Nigel Coates and Hwang Yu-Ning in conversation with moderator Pei-Ru Keh of Wallpaper* at the Brainstorm Design conference in Singapore on Mar. 8, 2018.
Photography by Stefen Chow for Fortune
By DEBBIE YONG March 8, 2018
Grandiose architecture may help to put cities on the global design map, but it is in the spaces in between them that a city is truly nurtured, according to veteran British design Nigel Coates.
As a result, buildings should be in constant dialogue with public spaces, says Coates, the former head of architecture at the U.K.’s Royal College of Art and current director of his own design studio. Along with Tom Dixon and Ron Arad, Coates is often considered one of Britain’s leading designers.
He made the remarks Thursday during a discussion on designing for urban spaces at the Brainstorm Design conference held in Singapore, while presenting projects such as the National Centre of Popular Music in Sheffield (where passageways allow the public to flow through “as though in a pinball machine”) and a high-speed train station in Florence.
By contrast, in Singapore, Coates said, “The architectural bravado is in the buildings and not in its urban spaces.”
Hwang Yu-Ning, chief planner and acting deputy chief executive officer of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), conceded the point. “The spaces in between should have elements of fun and excitement, but we leave the bravado to the architecture.”