ABOUT THE DESIGNER
MKPL Architects was established in March 1995 as a firm offering master planning, architecture, landscape, and interior and furniture design to produce holistic design outcomes. Its design philosophy focuses on creating strong, clear architecture forms and spaces that are comfortable and livable, and taps local and regional culture for appropriate solutions and references. MKPL Architects also embraces advances in technology and construction to widen the possibilities for ways in which design and architecture can influence living, and interact with the environment.
The firm’s architects have the underlying conviction that architecture is important to our everyday lives and influences the way we live, work and play. From a broader perspective, the team believes architecture should reflect and even inspire new perception of and appreciation for our physical environment.
MKPL Architects brings a fresh perspective to every design. The architects do so through extensive discussion with clients to understand their needs, and then brainstorming to synthesise these needs into an architecturally strong solution reflecting distinct components and a unifying wholeness. Each design is site and programme-specific while the architecture always reflects the firm’s effort to distil the complex to achieve the simple.
In designing Kent Vale, the MKPL Architects team spelt out a strong visual design statement for guidance. “The design language, with its syntax of the materials, details and form, is articulated to ensure that every team member understands and subscribes to this vision throughout the entire journey of the project, from inception to execution”, says Man Kok, who is also the founder of MKPL Architects.
Some of MKPL Architects’ major projects in Singapore include the Master Plan of Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD); the School of Law for Singapore Management University; HortPark Visitor Centre; Glentrees Condominium and the Singapore Gujarati Bhavan shophouse. Further afield, it has completed the Hong Kong Singapore International School and the Branksome Hall (Asia) International School Campus at Jeju Island, South Korea. Currently, the office is also designing their first public housing project at Bidadari, having completed the Master Plan for the estate.
Analysing the influence the President’s Design Award has had on the Singapore design scene, Man Kok says: “Toasting the best in design is a good way to encourage and nurture design talents. The President’s Design Award is a strong forum to discuss, affirm and instigate design thinking and development. It is a good catalyst to create a virtuous eco-system for all design-related disciplines. Its public outreach programme also serves to educate and propagate good design sense to the general public, which is a necessary process in this virtuous eco-system”.
Advice to emerging designers:
“All designers have the innate ability to synthesise our experiences into our work. The more we are able to do that, the further our collective design conscience will grow.”