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Press Release

Singapore designers reveal their vision for a better future at Milan Design Week

13 min read
Bastioni di Porta Venezia where Future Impact is held

Six of Singapore’s most progressive design talent will present fresh works that advance sustainability through cutting-edge technologies

Singapore, March 24, 2023 – DesignSingapore Council brings local design to the global stage with the exhibition Future Impact at Milan Design Week, the world’s largest design event. Opening to the public from 18 to 23 April 2023, Future Impact celebrates our city’s forward-looking design and its positive impact on everyday life.

Co-curated by global design thought-leader and consultant, Tony Chambers, and Milan-based author and curator, Maria Cristina Didero, Future Impact spotlights Singapore as a hub of innovation and creativity, in which impactful design solutions and technology intertwine to shape a brighter future while emphasising the urgent need for sustainability in design and production today.

Six of Singapore’s most talented and imaginative designers will share their unique vision for a shared global future. Forward-thinking solutions that employ cutting-edge technologies and poetic story-telling have been created by the featured designers: Forest & Whale, Gabriel Tan, Nathan Yong, Studio Juju, Tiffany Loy and Viewport Studio.

Future Impact will debut six new works, displayed at the historic and iconic location, Casa del Pane (Bastioni di Porta Venezia). The venue acts as a fittingly dramatic backdrop for the showcase, and is a nod to the future as it will be transformed into the new home of the Museo dell’Arte Digitale come 2025.

Tony Chambers, co-curator, says, “Singapore has been a hotbed of progressive design talent for many years, and I am delighted to help bring this message to a global audience during Milan Design Week. I’m confident that Future Impact will also leave its own positive and lasting impression.”

“The contemporary design scene in Singapore shines with an innovative and futuristic spirit. A distinct economic, social, and political landscape for Asia and beyond, Singapore has built an independent and thriving cultural scene, which is now presented in Milan to showcase the ability of the local designers in connecting the most uplifting sustainable products with the latest available technologies. The participation of six of the most prominent Singaporean studios with never-seen-before projects at Future Impact presents the opportunity to discover new perspectives and visions, as well as the possibility to envision our own global future,” says co-curator Maria Cristina Didero.

Dawn Lim, DesignSingapore Council Executive Director says, “Singapore is known as a futuristic and visionary city. Our design therefore has its own creative slant – innovative, transformative and impactful to make lives, cities and the world better by design. The DesignSingapore Council is proud to showcase Future Impact at Milan Design Week with these forward-looking designers. Their breadth of work represents how Singapore design can contribute positively toward issues such as sustainability, the evolution of craft and the role of technology in design.”

The designers and works featured in Future Impact are:

Nathan Yong – Bent Onyx
Photos by: Nathan Yong Design

Multidisciplinary designer Nathan Yong presents Bent Onyx, a bridge between the past and future, traditional craft and technological innovation to sculpt Onyx, one of the most fragile and brittle natural stones.

Yong uses a patented technology that reduces the surplus waste created during the production process of making Onyx furniture and interior objects. Blocks are thinly sliced into sheets and then laminated to create dramatic new shapes and volumes, thus positively impacting the amount of material use, protecting the stone for future generational use.

Studio Juju – OO Collection
Photos by: Khoo Guojie and Studio Juju

OO Collection, designed by Studio Juju, is a collection of five sculptural objects characterised by circular holes. Abstract in their function, the familiar and ubiquitous holes punctuate the pieces, leaving one to imagine their purpose. The pieces are constructed entirely from Dekton (Pietra Kode series), a sophisticated, high-performance, ultracompact stone slab material by Cosentino that has achieved carbon neutrality for its entire life cycle.

Gabriel Tan – Aiming for Peace: The Carnation Lamp
Photos by: Inês Sá and Gabriel Tan Studio

Aiming for Peace is a floor and pendant lamp that carries both a sense of hope and poignancy. Inspired by the Flower Power movement – the flower triumphs over conflict and becomes an iconic symbol of non-violence and harmony. Amidst our current global climate of division and strife, this lamp is a beacon of light amid chaos.

Composed of an ash wood base made from furniture production byproducts, a recycled steel pipe stem, and a 3D printed lampshade made of raw material derived from recycled plastic bottles, the lamp uses a low energy 2.5W LED source.

AIRLAB (Architectural Intelligence Research Lab) led by Professor Carlos Bañón of the Singapore University of Technology and Design provided valuable expertise in the additive manufacturing development and production of the lampshades.

Tiffany Loy – Building Futures Line by Line
Photos by: Studio Periphery and Tiffany Loy

Textile designer Tiffany Loy teams up with SUTD’s DManD (Singapore University of Technology and Design’s Digital Manufacturing and Design Centre) to explore advanced automated textile construction as a means of additive manufacturing.

Despite their time-honoured existence and association with craft, weaving and knitting have been consistently rejuvenated with digital accompaniments such as software and automation of hardware. Fuelled by fervent designers such as Loy and researchers at DmanD, the domain of coding for complex textile construction is growing.

This collaboration explores the construction of multi-material, pliable 3D forms, filling a gap in the current world of 3D printed options. Textile construction methods allow material properties to be retained in the final product, unlike 3D printing processes which are often restricted by types of fusible materials used. Any material in the form of the pliable line can be woven or knitted into a 3D form. With this starting point, Loy and the team at DmanD explore an imagined future of a world built with lines.

Viewport Studio – Rinnovare
Photos by: Viewport Studio

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) still in its infancy, Viewport Studio was keen to look at how it may change design in the future – particularly in relation to sustainability.

The studio has produced two sculptural room divider screens made from waste metal parts from their ongoing collaboration with Italian manufacturer Equilibri. One is designed via conversations directly with the manufacturer and the other via conversations with an AI (Chat GPT). Viewport Studio will let the viewers decide for themselves which approach they prefer and leave room for reflection on the usefulness of AI at this moment and in the future. 

Forest & Whale – Wallflower
Photos by: Michelle Mantel, Dju-Lian Chng and Forest & Whale

Forest & Whale are a design duo with a focus on circular systems, social care and future envisioning. Their project, Wallflower, is an interactive wall poster that transforms seeds into art, imbuing them with constant presence and visibility in our living environment. Composed of multicoloured tesserae, these colour chips, embedded with seeds, can be torn off, planted and grown into herbs. As more chips are used, the artwork evolves, growing smaller until it finally disappears, leaving no waste behind. Wallflower rethinks the philosophy of gardening and is a subtle daily reminder for us to rekindle our relationship with nature.   

In collaboration with Fab.Pub, Forest & Whale designed a limited edition of vases that will be 3D printed onsite using a clay-based filament. With a surface that undulates and ripples like plant roots, the herb vessels elevate the visual form of the ubiquitous pot into a taller silhouette, drawing intention to the ritual of kitchen gardening. Visitors to the installation will witness the growing of herbs and terracotta vessels at the same time.

Future Impact

Casa del Pane
Casello Daziario Ovest di Porta Venezia
Corso Venezia, 63
20121 Milano

Exhibition runs from 18 to 23 April 2023           
10am to 7pm daily        
Free admission  

About the Curators

Tony Chambers is a Creative Director, Design Consultant and Editor. He is the founder of creative agency TC & Friends and co-founder, with artist Ryan Gander, of OTOMOTO – the design, art and ideas platform. He is the editor and creative director of the definitive monograph of designer Paul Smith published by Phaidon and the Co-Chair of Brainstorm Design, Fortune magazine’s design & business conference. From 2003 to 2018 Tony served as Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director of Wallpaper* magazine, for which he still contributes. He also served as Art Director of British GQ and Art Editor of The Sunday Times Magazine. He has twice been named the PPA Designer of the Year and twice Editor of the Year by the BSME. He is a recipient of the Mark Boxer Award for outstanding services to the Publishing Industry – the most prestigious honour in British publishing.

Maria Cristina Didero is an independent design curator, author, and consultant. She has collaborated with magazines including Domus, Vogue Italia, Apartamento and was editor-at-large of ICON Design from 2018 to 2020. She currently holds the role of Milan editor for Wallpaper magazine. Maria Cristina has contributed to many publications and collaborated with companies such as Vitra, Fritz Hansen, Lexus, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Valextra among others. Based in Milan, she works internationally, curating exhibitions for institutions, fairs and events dedicated to design. She has worked for Vitra Design Museum for 14 years, while some of her recent projects include The System of Objects (with Andreas Angelidakis) at Deste Foundation, Athens; Nendo: The Space in Between and The Conversation Show at the Holon Design Museum, Israel; Snarkitecture’s FUN HOUSE at the National Building Museum, Washington D.C.; SuperDesign (NY) a project on radical Italian design that includes an exhibition, a book for Monacelli Press and a film; Vegan Design – or the Art of Reduction by Erez Nevi and The Fish and The Crowd by Carlo Massoud for Milan Design Week. Recently, in 2021, she was part of the curatorial team chosen by Stefano Boeri for Supersalone where she oversaw the public program, in 2022 she was appointed curatorial director of the Design Miami/ fair and she presented a project at the MK&G in Hamburg entitled Ask Me If I Believe in the Future.

For full bios as well as high-res images of designers and their works, please see the Future Impact press kit here.

About the DesignSingapore Council

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
Doreen Ang

Edelman for DesignSingapore Council
Senior Manager

D +65 9091 6561

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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