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Chair­man of Sin­gaplu­ral and mar­ket­ing direc­tor of Ewins.

Sin­ga­pore is a good con­duit for Asean de­sign­ers and the global au­di­ence.

Things are re­ally pick­ing up for the de­sign scene in the Asean re­gion, Mark Yong con­fi­dently re­marks. As the mar­ket­ing direc­tor of fur­ni­ture fit­tings com­pany Ewins, his work brings him into con­tact with Euro­pean sup­pli­ers. They started prob­ing him about busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties within South-east Asia a cou­ple of years ago, and in­ter­est has been high. At the same time, com­pa­nies based in our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries are look­ing to Sin­ga­pore as a plat­form to reach out to the global au­di­ence. “I’m like a match­maker now,” he con­fesses jovially.

That is ex­actly what Sin­gaplu­ral, a week­long de­sign event hosted by the Sin­ga­pore Fur­ni­ture In­dus­tries Coun­cil, which show­cases the dif­fer­ent dis­ci­plines of de­sign, aims to do.

“To take Sin­ga­pore’s de­sign to an in­ter­na­tional level, a unique brand­ing is needed. We can­not rely on our for­mer rep­u­ta­tion as orig­i­nal equip­ment man­u­fac­tur­ers, be­cause we’ll lose out in the price game – we need some­thing unique in or­der to com­pete,” says Mark, who is chair­ing Sin­gaplu­ral’s or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee this year.

As the an­chor event of Sin­ga­pore De­sign Week, Sin­gaplu­ral’s fourth edi­tion will see de­sign in­stal­la­tions, talks, tours and ex­hi­bi­tions con­sol­i­dated at a sin­gu­lar venue. It was also de­signed to reach out to the masses and cel­e­brate the beauty of de­sign.

“There’s go­ing to be a real fes­ti­val at­mos­phere down at the site!” Mark quips, re­veal­ing that per­for­mance artists, as well as cre­ative food and bev­er­age ven­dors, will be part of the fes­tiv­ity.

He laments that lo­cal busi­nesses do not yet read­ily in­vest in de­sign to pro­pel their busi­nesses to greater heights, such as those in Ja­pan and South Korea. Yet, he is op­ti­mistic that as the de­sign in­dus­try here ma­tures, it won’t be too long be­fore the public re­spects and ap­pre­ci­ates the essence of de­sign.

ABOVE, LEFT Although Mark grad­u­ated with a busi­ness de­gree, his in­ter­est lies in de­sign, es­pe­cially ty­pog­ra­phy.

text MAVIS ANG photograph­y ZAPHS ZHANG art di­rec­tion YEW XIN YI BE­LOW For­merly the Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion, this iconic build­ing on Beach Road will be home to Sin­gaplu­ral.

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