Open Call for impactful design projects garners 60 eligible submissions from designers and design enterprises in Singapore
DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) announced today seven projects it will support as part of its Good Design Research (GDR) programme. They were picked from 60 eligible submissions to the GDR’s inaugural Open Call (18 March 2020 - 30 April 2020). GDR will propel Singapore designers and design enterprises to develop innovative and impactful work that can tackle complex global and societal challenges. This will improve the lives of people and the state of businesses and the environment, while enabling designers to develop unique value propositions and highly sought-after products and services globally.
Mark Wee, Executive Director of Dsg, said: “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already grappling with intractable issues such as climate change and ageing, whilst new topics such as well-being will be even more important in a post-COVID world. The world urgently needs bold, and better human-centred innovations and designers have the skills to design for these needed solutions. With our support, Singapore designers will be able to embark on robust design research and experimentation to create unique, human-centred solutions to make life better for local and global communities as we move into this next decade.”
The seven projects – spanning product to service design disciplines – were selected by an evaluation panel, chaired by Mr Wee and made up of panel members with business, technology, and design expertise recognised by the design industry. The projects addressed a range of global and societal issues such as the future of how we work, the issue of inequality and social cohesion, as well as environmental and business sustainability.
“The selected projects identified needs accurately, offered creative solutions, and recognised that the solutions had to be affordable. Research is fundamental to good design, but it requires investment, which is not always possible with smaller design houses. This is where GDR fills the gap. Given time and exposure, good research can be mainstreamed and self-funded by designers and innovators to achieve greater breakthroughs in the design industry,” said evaluation panel member Mr Tai Lee Siang, Executive Director, BuildSG, Building and Construction Authority.
Depending on the nature of the project, Dsg will fund up to S$35,000 each for research and development until the “proof of concept” stage, for a maximum period of 12 months. Each project would also have a mentor, who will provide guidance, from insights to industry connections, to designers of the selected projects. (See Annex A for project details)
“Through our years of working with wood, we have seen a huge gap in the availability of sustainable materials. There are few options viable for small, local businesses when manufacturing furniture in Singapore. With GDR, we’ll be able to work with partners to conduct quantitative research to better understand and utilise local wood, and develop eco-friendly practices and mediums for stabilising local wood. The mentorship by industry veteran Yang Yeo will also be invaluable in providing us different perspectives,” said Mr Morgan Yeo, Director of Roger&Sons, whose project is one of the seven selected.
Apart from funding projects, GDR will hold monthly engagement and sharing sessions, starting in August 2020, that will be open to all designers. The aim is to inspire Singapore designers to embark upon design impact projects by giving them a platform for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities with potential partners, such as digital tech and material innovators or developers of new systems and processes.
A second Open Call is slated for the fourth quarter of 2020. It will invite submissions for projects that look at: a) using design to promote a sense of identity and culture; b) the redesign of current systems and processes to achieve global goals like sustainable development; and c) designs of bold new products, services and experiences through the adoption of technological and digital advancements. The GDR contributes towards Dsg’s mission to strengthen and develop the local design sector so that Singapore can become an innovation-driven economy and loveable city by 2025.