Designed to shine: The best of Singapore’s design scene
As seen on Mashable, originally published on 1 Feb 2016.
SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD
Singapore has long been considered an up-and-coming destination for design professionals and enthusiasts— its recent UNESCO Creative City of Design accolade bears testimony to its standing and continued ambition. The city-state plays host to a number of influential events, speakers and attractions year-round, paving the way for innovation in disciplines ranging from interior design to furniture design and architecture.
Below, we've outlined a few of the most worthwhile highlights for design buffs when in Singapore.
Focus on design
Singapore Design Week is one of the key design events in the region and offers myriad networking and business collaboration opportunities as well as the exchange of creative ideas across its slate of events. From March 8 to 20, Singapore hosts a mixture of international and local exhibitions, workshops, talks and more, with several activities taking place at the National Design Centre.
MAISON&OBJET ASIA is an interior-design-focused event, curating high-end concepts and interior solutions for today's modern spaces. The event returns to Singapore for a third year from March 8 to 11 and attracts everyone from design gurus to restaurateurs and architects.
SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD
The ongoing exhibition Fifty Years of Singapore Design at the National Design Centre is another notable commemoration of Singaporean innovation. It looks back at the Lion City's vibrant design history and celebrates what's to come in the near future.
Those unfamiliar with design may not quite comprehend how breathtaking and or innovative furniture pieces can be — but the designs showcased at the International Furniture Fair Singapore make the functional yet intricate nature of this art form abundantly clear.
Celebrating the best of contemporary design — from big names like Singaporean homegrown company Asiades to countless other global, premium brands and designers — the IFFS has perfected its displays and exhibits over its three decade-long history and is regarded a premier event in the region.
SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD
As its name suggests, SingaPlural is a showcase with something for everyone interested in various design disciplines, be it advertising, architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, interior design, furniture design, graphic or fashion design. As the anchor event of Singapore Design Week, SingaPlural attracts both foreign and global design professionals and aficionados as well as local talent.
Last year's Project X is a prime example of the mentorship and collaboration opportunities presented at the event: Singaporean brand Lamitak partnered with four local designers and design firms — In Merry Motion, Miun, Tiffany Loy and wynk;collaborative — to incubate installations unique to each designer's style and taste, ranging from simple furniture to pet homes and textured wall treatments. This year promises similar opportunities for local and global talent to connect and create.
Archifest is another event for Singaporeans and visitors alike to look forward to. Spearheaded by the Singapore Institute of Architects, Archifest is a B2C event highlighting installations, talks, workshops and architecture tours, among other events. The 2015 iteration featured screenings of architecture films and shorts, interactive installations, photo showcases, conferences and much more. It will be held from September 28 to 30 this year at the Marina Bay Sands Singapore.
For those interested in fashion design, the Lion City doesn't disappoint. The city-state hosts the popular weeklong Asia Fashion Exchange (AFX) annually.
Among its marquee events are Singapore Fashion Week, featuring the likes of prominent, globally renowned designers, and BLUEPRINT, the fashion trade gateway for East-West Exchange in Asia. This year's BLUEPRINT will be the sixth such iteration of the annual event.
Previous editions of Singapore Fashion Week have seen world-famous designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and, on a local level, Singapore-based label Ong Shunmugam. The brand, which won the Grand Award at the Design for Asian Awards 2013, features delicate Asian aesthetic with modern, edgy undertones.
ORCHARD ROAD BUSINESS ASSOCIATION
Come April, Fashion Steps Out at Orchard is a massive fashion parade that’s a literal traffic-stopper. Orchard Road is converted to a runway, with models sashaying the latest spring/summer collections. Coupled with fashion promotions by retailers, this is Orchard Road’s way of paying tribute to fashion.
Shop Singapore designs
For those keen to pick up true locally designed souvenirs, Naiise stocks a good range of quirky Singapore designer crafts, fashion and homeware. With outlets along Orchard Road at Wheelock Place and Orchard Gateway, visitors can easily pick up Singapore pun-inspired T-shirts, artisan foods and much more.
Beyond Orchard Road, there are a number of high-end fashion retailers and unique stores or workshops to consider paying a visit, too. Supermama, for example, is definitely worth checking out. The space is far more than a simple retail store. Incorporating aspects of an artist's studio, a platform for local design talents, a store and a space where fashion-lovers and designers alike can come to swap insider finds, Supermama is a true oasis.
The kapok Singapore flagship store at the National Design Centre is another hybrid experience, complete with unique offerings and an in-store café. The concept store features both high-end brands and local labels, such as Stolen and In Good Company. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
For those in town for business events at the Suntec City Convention & Exhibition Centre, drop by the newly opened lifestyle store Mporium. The 5,000 square foot boutique stocks fashion and lifestyle accessories by Asian designers. This ranges from clothing from familiar local brands like Yesah, Mae Pang to accessories and lifestyle products like Pomade and other hair products from The Panic Room.
There's no shortage of ways for fashion enthusiasts and design aficionados to explore everything the Lion City has to offer. Whether you're interested in perusing stores, taking a piece of Singaporean design back home or attending one of the many fashion- and design-focused events, there are a host of ways to delve into the booming Singapore design scene.