Cicada Pte Ltd, Singapore
Established in 1993, Cicada has accumulated an impressive collection of works through the years, drawing from the experience of its founders, Casey Gan and Lim Swe Ting.
Prior to starting the firm, Casey was employed by the Parks and Recreational Department, Ministry of National Department of Singapore and POD/Sasaki (U.S.A). With a Diploma in Ornamental Horticulture and later, a Bachelor of Science from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona, his six years stint in U.S.A. was instrumental in shaping his design thoughts and skills where he developed an exceptional skill in formulating strong design concepts and transforming them into physical reality. He has a strong background in urban, recreational and theme park design and is well-versed in many aspects of project design and management.
Swe Ting had seven years of advance education in U.S.A. in Arts and Landscape Architecture, and subsequently did a one-year architectural studies in London. With her first degree in fine arts, she brings to the practice a different sensitivity due to her extensive exposure.
"There is real delight and peace in immersing ourselves in projects, finding new connections and beauty in unlikely places. It’s also satisfying to be able to make a difference to the quality and sustainability of our built environment that people will enjoy," says Casey and Swe Ting.
Their clients include JTC for landscape master-planning of One North. They were also involved in the landscape design for Hong Kong SkyCity, which is a large business and entertainment complex adjacent to the Hong Kong International Airport, Shanghai’s Xin Tian Di which saw the rebirth of an old district with trendy clubs, restaurants and boutiques, and the MET, a luxurious high-rise condominium located at South Sathorn Road in Bangkok. Local clients include the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Changi International Airport MRT Station and the Singapore Management University. Their landscape work on the Alila Villas Uluwatu project in Bali is a 13.5 hectare development that is poised on an elevated plateau that meets with limestone cliffs sweeping down to the ocean. Casey is also a winner of the 5th SILA (Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects) Design Award Competition. He had also participated in the inaugural Singapore Garden Festival in December 2006.
"Their commitment to the environment and sustainability infuses every project, and they are passionate about convincing clients to commit to designs which are both beautiful and sustainable. We have had the pleasure of working with Cicada on several projects, and it has been without exception a delightful creative relationship, with ideas and concepts flowing fast, possibilities explored and a rapid assimilation of architecture into landscape and landscape back into architecture. Swe Ting’s degree in fine arts brings a sensitivity and appreciation of proportion and arrangement that is increasingly lacking in our word-based culture, while Casey’s experience with theme parks and master-planning brings knowledge of the importance of creating a strong narrative to the concept," says Richard Hassell, Founding Director of WOHA.
Landscape architecture is a multi-disciplinary field that requires the application of geography, engineering, art, technology, horticulture, social sciences, history and philosophy. "Aside from the comprehensive study of both cultural and natural systems, it is important to develop a poetic response to scientific investigations," says Casey.
The firm has been receiving multiple awards for recognition in design excellence and technical accomplishments for both local and overseas projects of different scale. These milestone projects demonstrated Cicada's aptitude in handling projects of different scales and varying briefs.READ MORE
On the global stage, Singaporean design is at a new high. The projects here challenges to think beyond conventional norms.
The essence of superlative design is defined by a poetic response to functional requirements while being culturally sensitive and ecologically sustainable. Design for us at Cicada means a process of understanding and celebrating our relationship with the natural and cultural environments.
Through its radical design approach, Cicada has always encouraged its clients to think beyond conforming norms to create a better project. Receiving the President's Design Award affirms this conviction, that we should continue to push boundaries in the process of creating delightful and experiential landscapes.
For more than a decade, they have shown a steadfast approach, consistency and high quality in their landscape design. They are eager to explore new designs and at the same time, their meticulous attention to details is evident right down to the texture of the pavement. Their project for the renovation of an old town in Shanghai, is one perfect example of all these wonderful attributes, due to the well-balanced collaborative role with the architects. Designers like Casey and Swe Ting, are important for the unique development of beautiful urban landscapes, and therefore, they deserve to be nominated as ‘Designer of the Year’ for 2007 President’s Design Award.VIEW JURORS
Cicada has pushed the boundaries of tropical landscape design due to their wide interest in ecology. By expanding their creative inputs, they are able to work through landscape into much larger and exciting fields.
Cicada is at a sweet spot in their career, having practiced for 14 years, they know how the process works and having the maturity to work with, rather than against constraints, yet they are young enough to still have the energy and an appetite for pushing boundaries. As well as being professional colleagues, they are married and this gives them a strength, commitment, understanding and unity as a team that is rarely encountered.
Cicada's work displays imagination, insight and originality, and their working process has innovation as its core. At every design meeting they wonder out loud "How can we do this in a new way?" - each design is a creative challenge. Their commitment to the environment and sustainability infuses every project, and they are passionate about convincing clients to commit to designs which are both beautiful and sustainable. We have had the pleasure of working with Cicada on several projects, and it has been without exception a delightful creative relationship, with ideas and concepts flowing fast, possibilities explored and a rapid assimilation of architecture into landscape and landscape back into architecture. Swe Ting's degree in fine arts brings a sensitivity and appreciation of proportion and arrangement that is increasingly lacking in our word-based culture, while Casey’s experience with theme parks and master planning brings knowledge of the importance of creating a strong narrative to the concept.
Cicada is an important design team for Singapore, as they are extremely interested in Asian traditional landscape and often incorporate forms, ways of looking, understanding or experiencing landscape, living patterns, cultivation and agriculture, geomancy and attitudes to nature into their beautiful contemporary designs. Their training in the US adds a complete understanding of western traditions, knowledge and technology. Additionally, their deep understanding of architecture facilities an ‘inside-outside’ flow that is of utmost importance in tropical design. This tropical contemporary yet deeply Asian sensibility makes them a designer that exemplifies what Singapore Design can be.
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