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DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE
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M A L A Y S I A
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/ WWW.DESIGNANDARCHITECTURE.COM / / ISSUE 107. 2018 â&#x20AC;¢ S$8 /
TAI KWUN CENTRE FOR HERITAGE & ARTS HERZOG & DE MEURON
U-THANT PLACE RT+Q ARCHITECTS
BULGARI HOTEL SHANGHAI ANTONIO CITTERIO PATRICIA VIEL
TAIPEI NANSHAN PLAZA MITSUBISHI JISHO SEKKEI
ARCHITECTURE FOR THE SILVER GENERATION HOW THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT SHOULD ADAPT
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/ WORDS LOW SHI PING, IMAGES ED REEVE /
ENCORE,PLEASE This hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design deserves a standing ovation.
et in Londonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s West End, the recently-opened Hotel Indigo naturally took its design cues from the exciting theatre scene of the 1930s, courtesy of the studio Michaelis Boyd.
The dark, moody entrance is a brief transition from the iconic Leicester Square into the intimate, art-deco inspired lobby where rich blue velvet and gold banquettes sit by reclaimed vintage cinema seats.
Theatrical lighting is adopted throughout the hotel. There are golden shell-shaped sconces and lightboxes with theatre messages. Michaelis Boyd created three categories for the guestrooms. Each reflects the different stages and points of view of the theatre experience. Scriptwriter mimics a playwrightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study, with drafts of scripts framed as artwork; Backstage resembles an actorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dressing room with spotlights, ropes and glamorous mirrors; Auditorium looks like a private theatre box. Michaelis Boyd has provided both neighbourhood context and coherence in this project, and will receive no complaints from this critic.
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/ WORDS LOW SHI PING
RESPECTFULLY YOURS Many hands came together to create this mixed-use development in Taipei.
ravel around Asia and it is common to see people place their hands together in a sign of peace, gratitude and respect. These were the messages Nanshan Life Insurance wanted to send out, when it approved the design of the Taipei Nanshan Plaza, conceptualised by architecture firm Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei. A mixed-use development located beside Taipei 101 in the Taiwanese city, it is made up
of a 272m-tall tower, retail annex and multipurpose cultural hall. Viewed from the side, the tower evokes the image of a pair of hands placed with palms facing each other, expressing the insurance company’s wish of good health and peace for its clients. At the same time, it also looks like a soaring peak, referencing its name, which means “southern mountain”, and is a utopia mentioned in a piece of Chinese poetry.
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/1 Taipei Nanshan Plaza stands beside the Taipei 101 and is quietly respectful of the latter’s iconic status. Image: Nan Shan Life Insurance /2 The façade of the retail annex has a screen with a plum blossom motif, which is Taiwan’s national flower. When lit at night, its silver colour appears gold. Image: Shinkenchiku-sha /3 Three large cubes stacked atop each other make up the retail annex, mimicking the layering of hands. Image: Shinkenchiku-sha
The tower is occupied primarily by offices, with the top three floors leased out to restaurants that capitalise on the dramatic views out to the city. On the rooftop sits a bar – the first of its kind in Taipei – offering a glamorous crown to this tower. Given its scale and location, Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei knew that Taipei Nanshan Plaza would dramatically alter the skyline of the city. After all, it is found in the Xinyi district that is popular among tourists and is a business and commercial centre too. It stands on the grounds of a former trade centre, with a long and thin shape measuring 100m by 270m.
Mitsubishi Jisho Sekkei won a government-led competition to partner on the project with Nanshan Life Insurance, which has a 50-year lease from the government and was tasked to re-energise the district. Since the Plaza is beside the iconic Taipei 101, the architects knew they also had to complement the latter, while fitting in to the existing context. Aside from the tower, it also included a more human-scale retail annex and cultural hall – both of which draw on the same analogy of hands – flanking it, and providing a horizontal link to the neighbourhood.
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/ WORDS MICHELE KOH MOROLLO
NEW LEASE OF LIFE A cluster of important historical buildings in Hong Kong undergoes adaptive reuse under the hands of Herzog & de Meuron to become a heritage and arts complex.
n Hong Kong’s densely packed, bustling Central and Western District, an important 14,500m2 site that has been vacant since 2006 now sees new life as a historical and cultural oasis within the heart of the city. Built in 1841, this compound, which sits on valuable hillside real estate in between the city’s vibrant nightlife hub of Lan Kwai Fong, the commercial streets of Soho, the Central
business district, and Mid-Levels residential area, was formerly the British colony’s main police station, magistracy, and the Victoria Prison. Commissioned by the Hong Kong Jockey Club, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, and christened Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage & Art, the revitalised, 27,000m2 compound is the largest restoration project ever undertaken in Hong Kong.
/ IMAGES IWAN BAAN
The new volumes cantilever above the walls of the heritage buildings, keeping a minimum distance to the adjacent structures, and maximising the buildable floor area.
The old prison buildings are concealed behind the wall, while the new aluminium-clad buildings rise up to establish a new relationship to the site.
SOMETHING OLD The Centre, which took close to eight years and approximately S$665 million to build, consists of two large courtyards, 16 carefullyconserved heritage buildings, and two new, bold and modern volumes that rise over the old prison walls. The old and new spaces and outdoor areas are all linked by walkways and sculptural concrete staircases. Set to become a hub for musical and theatre performances, and home to commercial art galleries such as Tai Kwun Contemporary, as well as non-profit art spaces, the Centre includes two large courtyards – the Parade Ground, and the Prison Yard – that offer the rare opportunity to create social, performance or exhibition spaces outdoors in a compact and dense urban area. “Our goal is to preserve the openness and distinct character of both [courtyards] and to re-activate them for public use as a new type of urban found space. These spaces will define the site physically and programmatically as places of gathering, cultural exchange, leisure, and respite,” says Jacques Herzog, one of Herzog de Meuron’s founders.
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Several of the site’s historic buildings are located along the perimeter of the Parade Ground, which was conceived as a formal, public recreation and events space that offers direct access to the restaurants and shops on the premises. The Prison Yard was transformed into an open public space dedicated to cultural programmes. SOMETHING NEW Two new volumes – one wing located along Old Bailey Street, and the other
along Arbuthnot Street – contain a gallery with a contemporary art space, called JC Contemporary, and an auditorium for the performing arts, film screenings and educational events, called JC Cube. Both are clad in recycled cast aluminium “brick” units that give their façades a richly textured, almost futuristic appearance. “The specific porosity, patterning, and expression of the facade unit is informed by the functional and environmental requirements of the uses within.
New public and circulation spaces are created between the heritage buildings to bring them even closer to each other.
Staircases connecting the old and new spaces are kept in their original, fair-faced concrete finish and appear like enormous sculptures.
1 Block 14 2 Block 51 (Arbuthnot Wing) 3 Block 15 4 Block 50 (Old Bailey Wing) 5 Block 17 6 Laundry yard 7 Reception 8 Ticketing 9 Lift 10 Lounge 11 Bar area 12 Event space 13 Lobby
The materiality of the cast aluminium units will have a distinctive roughness and texture breaking down the facade surface, which helps to reduce the reflectivity and glare during the daytime,” says Herzog. “At night, light emitted from the building will be partially screened by the facade units, expressing the life of activities within but without creating light pollution.” Tightly inserted within the granite walls of the existing colonial structures, the two new metallic volumes rise up amid the old historical buildings, providing dramatic contrast, while at the same time grounding the heritage structures better in their 21st century context. “By cantilevering above the walls and keeping a minimum distance to the
adjacent structures, the buildable floor area is maximised while staying within the zoning envelope, and at the same time creating protective offsets from the surrounding historical buildings,” explains Herzog. The buildings of the former police station sit on either street level, or above the compound’s granite walls and can be seen from beyond the boundaries of the compound. The prison buildings on the other hand are hidden behind the walls. The new aluminium-clad volumes neither assert their authority like the police buildings, nor shy away from the city like the prison buildings, but instead establish a new relationship to the site by hovering just above the wall.
/ HOSPITALITY /
/ WORDS JULIANA LOH
AN ITALIAN IN SHANGHAI Piero Lissoniâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s latest hotel, The Middle House is a masterpiece where Italian aesthetics meet Chinese sensibilities.
The lobby of The Middle House more closely resembles the library of a private abode, than a hotel.
White Porcelain Robe by Caroline Cheng is the feature artwork in the lobby, adding a touch of bling to the space.
he sprawling new HKRI Taikoo Hui mixed-use complex in the heart of the Jing’an financial district is home to The Middle House. The fourth hotel in The House Collective – Swire Hotels’ arm of individual luxury hotels – designed by Piero Lissoni, it cues little details that remind travellers familiar with the other “Houses”. The bamboo façade at the entrance that creates a sense of privacy is reminiscent of Kengo Kuma’s The Opposite House in Beijing. Lattice screen dividers with repetitive delicate Chinese motifs and broody dark wood interiors draws a similarity to Make Architect’s The Temple House in Chengdu. The intimate, cocooned corridors hugged by curved wood panels recall the intimacy of Andre Fu’s The Upper House in Hong Kong. “The Middle House is a room open to Shanghai’s life, a way of being that is both contemporary and classic,” says Lissoni. “As you enter the door, you immediately breathe the history of the city and, through the design, I sought to bring tranquillity and sensuality in dialogue with this cosmopolitan metropolis.” Stepping into the hotel lobby, one is greeted by an ornate Venetian glass chandelier by China-based Italian artist Fabio Zanchi hanging tall (pictured left).
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Framing it are two-storey-high walls made up of handmade green ceramic tiles, each piece with bamboo details that gives the walls a textured finish. This grandiose welcome captures the spirit of modern-day Shanghai: one that pays homage to traditional Chinese artistry as well as the decadent European influences in the city’s illustrious history. Alison Pickett, Swire Hotels’ art consultant, has thoughtfully curated ceramic art pieces that complement Lissoni’s design. Alongside them are modern remakes of Chinese furniture pieces in his signature style, representative of today’s modern China.
Modern European is married with touches of Chinese elements in Café Grey Deluxe.
International art works add pops of colour and personality to the Café.
/ HOSPITALITY /
Contemporary Chinese artworks adorn the rooms, such as bird cages often seen along the old lane ways of Shanghai.
Lattice screen dividers with repetitive delicate Chinese motifs divide the living and bedroom in the Residences.
The bathroom in the Residence offers backlit mirrors and floor-toceiling windows in the shower cabin.
Like a puzzle, it all fits, nothing is jarringly out of place; but rather an eclectic mix, paying homage to the crafts and aesthetics of Italy and China. “The idea behind the interior design is based on a combination of different expressive forms, especially in the lobby with the Venetian chandelier,” he says. “Stylistic features that are typical of the history and culture of local crafts are placed in relation to contemporary elements to generate an attractive spatial equilibrium.” In the rooms and apartment residences, Lissoni’s signature combination of bold lines and an elegant colour palette take centrestage. Contemporary Chinese artworks adorn each room – from bird cages often seen along the old lane ways of Shanghai, to ceramic vases – contrasting with leather couches and dark wood panelling that gives an intimate vibe. Lissoni also took the liberty to create modern reinterpretations of traditional Chinese
furniture from the Oriental-style nightstands to table lamps. Floor-to-ceiling windows afford the rooms plenty of light contrasting against the dark, sexy tiles of the bathroom. This is illuminated with backlit walls and glazed screens as a space division, adding to the cocoon of luxury in the spacious rooms that start at a generous 50m2, culminating with the Penthouse occupying a generous 660m2. “The colour palette throughout the hotel provides the atmosphere of an elegant and calm oasis. As an example, the oval staircase, a sculptural feature designed for the hotel, is made of black metal plate, an industrial material. “The staircase has been combined with the warmth of oak wood, while the stair void is completely clad with handmade bricks, a reference to local tradition reinterpreted in a contemporary language,” he points out. This serves to connect the public areas to the restaurants.
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/ WORDS PEARLIE TAN
TREADING LIGHTLY IN THE SAND A low-impact luxury lodge in the Namibian desert demonstrates how sustainable objectives can be met through conscientious, creative design.
Ten unique lodges are situated in the remote desert dunes of the Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia. Image: Shawn van Eeden
Each cabin resembles a shipwrecked hull in the sand and features timber cladding and round porthole windows.
estled in the ever-shifting desert dunes of the Skeleton Coast National Park in north-west Namibia, a row of wooden cabins might be mistaken for overturned hulls in the sand. This imagery is familiar along the treacherous coastline; the shore is littered with the rusty corpses of hundreds of wrecked ships from over the centuries. Set in this barren, magnetic landscape, the Shipwreck Lodge is a refuge from the
relentless winds and thick fog. Designed to evoke broken pieces of ships, the 10 luxury cabins and restaurant were completed in June 2018. The vision of architect Nina Maritz was â&#x20AC;&#x153;to capture the sense of harshness and desolation that shipwrecked passengers and sailors experienced in earlier timesâ&#x20AC;?. Although the forms are abstracted, the slanted timber cladding, curved external spars and porthole windows resemble the hull and bow of a ship, listing on its side.
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SOMETHING UNEXPECTED Step inside the lodge, and the experience is like coming home after a long and gruelling journey. The pitched ceilings, handwoven textiles and wood-burning stove create an intimate, welcoming sanctuary. Each cabin comprises a light-filled bedroom with mesmerising views and a bathroom in a pointed bow section. Tactile timber interiors, polished brass fittings and knotted ropes add a nautical touch. From conception to construction, Maritz was mindful of the project’s ecological footprint as they were working in a sensitive environment in an extremely remote location. The lodge was built within the Puros and Sesfontein Conservancies, where wildlife conservation and environmental protection are managed by indigenous communities.
The development has been made possible through a 25-year concession contract between the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and three Namibian operators (Trip Travel, Journeys Namibia and Natural Selection Safaris), which has shaped the project in terms of strict sustainability guidelines. Critical to the design was the lodge’s limited concession period, after which the installations will need to be fully removed. “It would be hubristic to say (we made) zero environmental impact,” remarks the Namibian architect. “But within the constraints of available technology, skills and finances in Namibia, we went all the way to prevent impact.”
The design and construction had to follow strict sustainability criteria due to the sensitive, protected environment. Image: Shawn van Eeden
From Karakul wool carpets and chandeliers made from recycled glass, luxury furnishings have been made locally in Namibia. Image: Michael Turek
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Unconventional angles and exposed wooden beams create the sensation of being in a listing boat. Image: Michael Turek 1. deck 2. bedroom 3. link 4. bathroom
Designer Melanie van der Merwe spent a year sourcing bespoke furnishings to create the nautical look and feel. Image: Shawn van Eeden
GUEST CABIN - GROUND FLOOR PLAN
SUSTAINABLE ARCHITECTURE The decision was made to prefabricate the LignoLoc wooden nails, which are driven cabins and restaurant, which would minimise into solid structural timber. 2m 0 These measures would also allow the site impact, require less transport and reduce CROSS SECTION THROUGH BEDROOM structure to be removed at the end of the construction waste. To withstand the gruelling conditions, 25-year concession period. The lodge is sustained on solar timber structures needed to be highly resistant power, with 144 photovoltaic panels to wind and salt. Sturdy panels in South African pine, installed on the roofs of the back-of-house spruce and OSB were pre-manufactured in containers. Gas is used for cooking while the capital, Windhoek, transported 12 hours water comes from a borehole in the dry to the site and assembled by a small team of Hoarusib riverbed. To create the timeless, luxurious skilled contractors. Essential back-of-house facilities including ambiance of the lodges, interior designer staff accommodation were customised from Melanie van der Merwe sought out local artisans and custom-made furnishings. shipping containers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Guests need to feel carried away into In their endeavour to employ sustainable methods and materials, the team used thermal another world, another time, another place.â&#x20AC;? insulation made from recycled PET bottles and she says.
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/ WORDS NIZAR MUSA
TOKYO X SAIGON Building in tropical Vietnam through the eyes of an explorative Japanese architect.
A permeable concrete roof and façade animates the Binh Thanh house’s landscaped interior with its play of light and shadow.
ne would think that after a four-year stint in Osaka, and Tadao Ando’s luminary practice, Tokyo-born and trained Shunri Nishizawa might return to his native metropolitan environs to ply his trade. On the contrary, he packed his bags and sought out, quite literally, the greener pastures of a developing Vietnam. “I was interested in the possibility of an Asian livelihood, philosophy and architecture, and to deepen that understanding meant to practice abroad,” Nishizawa recollects. A potential collaboration with Vo Trong Nghia, a close friend and fellow Tokyo University alumnus, offered precisely that overseas exposure. The rest is history. Fast forward 10 years, and now helming NishizawaArchitects in Ho Chi Minh City, the Japanese architect boasts an impressive portfolio, predominantly housing with select pieces of commercial and industrial work. The buildings are of a contemporary style; qualities of structural minimalism and daylight are prevalent, a nod to Ando’s influence. Yet, Nishizawa’s designs bear his distinctive trademark. The Binh Thanh and Thong houses, with their permutations of permeable shading devices, are defined by voluminous spaces courtesy of staggered concrete planes. “Big openings and high ceilings are natural when we think about space in the tropics,” he remarks. Two mainstays of tropical architecture, shallow pools and an abundance of foliage, complement his structured forms. And while that green-fingered sensitivity is part-passion (he had seen himself a gardener earlier on), it is also part-learned, stemming from weekend excursions to Kyoto’s famous temples and gardens only 30 minutes away from Osaka. He explains, “For our ancestors, both buildings and gardens mediate between humans and nature. And sometimes, they even blend into each other.” There is more to his firm’s work than just concrete and planting. “We don’t have any specific materials that we stick to. We always try to find the essences of a site, not merely creating or attaching to it our own language,” he emphasizes.
Nishizawa’s approach to sustainable building is reflected in pragmatic construction, using locally-sourced and readily available materials, such as timber and corrugated iron, to create highly contextual insertions such as this one in the house in Chau Doc.
He cites the Ben Thanh restaurant, a pizza place which has Japanese twists on Italian fare that are enhanced by a rugged yet refined interior; terrazzo flooring, steel fencing, tempered jalousie windows and red bricks are all sourced from the original colonial building and its surroundings. This approach of materials by locale is conveyed in a poetic and salient house in Chau Doc, a culturally diverse border town of rice fields and shanty houses lining the Hau Giang River. Constructed entirely from locallysourced timber and corrugate, the linked domicile is defined by a cadence of wooden structures, supporting roofs designed to cascade light into a multi-tiered and airy modern interior. On street front and back end, large corrugated panels pivot and hinge to control light and wind, simultaneously buffering the house during harsh monsoons. There is also the sensitivity towards the community, mostly of low income, and shaping their perceptions of what good building can be.
“Although we felt here a beautiful balance of nature and human intelligence, the locals on the other hand could only dream of a mega-city lifestyle. Some were even ashamed of their homes being a symbol of poverty,” says Nishizawa. “Through a thorough study of context, we tried to interpret and insert a contemporary architecture (in a way) the locals could appreciate.” Thinking back to that initial impetus to leave his homeland, Nishizawa muses, “Overall, I feel practicing here has helped me gain a relative understanding of architecture, and life in general, in Vietnam, Japan and Asia.” His practice remains one of constant study, underscored by a recent collaboration with the University of Shiga Prefecture into the research of local housing in the Mekong Delta, which he says “offers us a lot of hints towards understanding Asian architecture”. It is a dedication – this continued search to find possibilities of how buildings, human life and nature can achieve equilibrium – that can only be commended.
/ BEST PRACTICE /
/ WORDS LOW SHI PING
LEARNING FROM OTHERS As we round up 2018 and look forward to 2019, we hear from two architects about some of the interesting best practices they picked up in the past year.
When I travel to Australia, I seldom see homes install grills despite security issues. I realise that instead, they use a powder-coated, woven, stainless-steel mesh panel. This is strong and unlike grills, cannot be pried apart or easily cut up. Further, depending on the size of mesh, it keeps pests and some insects out. When it is sunny, it cuts the glare of sunlight like a shading filter. The best thing is, despite these security and shading qualities, the scale of the mesh weave is fine, so that it does not impede the views out of the window, but acts like a layer of film instead. In the tropics, we often resort to keeping glass windows open for natural ventilation but worry about pests and security. Alternatively, we might use clunky grills and louver
strips that interrupt our views out, but are secure and ensure the safety of children and pets. The stainless-steel weave panel is a way around this and still maintains a contemporary outlook. We have used this technique in a few of the residences we have designed – most recently at a good class bungalow in Bukit Timah (pictured opposite and below). Here, we paired a parallel imported sliding glass door system with the stainless-steel weave panel system. As the height, width and integrity of the systems are robust, the end result is a design that is precise and clean, while allowing us to maintain strong visual connections to the surrounding lush gardens and landscape.
WU YEN YEN, Principal Architect, Genome Architects
Hong Kong, being one of the top shopping designations in Asia, does not take its shopping malls as business as usual. Much innovation and consideration have been put into the design of new shopping malls and upgrading of existing ones to meet the latest trends in green and healthy lifestyles. The Hong Kong Green Shop Guide, published by the Hong Kong Green Building Council (at which I am the Director), provides guidance on the best practice for green shopping malls and shops. One of them is around thermal comfort and energy use. When anyone entering a shopping mall needs to wear an extra piece of clothing even when the weather is hot, this means energy is wasted on excessive air-conditioning. Hybrid ventilation is a good strategy to make use of natural ventilation when the weather permits. Shopping malls designed with this concept will have air-conditioning and mechanical ventilation systems provided with
operable vents and windows. Air-conditioning will be used when natural ventilation is not effective in achieving thermal comfort due to weather conditions. On weather-permitting days, the use of natural ventilation will decrease energy use due to the reduced use of air-conditioning. Suitable openings can be placed at strategic locations to enable natural air flow into and throughout the shopping mall. Long shopping arcades fully packed with shops on either side should have breaks so that windows can be introduced to enhance natural air flow. This is evident in the Hysan Place (pictured left) and Double Cove (pictured above) development in Hong Kong, where hybrid ventilation concept is embodied in their shopping mall design.
MARY CHAN Head of Sustainable Building Research and Assistant Director, DLN Architects / First winner of Women in Green Building Leadership Award (Asia Pacific Leadership in Green Building Awards 2018), spearheaded by AkzoNobel
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/ WORDS LOW SHI PING
AND IT’S A WRAP From intellectual discourse to innovative perspectives of modern urban spaces, Design Affair was a celebration of the design and architecture industries.
s the clichés goes, “When one door closes, another one opens”. On 10 October, Archifest 2018 came to its conclusion, but it also heralded the opening of d+a’s inaugural event, Design Affair. The joint function – a first of its kind – was hosted at Millenia Walk and welcomed guests, delegates and partners of Archifest, the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA) and d+a. Thank-you speeches were delivered by Festival Director Yann Follain, who is also Managing DirectorHead of Design of WY-TO, and SIA President Seah Chee Huang.
GARDEN PAVILION The launch of Design Affair was marked by the unveiling of an exhibition held at the Great Hall from 10 to 21 October. Named the Garden Pavilion, the octagonal-shaped space was conceptualised by Dess Chew, Principal Designer of three-d conceptwerke. Inside it, Chew worked with Commune to deconstruct a pair of Rover end tables, from its latest collection of the same name. These were arranged in an abstract pattern and mounted on a panel, provoking questions about the everchanging, multi-faceted face of Nature and the environment.
Two panels away was the display by Efenz, showcasing the Kith collection. Chew chose to give it a twist by displaying these specially-designed-for-Singapore fans on a vertical wall. Their lightweight yet highly efficient forms were then wrapped with greencoloured paper cut in the shape of leaves, to evoke the idea of oversized flowers blooming in a concrete jungle. Helping to further develop the idea of a garden was artist Siti, who is behind papercrafter KaraHop. Flowers, leaves and butterflies â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the latter made from past issues of d+a â&#x20AC;&#x201C; covered the exhibition space. Siti says she garnered inspiration from the vibrant colours and eclectic art mediums in Tokyo, Japan, specifically an art backdrop at Yoyogi Village. In the middle of the Pavilion were five stools from Cosentino for visitors to sit on and enjoy the installations. Made from Silestone and fabricated by Stiles Hub, they took on a shape similar to the roof above the Great Hall. Also contributing to the festivities on the evening of the launch was V-Zug, which served coffee from a machine it installed in the Pavilion. Guests went home with a tote bag each, sponsored by Franke.
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FORUM DISCUSSION A second component of Design Affair was the Forum Discussion, held on 18 October at the beautifully-designed Commune Flagship Store in Millenia Walk. Architects and industry partners gathered in the afternoon to listen to six panellists discuss the topic “Sustainability in Urbanisation: Fact or Fiction?”. This was a particularly pertinent issue to raise since earlier in the month, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had produced a report to say we must reduce the maximum amount of carbon pollution as quickly as possible. If temperatures are allowed to rise by another 2 degrees Celsius, there will be no coral reefs left, flora and fauna will go extinct, and the Arctic will be devoid of ice in summer at least once every decade. The Forum was moderated by Mark Wee, Executive Director of the DesignSingapore Council, who shared, “At first glance, sustainability in urbanisation seems to be a possibility and even an imperative. But is it? Are these two words an oxymoron? What have we done so far and are they truly helping?” After a question-and-answer session, guests were treated to food and coffee sponsored by V-Zug. The Swiss kitchen appliance brand brought along a pop-up kitchen and had chefs Russell Misso and Natalie Eng prepare savoury and sweet canapes respectively. At the end of the event, guests left with a tote bag, again sponsored by Franke. From all of us at d+a, thank you for contributing to making Design Affair a resounding success.
SOUNDBITES FROM THE FORUM DISCUSSION
CHAN HUI MIN, Director, DP Architects “While we are in a rush to house the huge growing population in the urban environment, what is going to be stressed is heritage. We could argue conservation is a sustainable venture because we are recycling the structure, reducing waste, and tackling the human aspect by addressing social/community needs. These we do by strengthening that sense of belonging, and heightening the sense of well-being, which is why we have this whole discussion about sustainability in the first place.”
FELIX RASPALL, Assistant Professor, Singapore University of Technology and Design “The problem of sustainability is a multidisciplinary problem. We are supporting its solution by offering a university education structured in a way that allows students and researchers to allow the boundaries for the communication and discussions to be dissolved…We have pillars, not departments, and these work towards the common goal of creating leaders, knowledge and an institution that tackle problems that are beyond one specific thing.”
NEIL WALMSLEY, City and transport planning specialist, Arup
HENRY STEED, Founder, ICN Design “What are we trying to do when we green a city? To get closer to nature. But do you want to get that close to nature? It’s a place of death, blood, animals eating each other, falling trees and volcanoes. We want dragonflies and butterflies and not mosquitoes and crawly bugs…Landscape maintenance is really about holding back nature from doing what it wants to do i.e. turn a city into a jungle…Are we sustainable? Not yet, not really. Should we give it up? No. We should keep going even if we don’t really understand what it means; we have an infantile approach to the subject at the moment.”
“Sustainability is concerned with the social, economic and environmental. These are often competing with each other. For example, is it sustainable to reclaim land for public spaces? Cities need to have a long-term plan, clear vision spatially, fiscally and in terms of time, an open mind to keep up with changes, effective governance systems (formally and informally), and authentic leaders to find right path in going the right direction.”
STEPHAN KELLER, Director Development Division - R&D, V-Zug
JOSE CARLOS ARANTZ, Knowledge Management Manager, Cosentino
“We are a company that sells luxury appliances but there are a lot of dimensions that can be addressed from a sustainability standpoint. For instance, we can apply technology to bring down the consumption of energy in each appliance. In doing so, we can push forward these technologies to get regulators to implement the idea across the industry… Another point is from the manufacturing process. We have a master plan to build an energy-neutral factory by 2033. This is our way of contributing to sustainability.”
“When we mine stone, we have to think about what to do with the quarry…It is an issue of circularity. When we use a glass to drink water, we need to think about what to do with it when it is broken. This same idea is applicable to the way we do business. It can be sustainable if we do it properly. We have a social responsibility towards the community to do the right thing.”
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HELD IN CONJUNCTION WITH
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A NEW ERA / WORDS LOW SHI PING
In the built environment, grilles are installed for security reasons. But they can also be used to achieve an aggressive aesthetic – as is the case with the new, seventh-generation Lexus ES, that was recently launched in Singapore. Yasuhiro Sakakibara, the marque’s Chief Engineer, acknowledges its inclusion is controversial, but it does not change the fact that behind the spindles is a mid-size luxury sedan that uses the new Global Architecture–K (GA-K) platform.
This has evolved its design to a whole new level, permitting a lower hood line, which gives the car a unique form with a bold, downward slant, creating a dynamic yet fluid silhouette. Sakakibara says, “When you look at the new ES you instinctively know it’s sporty. In fact, you might even say that we designed the car to look like it’s moving even when it’s parked. It has that kind of feel, presence and emotion.” How’s that for the power of design?
The Epitome of Natural Wind
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