDW’s first-ever Friday Late event and the Design Futures Forum at the Drama Centre Theatre.
As the festival hub, the National Design Centre will house an exciting line-up of events including Playground of Possibilities by BLACK; the Future Impact: Homecoming Showcase; the Healthier Me, Happier We exhibition by Centre of Healthcare Innovation, Nanyang Polytechnic, and Tan Tock Seng Hospital; WGSN Big Ideas 2025; Design Our Way Out of Dystopian Futures by Standard Chartered Bank and many more.
LASALLE College of the Arts will host FI&LD by Lekker Architects; and present Encounters 2.0: Practising Innovation, Shaping Futures, while Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) will present the Next of Kin and NAFA x Lam Chuan showcases.
Selegie Arts Centre will be transformed into School of Tomorrow by Kinetic Singapore, while over at Stamford Arts Centre, fellow UNESCO City of Design, Turin, will present Design Assemblies by the Turin Chamber of Commerce and the Polytechnic University of Turin.
The Marina Bay District is anchored by FIND – Design Fair Asia and EMERGE @ FIND at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre.
Around the corner at ArtScience Museum, visitors can join environmentalist, Cesar Jung-Harada, and urbanist, Sarah Mineko Ichioka, in Net Zero Is Not Enough to learn about using regenerative design to achieve greater ecological systems for the future; or visit The Ocean Imagineer’s Studio to see ArtScientist-in-Residence Jung-Harada’s prototypes come to life.
The Red Dot Design Museum will present the most novel and futuristic design concepts at its Red Dot Award: Design Concept Winners Exhibition 2023, which serves as a barometer of what we will see in the future.
Further down at Gardens by the Bay, discover Reimagining Tomorrow: A LASALLE Product Design Showcase developed in partnership with Electrolux; and embark on a newly launched self-guided trail to discover design highlights and other unexpected architectural surprises within the gardens.
Moving to the Orchard Road Design District, immerse yourself in Wunderground, a celebration of retail, art and design, gamified adventures, music and technology at the former Singapore Chinese Girls School at Emerald Hill.
Down the road at Somerset, there is the Made with Passion collection at Design Orchard and Material Matters by Sony exhibition at the Sony Design Centre Asia. Over at Dhoby Ghaut, discover the 1KG Challenge which will display sustainable 3D-printed models from the 1KG public challenge in Singapore and Japan.
The Orchard Design District extends to Claymore Road where there will be an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Singapore’s newest green landmark, Pan Pacific Orchard, by its award-winning architects, WOHA.
Inspired by the festival theme and pillars, the local Design Community will also be presenting over 70 ground-up events ranging from exhibitions, talks and panel discussions to workshops, tours and retail pop ups across the island.
“This year’s festival theme ‘Better by Design’ is especially meaningful, as it truly exemplifies what Singapore design stands for – the desire to always seek to make lives better using design. We are truly excited to work hand-in-hand with our partners, curators, and the wider design community to create a bolder and more immersive festival experience in celebration of the DesignSingapore Council’s 20th anniversary,” says Madeleine Ho, Festival Director of Singapore Design Week 2023.
“Singapore Design Week is a chance for everyone to experience and engage with design up close, and we have always held this mission close to our hearts. From new retail experiences to learning about regenerative design to achieve greater ecological systems for the future, we hope festival goers can immerse themselves and experience how we can make the world better by design!” says Dawn Lim, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council.
For a detailed line-up of events and activities during Singapore Design Week 2023, please refer to the press kit. High res images are also available in the press kit.
Singapore Design Week 2023
21 September to 1 October 2023
About Singapore Design Week
One of Asia’s premier design festivals, Singapore Design Week (SDW) celebrates Singapore’s distinctive brand of creativity, exploring design through three defining festival pillars: Design Futures (the design of the future and the future of design), Design Marketplace (lifestyle trends with a spotlight on Southeast Asia) and Design Impact (innovative solutions for a better world). Organised by DesignSingapore Council, SDW is a celebration of creativity and innovation, championing thought leadership and showcasing the best of design from Singapore and beyond.
For more information, please visit sdw.sg
About the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg)
The DesignSingapore Council’s (Dsg’s) vision is for Singapore to be an innovation- driven economy and a loveable city by design. 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. Dsg is a subsidiary of the Singapore Economic Development Board.
For more information, please visit designsingapore.org.