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The Decades

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decade_pic11965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

decade_pic21975–1985: Economic Boom

The late 1970s and the early 1980s saw Singapore emerge as an economic powerhouse. On the back of the nation’s economic success the local design industry began to take shape.

In this decade, the entry of foreign multinational corporations such as Philips that invested in design research and development activities heralded the start of an industrial design scene in the country.

As air travel became popular, Singapore became tourism-oriented and started to develop its recreational landscape. The economy was on the upswing with the nation’s growth creating corresponding demand for new lifestyle choices, leading to the flourish of the arts, cultural, and fashion sectors. With the rise in affluence, the private residential and commercial markets expanded too.

This period of growth saw local design houses and architecture practices mushroom. It was an innovative time when the creative impulse was charged with a sense of possibility.

 

Decade-3-Images1985–1995: New Technologies

The late 1980s saw the Singapore economy rebound from the 1985 economic recession to assume an outward orientation and open itself to the world in trade and investment. The Singapore Trade Development Board promoted design to businesses as a tool to create new products and brands with strong market competitiveness. Efforts were made to raise design consciousness and design was beginning to be recognized as a professional practice. This was also a time when several independent design associations were formed. Such formations strengthened the professional identity of designers.

Singapore was modernizing itself to world class standards. The advent of the home computer and the cell phone had already signalled the dawn of the digital information age. Local designers adopted new technology and new modes of working. The sense of progressiveness and openness can be observed in the built environment too. Singapore welcomed foreign architects and global ideas that would in this decade, shape it into a modern city. With increasing appreciation for designed spaces, a local interior design market also emerged at this time.

decade_pic41995–2005: Going Global

The turn of the millennium saw Singapore designers step into the international arena to make a name for themselves overseas. Across all fields, the industry was in full swing: product designers were setting up their own brands, fashion designers were showing and exporting overseas, photographers and visual communication designers were invited to work with international brand names.

With the achievement of international recognition came too, a sense of local design identity and a confidence to explore. On home grounds, a new generation of local architects started to reinterpret traditional typologies. The establishment of the DesignSingapore Council to develop the design sector to help enhance the nation’s value proposition and contribute to the country’s economic growth and quality of life, was yet another turning point in Singapore’s creative industry landscape.

 

decade_pic52005–2015: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Singapore design scene has flourished into a vibrant and dynamic creative culture.

With the advent of Web 2.0, designers are working in an even more fluid, borderless creative environment. This is a time of speed and connection, and the scene abounds with collaborations across disciplines. Entrepreneurship and self-initiated projects break new ground; designers are constantly experimenting and innovating to make things better, faster or simply, more delightful.

In the hive of activity, there is a movement of ‘looking back’. This is set against global trends such as the return of craft; and in a more local context, a ‘return to roots’. The trend is not just about nostalgia, but an active reinvention with an interest to preserve and conserve what has been done in the past. The Singapore design scene has taken on a spirit, a character, and an energy as it looks towards the future.

decade_pic6President’s Design Award Singapore

The President’s Design Award is Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade. Established in 2006, the Award recognises excellence across all design disciplines, including advertising design and visual communications, architecture and urban design, fashion design, furniture design, interior design, landscape design, product and industrial design.

It represents the pinnacle of recognition in Singapore’s design sector and honours the significant achievements and contributions of the nation’s design talents and is awarded to designers who have pushed the envelope to make a significant difference to the community through design that improves the quality of life.

The Award is conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore, and is jointly administered by DesignSingapore Council and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

1975–1985: Economic Boom

The late 1970s and the early 1980s saw Singapore emerge as an economic powerhouse. On the back of the nation’s economic success the local design industry began to take shape.

In this decade, the entry of foreign multinational corporations such as Philips that invested in design research and development activities heralded the start of an industrial design scene in the country.

As air travel became popular, Singapore became tourism-oriented and started to develop its recreational landscape. The economy was on the upswing with the nation’s growth creating corresponding demand for new lifestyle choices, leading to the flourish of the arts, cultural, and fashion sectors. With the rise in affluence, the private residential and commercial markets expanded too.

This period of growth saw local design houses and architecture practices mushroom. It was an innovative time when the creative impulse was charged with a sense of possibility.

 

1985–1995: New Technologies

The late 1980s saw the Singapore economy rebound from the 1985 economic recession to assume an outward orientation and open itself to the world in trade and investment. The Singapore Trade Development Board promoted design to businesses as a tool to create new products and brands with strong market competitiveness. Efforts were made to raise design consciousness and design was beginning to be recognized as a professional practice. This was also a time when several independent design associations were formed. Such formations strengthened the professional identity of designers.

Singapore was modernizing itself to world class standards. The advent of the home computer and the cell phone had already signalled the dawn of the digital information age. Local designers adopted new technology and new modes of working. The sense of progressiveness and openness can be observed in the built environment too. Singapore welcomed foreign architects and global ideas that would in this decade, shape it into a modern city. With increasing appreciation for designed spaces, a local interior design market also emerged at this time.

1995–2005: Going Global

The turn of the millennium saw Singapore designers step into the international arena to make a name for themselves overseas. Across all fields, the industry was in full swing: product designers were setting up their own brands, fashion designers were showing and exporting overseas, photographers and visual communication designers were invited to work with international brand names.

With the achievement of international recognition came too, a sense of local design identity and a confidence to explore. On home grounds, a new generation of local architects started to reinterpret traditional typologies. The establishment of the DesignSingapore Council to develop the design sector to help enhance the nation’s value proposition and contribute to the country’s economic growth and quality of life, was yet another turning point in Singapore’s creative industry landscape.

 

2005–2015: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Singapore design scene has flourished into a vibrant and dynamic creative culture.

With the advent of Web 2.0, designers are working in an even more fluid, borderless creative environment. This is a time of speed and connection, and the scene abounds with collaborations across disciplines. Entrepreneurship and self-initiated projects break new ground; designers are constantly experimenting and innovating to make things better, faster or simply, more delightful.

In the hive of activity, there is a movement of ‘looking back’. This is set against global trends such as the return of craft; and in a more local context, a ‘return to roots’. The trend is not just about nostalgia, but an active reinvention with an interest to preserve and conserve what has been done in the past. The Singapore design scene has taken on a spirit, a character, and an energy as it looks towards the future.

President’s Design Award Singapore

The President’s Design Award is Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade. Established in 2006, the Award recognises excellence across all design disciplines, including advertising design and visual communications, architecture and urban design, fashion design, furniture design, interior design, landscape design, product and industrial design.

It represents the pinnacle of recognition in Singapore’s design sector and honours the significant achievements and contributions of the nation’s design talents and is awarded to designers who have pushed the envelope to make a significant difference to the community through design that improves the quality of life.

The Award is conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore, and is jointly administered by DesignSingapore Council and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

1975–1985: Economic Boom

The late 1970s and the early 1980s saw Singapore emerge as an economic powerhouse. On the back of the nation’s economic success the local design industry began to take shape.

In this decade, the entry of foreign multinational corporations such as Philips that invested in design research and development activities heralded the start of an industrial design scene in the country.

As air travel became popular, Singapore became tourism-oriented and started to develop its recreational landscape. The economy was on the upswing with the nation’s growth creating corresponding demand for new lifestyle choices, leading to the flourish of the arts, cultural, and fashion sectors. With the rise in affluence, the private residential and commercial markets expanded too.

This period of growth saw local design houses and architecture practices mushroom. It was an innovative time when the creative impulse was charged with a sense of possibility.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

1985–1995: New Technologies

The late 1980s saw the Singapore economy rebound from the 1985 economic recession to assume an outward orientation and open itself to the world in trade and investment. The Singapore Trade Development Board promoted design to businesses as a tool to create new products and brands with strong market competitiveness. Efforts were made to raise design consciousness and design was beginning to be recognized as a professional practice. This was also a time when several independent design associations were formed. Such formations strengthened the professional identity of designers.

Singapore was modernizing itself to world class standards. The advent of the home computer and the cell phone had already signalled the dawn of the digital information age. Local designers adopted new technology and new modes of working. The sense of progressiveness and openness can be observed in the built environment too. Singapore welcomed foreign architects and global ideas that would in this decade, shape it into a modern city. With increasing appreciation for designed spaces, a local interior design market also emerged at this time.

1995–2005: Going Global

The turn of the millennium saw Singapore designers step into the international arena to make a name for themselves overseas. Across all fields, the industry was in full swing: product designers were setting up their own brands, fashion designers were showing and exporting overseas, photographers and visual communication designers were invited to work with international brand names.

With the achievement of international recognition came too, a sense of local design identity and a confidence to explore. On home grounds, a new generation of local architects started to reinterpret traditional typologies. The establishment of the DesignSingapore Council to develop the design sector to help enhance the nation’s value proposition and contribute to the country’s economic growth and quality of life, was yet another turning point in Singapore’s creative industry landscape.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

2005–2015: Looking Back, Looking Forward

The Singapore design scene has flourished into a vibrant and dynamic creative culture.

With the advent of Web 2.0, designers are working in an even more fluid, borderless creative environment. This is a time of speed and connection, and the scene abounds with collaborations across disciplines. Entrepreneurship and self-initiated projects break new ground; designers are constantly experimenting and innovating to make things better, faster or simply, more delightful.

In the hive of activity, there is a movement of ‘looking back’. This is set against global trends such as the return of craft; and in a more local context, a ‘return to roots’. The trend is not just about nostalgia, but an active reinvention with an interest to preserve and conserve what has been done in the past. The Singapore design scene has taken on a spirit, a character, and an energy as it looks towards the future.

President’s Design Award Singapore

The President’s Design Award is Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade. Established in 2006, the Award recognises excellence across all design disciplines, including advertising design and visual communications, architecture and urban design, fashion design, furniture design, interior design, landscape design, product and industrial design.

It represents the pinnacle of recognition in Singapore’s design sector and honours the significant achievements and contributions of the nation’s design talents and is awarded to designers who have pushed the envelope to make a significant difference to the community through design that improves the quality of life.

The Award is conferred by the President of the Republic of Singapore, and is jointly administered by DesignSingapore Council and Urban Redevelopment Authority.

                          






                                                                                                         




















































                                                                                    
                                                                                                     
 




























































 
 



























































 

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

                          






                                                                                                         




















































                                                                                    
                                                                                                     
 




























































 
 



























































 

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

                          








                                                                                                         




















































                                                                                    
                                                                                                     
 




























































 
 



























































 

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

                          








                                                                                                         




















































                                                                                    
                                                                                                     
 




























































 
 



























































 

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.

                          










                                                                                                         




















































                                                                                    
                                                                                                     
 




























































 
 



























































 

1965–1975: Building A Nation

Singapore’s early years after independence were a period of nation building. The creative efforts of this period were focused on domestic needs such as providing housing for the population, establishing civic institutions, constructing public buildings, and setting up the infrastructure for a new industrialised economy.

Town planning and building programmes were a keynote of this time, as was the development of a national identity through national symbols such as state emblems and architecture. To equip a workforce for a manufacturing-based economy, vocational institutes that taught craft and technical skills such as commercial art (now known as graphic design), dress-making, woodworking and printing were set up. While there was no ‘design scene’ to speak of in these nascent years, what was laid was the foundation for a city-state that would later support and in turn, be supported by an increasingly vibrant design industry.