SINGAPORE: A record number of 139 nominations were received for the President’s Design Award this year with the highest honour accorded to designers and design projects.
A final thirteen received honours, from fields as diverse as architecture, advertising and product design.
The prestigious Designer of the Year award went to four individuals this year for a portfolio of creative works throughout their career.
One of them is Tan Cheng Siong, the visionary behind Pandan Valley, Singapore’s first condominium.
Mr Tan said: "In those days, government made an analysis and said, ’look, if you want to have such a big city, where are you going to get all the land to make people live in bungalows.’
"So they decided very bravely and said, ’ok, let’s do condominiums.’ And that’s how Pandan Valley became the first condominium in Singapore."
"Our mission was to convince people that you can live equally comfortably in condos instead of landed properties," he added.
The President’s Design Award honours Singaporean designers like Mr Tan, who have dared to challenge the status quo.
Mr Tan added: "In the earlier days, the idea of art, the idea of good design, never came. To developers, to investors, good design means make more money, that’s all.
"Design must come in to give us a higher type of value for society. That’s why I’m so pleased throughout the years, architecture students, architects, even now investors, are appreciative of good buildings.
"People are now asking whether that building should be preserved. That’s quite flattering to me."
The Design of the Year Award also went to Yang Yeo, the brainchild behind award—winning advertisements, including the Adidas Beijing Olympic campaign and a Samsonite advertisement that was hailed as the most—awarded print advertisement of all time.
The other two recipients were Hanson Ho, one of Singapore’s top graphic designers, and Voon Wong, who designed Virgin Atlantic’s aircraft cabin in his most recent project.
But it was not just architecture —— the awards were given to a further nine projects from a wide range of disciplines.
Hans Tan, designer of porcelain vases that were inspired by Peranakan designs with a contemporary twist, said: "What I did here was applying synthetic sticker dots on existing Peranakan wares. After sand—blasting I remove the stickers, revealing this contrasting nature of the glazed dots and the white as the background. I thought this was a good opportunity to work on something local to give it a contemporary context."
The award recognises designs that are not just innovative, but also practical.
For example, a pair of football boots designed by Sonny Lim that was created to prevent ankle injuries. Both the position and shape of these studs ensures maximum stability for the footballer when playing the sport.
Another breakthrough technology awarded was the team behind an interactive touch—screen PC from Dell, designed to be clutter—free and simple to use.
Chan Wai Lim, lead designer of the Dell all—in—one desktop PC, said: "The key message is simple —— to have a simple, clutter—free look, that doesn’t have details that distract the user."
With the contributions of these Singaporean designers both locally and abroad, Robert Tomlin, chairman of the President’s Design Award 2012 Steering Committee said that Singapore is well—poised to compete as a global city for design.
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