The Singapore designers committed to creating environments that are both liveable and commercially viable
Our ability to develop and deploy design solutions is fundamental to our survival. We often admire companies such as Airbnb, Apple and Dyson, and think of such innovators as having the ability to change lives. However, design innovation to create a successful nation is a challenge on another scale. And Singapore is leading the way.
Since arriving in Singapore from Silicon Valley seven years ago, I have seen how incredible creative energy and capital have been harnessed to transform the country. It may well be the greatest legacy of the country’s first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, who demonstrated how to approach the challenges that confront a changing world, and how to do so in a commercially effective way. He insisted that a great idea alone is not enough, that innovation happens only when people adopt a vision. For that reason, Singapore’s modern design approach is based on perpetual learning. The solutions that have produced the success of Singapore today may not be applicable tomorrow, which means evolving creativity is a premium. As Dr Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Design Masterplan Committee (DMC), points out, ‘Design can play a significant role in the future economy of Singapore. It is an important driver of innovation and value creation. It can also add vibrancy and richness to our national identity.’
The vision of the DMC is to help Singapore make better use of design to drive innovation and growth. The creatives profiled here are all fine exemplars of this approach. Their work shows a commercial yet humane approach to design in harmony with Singapore’s commitment to creating environments that are both liveable and commercially viable.