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SINGAPORE DESIGN FESTIVAL �������

text by Shirley Surya photography by Adelien Vandeweghe unless otherwise credited

Berlin’s third DESIGNMAI ran for 11 days with over 100 events, London’s third Design Festival ran for 2 weeks with over 160 events and an attendance of over 150,000, while Singapore’s first Design Festival ran for 2 weeks with 131 events and an attendance of 50,000 – quite a feat for DesignSingapore Council, though it led to grievances of too many events in too little time. The island’s first official design spectacle, it was a point of watershed that’s worth recalling. Was it a cornucopia of events offering surprises and inspiration, or a surfeit of attempts deliberately pushing design as an agenda?

sulki + min

Rostarr

Amid the visual overdose of images, the works of Sulki+Min done while they were design researchers at Jan Van Eyck Academie (Netherlands) are essentially typographic, with clarity and rationale in their organization and communication. Their works have a strong pull of simplicity, boldness and wit. Sulki+Min may not be a household name, but their attempt to design from a firm belief that graphic design not only goes beyond visual cosmetics, but is a provocative tool for communication, is worthy a model to follow.

Rostarr took the stage presenting his film, made especially for the conference. It’s a riveting 10 minutes as each of his brush stroke unfolds further abstract symbolic forms. Rostarr may be known for working with big names like Nike and Agnes B and whose sculpture, painting and retail products have graced galleries and shops worldwide. But behind these commercial projects, free art remains his love.

Why Yale for further studies in graphic design?

RKY (Romon Kimin Yang): I’m inspired by clouds and micro-organisms underwater that you could only see through the microscope and abstract looking things yet belonging in nature. Nature is the real inspiration. I also like insect-looking people.

Min: I admire the work of Paul Elliman who teaches at Yale. He’s a different kind of graphic designer who’s more conceptually oriented than performance and visual. His designs which are fresh and thought-provoking aren’t only for the eyes, but the mind. Also, unlike Singapore, I consider Korea to be a more homogenous society. As a designer, I need the opportunity to experience different ways of life and cultures. In regard to cultural differences, can graphic design belong to a particular culture, like Asian culture, today? Min: I can’t speak for all of Asia, but I don’t think there is an obvious connection between culture and design. What is obviously cultural in design is only found in traditional design. But that’s unreal to me, because that’s not the way we live now. It’s hard for design to be culture-specific in today’s global village, especially when design itself is the driving force of global culture.

Your paintings are made up of really intriguing forms. What are they based on?

Do you set out knowing what your work will be like? RKY: I start from where I’m building, then I tend to see more into it, having fun with my intuition until I find the right balance, or until I’ve decided when I should finish. It’s mostly an interesting pattern process. Anything else that has influenced your works? RKY: I like combining different techniques, mixing graffiti with classic calligraphy. I love to mix different cultures, such as Arabic, Sanskrit, Chinese and make new meditation and studies of classic Asian arts. What got you into painting as a graphic designer? RKY: I actually got into painting because of graphic design. I was most attached to designing type and corporate logo. I thought it’s a very powerful thing for such a small image to symbolize the company’s philosophy. I took the idea of it being so flat, stretching it out and making it more abstract and expressionistic. I also felt like expanding myself. So I did illustrations and collaborated with others. I’ve to do something different all the time. The art is the love. Design is more about making money really. We love the film that you presented documenting how you paint. At one point, it looks like you’ve just completed something, but you started painting over it again. Why? RKY: I wanted to show the process of layering, and the sense of me dancing, and how diverse I can be. I didn’t plan on 20 different styles. I’m just going with it and trying not to be precious with my art work. So it’s really about letting go of your own work. Even if it gets destroyed, it’s ok ‘cause it’s on film. Documenting is the No. 2 thing in art. The emphasis is on the process. You can’t believe in something that’s not documented.

DesignEDGE 2005 Some would agree with an article entitled ‘DesignEDGE Shows No Edge’ featured on The Jakarta Post, that with the presenters’ lack of effort, there came complaints from those who flew in for a conference that it didn’t go beyond “show and tell”. But with this and other glitches: limited variety of designers represented, workshops not happening as scheduled, we feel that the creative process is still celebrated and explored. Presentations by United Visual Artists showed how software design techniques meet typography rendered in real time and ‘live’ demos of digital graffiti montage by Delta – have faithfully documented the design process. Having veteran designers such as Toyo Ito, Dick Powell, Chris Bangle and Richard Seymour share their sources of inspiration and reveal their thinking process through solving everyday design fault in 15 minute-sketches and Q+A session at the International Design Panel, is also a rich dose of creative insight. Overall, DesignEDGE hosts more returns than iSh can express. Here, iSh brings you a portion through interviews with 4 exceptional designer-artists - Sulki+Min, Rostarr, D-Fuse and Mass Studies. Representing the world of graphic design, art, music, film and architecture, and cross-pollination between disciplines, nations and cultures, their presence at DesignEDGE supplied zest to the design fiesta that brought us to quite an edge.

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Images courtesy of Sulki+min

Graphic design is often seen as a function of decoration one can do with or without, what’s your thought on the relevance of graphic design? Min: I don’t think stylisation is inherently wrong. I just believe that graphic design should add another relevant layer of meaning, to affect different areas rather than just about selling, to facilitate, provoke communication or stimulate debate. For us, we don’t consider the product of our design as a commodity but as a medium through which we discuss. Design can be accidentally beautiful, but creating beauty isn’t our primary goal. In fact, we try to resist the tendency of superficial beautification. So is your design principle based on effective communication and provocation rather than superficial beautification? Min: We strive to base our formal judgment on reasoning but it’s not necessarily perfect. But we believe that all elements should be connected in an organic way. Our resistance just means that we don’t want design to be seductive. It goes back to our belief in design as a medium, not just a goal. So if our design has that quality of having the goal to seduce, we tend to be suspect of it.

Images courtesy of Rostarr

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Minsuk Cho, principal of Mass Studies, is the sole representative for architecture. Having worked at OMA, I ask him how true is it when articles attribute the short life span of OMA staff to Koolhaas’s polemic stand. “Partly true but not entirely,” is his answer, “It’s just a hothouse for young foreign talents who happened to be very ambitious people.” Considering the firm’s shift from more domestic to massive projects of a threesome to a 32-people firm, Cho may’ve been one of those “young foreign talents” representing South Korea’s new breed of architects. To him, culture, architecture and government in Asian cities are at the vanguard of change that’s worth being a part of. What’s the changing attitude toward architecture in Korea?

D-Fuse

Images courtesy of D-fuse

So in what way did things change from something quantitative to qualitative?

D-Fuse is an archetype of today’s cross-discipline and cross-continental sound and video art collective. Known for visual performances with bands like Kryptonale and Scanner, and hold a portfolio with BMW, Nike, and NTT DoCoMo, D-Fuse remains focused in pursuing self-initiated projects that take the medium they work with from the performative to conceptual, through projects like D-Tonate (abstract films sent to musicians to see how their music react to their images) and a film like ‘Brilliant City’. D-Fuse talks to ISH in earnest on what kept them together this far. Their answer: sheer hard work and passion, whether or not you went through design school. So design education doesn’t matter much in the end? KE (Keri Elmsly): One doesn’t learn to be creative ‘cause learning to be creative is a process. We learn as we’re doing it. Though we didn’t go to school for this, we’re now lecturers in art colleges. So we’re a mixture of people who’re naturally talented at what we’re doing, but who also studied design. We aren’t saying that design education isn’t important, it is, but it doesn’t dictate our opportunities. It just works differently for different people. I’m curious how do you cope with pursuing your personal projects when there is no funding from a commercial one? KE: It’s always hard. Sometimes we have to do odd jobs of us works on our own freelance project. What really keeps us together is ideas we have and our willingness to sacrifice for what we want to do based on what we like doing, not just on the demand for our work. In a way it’s a hard road to take, but it’s the free-est one. You can do what you like , but you just got to suffer for it. It’s great to see ‘Brilliant City’ at the conference. That one shot of a woman who seems to be in a farmland but the expanded shot reveals her in a roof garden on top of a tall and massive housing complex is quite a shocking shift from a rural to an urban setting. Any thoughts about the changes you see in China? MK (Matthias Kispert): In a way there’s no simple answer to our personal reflection to that. We did sense a little regret in quiet neighbourhoods being replaced by skyscrapers, and it’s a little reckless in their sweeping of old buildings for new ones, and how money-driven the whole thing can be. But on the other hand, after having visited some of the old housing in the city, we also realized how urbanization have improved people’s lives as living conditions were also poor in the old houses. Any ironic take to the title - ‘Brilliant City’? MK: ‘ meaning.

MC: There was this mechanical, almost engineered process of approaching architecture in a purely quantitative manner. But I think the financial crisis in ’97 was the first time we stopped growing, that made us rethink of what we’ve actually been doing. The mass culture of an ethnically and socially homogenous society also got more diversified. So Korea isn’t the bad stereotype I thought of before. The change is actually happening in a very exciting way.

s nice to know how the title carries another layer of Images courtesy of D-fuse

MC: The Chungmuro Intermedia Playground is one example where the city authority would surprisingly sponsor an activity that usually takes place within the context of a student project. But here, it’s the bureaucrats who sees great spatial potential in a public underground passage and wants to make it into something more. The large-scale apartment project with the developer was similar. It was all about general solutions before, but our approach was not to repeat anything, leading to a very unique approach that addressed more specific conditions.

DesignEDGE was held at Suntec Convention Center from 10-12 November 2005

Mass Studies

It’s interesting how you used the bapsang (Korean side dishes) idea to communicate your design of multiple access points to experience the building like Dalki Ru in different ways. I’m not assuming that your design is Korean, but can architecture be identified to a particular cultural identity? MC: This identity issue has been an obsession for Korean architects or any cultural architects for the last half century, but most of them are quite unsuccessful because they were just obsessed with the literal adaptation of signs. If someone says that there’s a Korean aspect to what we do, I think it’s good. Actually, the majority of my architectural training is in the West, but I’m making a very Asian-conscious effort, especially now that I’m back in this region. I try to be aware of how design can be read from all perspectives. Korean-ness is one of them. But while being aware of these, we also make a joke of it, to create a friction. That’s another way of showing interest in tradition. I’m definitely interested in differences and authenticity, but there’s a lot of common things that’s inevitable. Our work covers a full spectrum of those two opposing forces and in between we find a synthesis. So you don’t mind leaving New York? How long have you been back? MC: 3 years. I don’t mind leaving NYC. I think this is the place, with a lot of new conditions emerging. As a practicing architect, this region is much more exciting; architects are needed and get the chance to contribute to the society in a much larger scale. That phase was over in NYC in the 20th Century. Here, there’s no time to think but just produce. Images courtesy of Mass Studies

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To impart, understand and apply the Italian Design System and Domus Academy’s (DA) “Design as a Project” approach proved quite a challenge within the workshop setting. But considering the system and its approach in the macro context of design in the global market and realising how they factor into making and maintaining Italian design a success, makes it worthy an attempt to apprehend and hopefully be inspired to apply.

Photography by Shirley Surya

As Elena Pacenti (Director of DA Research Center (DARC)) explains, the System is characterized by a “workshopfactory” model where there’s a mix of technical know-how, skilled craftsmanship and creativity of both designers and production industry, in which experimentation and research are key to knowing materials and techniques. Under this model, Italian entrepreneurs actually have the intuition of design as a strategic competitive value in the market. This marriage between design acumen and entrepreneurship explains why Italian design can keep its idealism without being relegated by the bottom-line. “The reason why we can be more idealistic in our design is a luxury as a result of small companies, who are business oriented, but they’re also more comprehensive and open,” adds Mrs. Mazzocchi’s (President of DA). “Design as a Project” approach therefore arises from this ideal system. It’s the attitude for designing anything, through understanding people and giving meaning to every object designed, for the end of making a substantial contribution to the quality of life. It is by extension “making design a fundamental basis of all projects and ways of living today,” explains Mazzocchi.

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While amazed at the crossfire between Francisco, Elena and the students how every critique, new sketch, and creative instinct have led to the final designs in less than 3 days; I recall the difficulty in grasping the ‘Italian’ essence of the system and the approach, and the overall difficulty of assimilating it. So why does DA still share this seemingly non-exportable approach? Francisco’s answer: “In the hope that the approach can slowly generate a change in the system even outside of Italy.” But more than just how their concepts translate in reality, the instructors’ design fervour and innovative thinking demonstrated the passion behind Italian design that will make it hard to emulate. It seems that Italy will continue to produce good design for the sake of dolce vita without losing sight of the rapidly changing world. Good design rooted in deep-research, experimentation, passion, reservoir of knowledge and openness to collaborate will carry Italian market further than industries that spew out copies. Maybe we’ve not digested these much. But we can hope for DA to set up her branch in Singapore, to inspire local designers to see design as part of our lives, thereby creating a system of our own that further cultivates this holistic view and approach to design.

A gigantic frame wrapped with yellow ‘under-construction’ tapes, cubed boxes on a conveyor belt within and the numbers 20/20 seem initially arbitrary, but they arouse enough curiosity for the public to walk through it and for me to ask Jackson Tan of Black Design, curator of this installation, what’s behind it all. Tan’s detailed explanation: “Last year there was only the conveyor belt of cubed boxes. This year, we added the frame with yellow ‘under-construction’ tapes to signify how Singapore’s design culture is going through a similar phase of ‘under-construction’. 20 designers from last year picked the 20 designers this year. Next year, 40 designers from the past 2 years, reflecting continuity and multiplication of design culture, will pick 20 designers. We worked with a cubic form of 20x20cm to represent our perfect vision of what will make up the building blocks of a future vibrant creative culture in Singapore. In total, 2,020 boxes will be given out.” More questions arise - what constitutes the ‘best’ 20? Tan explains ‘best’ refer to those who best capture the spirit of our time, and voting 20 designers each year is more of a vision than a target. 20/20 is a showcase of local designers such as Kwodrent, Designact, Asylum and Clang, spanning from fashion, architecture, product design and graphics. Tan approaches his realisation that Singapore, has a young country, has no burden of tradition which may be good, as it can be open to different thinking while its identity is evolving, but also believing that “being Singaporean in identity would have to be about how our design reflects our living conditions and experiences.”

Singapore The Creative City Forum What is a Creative City? How relevant is it for Singapore to become a Creative City? What is needed to make Singapore a Creative City? How can the built environment contribute to this making? These are the concerns raised at the 1-day forum on “Singapore - The Creative City” as 6 local pioneers from the field of architecture and urban planning shared their bold visions of the city, forming a fertile ground for a lively discussion and firm resolution for participants in the formulation of a broad manifesto. For urban planner, James Chew, a Creative City is “an urban system with all physical, economical and human dimensions working creatively together”, while Richard Hassell of WOHA defines the creative hub as a node on a network where creative information exchange is best in its quality and speed. Though definitions differ, the common thread amongst the speakers, including Professor Tay Kheng Soon and urban planner Wee Chwee Heng, is the recognition that the making of a Creative City requires a multifaceted solution involving all sectors, a bottom-up approach beginning with vibrant people, rather than a top-down approach. “The role of the top can only be on the level of general directions”, as Khoo Peng Beng of ARC Studio elaborated, to set the platform for education, for research, for loosening up of countercreative rules (especially with regard to development and control of urban design which Hassell strongly expressed) for greater flexibility to allow creative rebelliousness, experimentation, collaboration and overcoming risk aversion - which William Lim topped it with this comment: “No risk taken, no real progress, no real change but merely a mindless repetition and revival of tried and tested methods that may have worked in the past but growing increasingly obsolete.” November 2005

Singapore-the Creative City was held at the Drama Center NLB on 22 November 2005

Sounds no different from the Anglo Saxon or universal approach? Francisco Gomez Paz (DA instructor and designer) himself also sees how the approach may not be exclusively Italian, but its nature as a product of the Italian Design System becomes more evident throughout the workshop when students struggle to understand and apply the approach of working from the materials and the meaning of the usage. For Indra Ahmad, who teaches Design & Technology at Tech Whye Secondary School, this difficulty to perceive it rightly is seen from how he thinks Italian designers can design a product without actually considering the need for its demand. “In our context, we design a product to suit the market, where there is a need,” he says. Though Francisco thinks that the participants are “very open-minded in experimenting” with a new approach, he notices the difficulty for some to ensure the link between their concept and their product. Francisco and Elena admit the challenge of how “it’s difficult to teach these things,” to ensure a link between the concept and the final product in 4 days. Especially when the approach comes out of a system as culturally specific as Italy where design pervades all of their lives.

Despite gaps in perception, the creative process remains the highlight for participants as they are assigned to conceive products using leather, carbon fibre resin or rapid prototyping, with respect to the themes of ‘travel’, ‘wear’ or ‘play’. Kelvin Yong, a 3rd year Product and Industrial Student from Temasek Polytechnic, who doesn’t think the Italian Design approach much different from what he already knew, considered the “real takeaway” as having the instructors “share a wealth of design experience, perspectives and opinions.” Sri, a product design student from Singapore Polytechnic who wishes for more time to be ingrained in the Italian system, finds it “insightful” by “mingling with design students and teachers from a variety of backgrounds.” Like any design workshop, being able to collaborate and experiment is a luxury. To conceive a product using unfamiliar materials and new themes in a limited time is both arduous and fun, resulting in designs as out of the world as seats with drums made out of leather of differing tensile, to something as practical as a backpack with an extension of a seat. Other works include a RPT (Rapid Prototyping Technology)-produced light-emitting and image bearing ball, an inflated leather chair that changes color with touch, and a street-furniture for the homeless or the passer-by.

20/20 Designers’ Installation

20/20 exhibition was at the National Library Atrium from 16-18 November 2005

Lighting Furniture Innovation Design workshop is one of the Festival’s many workshops that provide a platform for cross-cultural collaboration and design education for students and practitioners. This time, from the land of dolce vita whose design has claimed the fame for its quality and innovation, a 4-day workshop and conversations with the President and instructors of Italy’s top postgraduate design school, gave ISH the insight of what goes beyond the classroom.

Lighting Furniture Innovation Design with Francesco Gomez Paz and Elena Pacenti of Domus Academy was held at the IDEA Center. Nov 22-25, 2005. 9am-2pm. www.domusacademy.it

Domus Academy workshop

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From your book S, M, L, XL, you seem to endorse “the open work” structure, in which spontaneity and improvisation are enough to ensure a city’s vitality. How should we consider urban planning, especially in the context of a city as organized as Singapore? RK: I’m trying to be very careful, not so much in the political sense, but to be careful that I don’t give information or make statements that are so superficial and heuristic. As I said, we are extremely convinced that there’s no one single way, no left or right. It’s more subtle than that. But I think there’s one interesting universal law, which is the freer you are from power, the more fluid and free the situation is. And I’m sure that in Singapore, if you move away from the part that’s in the center, you’ll find zones with relative freedom that you’ll never expect to have, that are much more open-ended. It’s fascinating how AMO came about as an approach that seems to come out of deep conceptual thinking. Would you tell us the relationship between your theory and practice? RK: I’ve never felt that what I do is just about concepts or theories. I consider it more as a form of writing. The fact that I was a journalist before I was an architect is a very key explanation to all this. So it’s more about writing out everything that we do, not like an up-there theory. But it’s about trying to understand the world. And architecture is somehow an inconvenient medium to do that because it’s so complex. So writing just makes you enter so many different worlds. Can there be Asian design? RK: Identity is one of the most overrated issues and usually a source of anxiety. A project is Asian, in how it’s executed, and its programming, but we can’t say that the results are uniquely Asian. If the Hermitage museum (OMA’s current project in Russia) is a success, it won’t be an issue of EU identity. There seems to be a lack in the ability of design students in Asia in analysing problems? What do you think about that? RK: Education is the relevant issue. The problem with Asia is that there are so many problems, but there’s also too much focus on efficiency, and lacking the time to allow for complexity, when complexity itself is a key component to cultivating creativity.

Rem Koolhaas Photography by Kelley Cheng

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MALCOLM MCLAREN on “Music and the Future” To have the founder of a band that created the punk legacy at the summit is beyond normal expectation. How would someone as polemic as McLaren present a speech in a setting that seeks for optimism and formulas? True enough, he begins on a subversive note by saying that if music has become a money-making endeavour, it has “lost its mystique because it’s become too corporate, owned by ugly people,” he says unabashedly before a largely corporate audience. But beneath his extravagant speech, McLaren seems passionate for the authenticity and art of music. Though he thinks music is on a decline, he’s hopeful with what internet technology offers in creating an interactive web culture where youth can hack new sounds, put them in new context, to create new music not to sell but to share. The talk about the artist also leads him to say his most quoted line: “It’s not enough to bloody fail but to fail flamboyantly, than any kind of benign success” in order to push culture further. This is when the talk about music borders on a moral lesson, which interestingly adds Philosophy as another topic to the summit. Things normalize as he plays 8-bit music samples and projected his new website - Fashionbeast (www.yoox.com) that features more 8-bit artists. He ends by defining culture in two ways: “authenticity” or “karaoke”. The former is about believing in the messy process of creativity, unpopular, sees failure as a noble pursuit; the latter is about being free from responsibility from the moment its performance ends, it’s life by proxy, liberating only by hindsight. Which will you choose? From your speech, you have the sense of being anti-establishment, not in an anarchic sense. I’m curious how you feel about being here in such a conference about ‘Creativity’? MM: Firstly, Singapore is a very strange place. What I’ve heard about it is how it’s a place in which everybody is told that if they’ve done what they’re told, they’ll be all right. So instead of allowing creativity to bloom on its own in society, the government has organized this conference to teach us how we can be cool, or buy cool. But you can’t talk to artists like that. Creativity by the government is a complete contradiction. Artist relishes the possibility of constant irresponsibility. It should change and become a messy place. You can’t create art in a sanitized environment.

For the second year, ResFest makes its only South East Asian stop in Singapore, bringing with it another slate of inspiring films, exhibits and talks. For ISH, it remains a rich visual and musical experience seeing 17 of Beck’s trailblazing music videos and W+K Tokyo Lab’s debut exhibition ASIA.N.OWHERE at White Room. A Res Talk entitled “Culture as Commodity” probes the meaning of developing national identity as a globally marketable content. Res Talk presents how panellists like Nando Costa helps Brazilian designers get exposure abroad through his book and website Brasil Inspired, how Eric Cruz and Gino releases Japanese musicians and artists globally using hybrid expression of music and visuals through their record label company W+K Tokyo Lab. The issue of Singapore’s national identity is also the focus of discussion. ASIA.N.OWHERE – a collection of hybrid-media commercial and fine art works by artists from Korea, Japan and the Philippines were also an exhibition rooted in cultural identity. Gino explains that the exhibit was meant to “inspire other Asian designers to look into their own roots, to see the need to represent where they come from, what they’re about”, especially within a predominantly Western design culture. When asked how Asian identity can be manifested in the graphic medium, he further explains that this “does not mean using the Asian look or motifs just for the sake of it, but it’s about looking toward their own history for inspiration.” Photography by Shirley Surya

Pens and Pixels - by Singapore Illustrators Some describe it as one of the better-looking booths in the entire ADASIA 2005 Exhibit. Based on the concept of a scroll of white paper for the design of one booth, and a black pixel cube for the other, the 20 illustrators represented at ‘Pens & Pixels-by Singapore Illustrators’ have many reasons to be pleased with the setting. Not only is the concept of the paper scroll and the pixel-box apt in representing traditional and digital illustration, the ‘paper’ booth is well-designed with a display case that shows the hard-copies and prints of their works, while inside the pixel box are 3 touch-screen computers where visitors can view their works at the same time having them projected on the walls. ST Leng, one of the illustrators at the booth shared his excitement for having this platform to showcase their works at a venue where there are creative directors of ad agencies. “Instead of going through word-of-mouth and waiting for clients to have heard of you to come to you. Now we can be proactive about presenting and introducing our works to the very people who’ll be hiring us,” says Leng. Their catalogue is also worth mentioning as it’s designed in such a way that each of the 20 artists is represented in the form of a folded paper paint-tube that can be inserted in and out of the catalogue, with their profile, work samples and contact in each ‘tube’. Xavier Teo, Sam Aik, Stan Tan, Momorobo, and Sonny Liew are amongst the 20 names we hope this effort will put on the radar of creative directors.

Photography by Shirley Surya

Pens and Pixels – by Singapore Illustrators was presented in conjunction with AdAsia 2005 exhibition in Suntec Convention Center on 21 Nov-23 Nov 2005.

REM KOOLHAAS on “Creativity and Urban Spaces” A talk on “Creativity and Urban Spaces” by Rem Koolhaas can be an extreme dose to either complicate or stimulate one’s mind on a Tuesday morning. As the first keynote speech about the changing status of architecture and its relationship with the economy, politics, media, and globalisation, it’s a fitting head start for a summit that covers a smorgasbord of creative fields. Koolhaas’s main contention is the need to reinterpret architecture in order for it to survive and participate more in an increasingly deregulated and unstable world. Instead of architecture that “intervenes and cannot abstain”, he calls architects to observe and reflect as “experts of globalisation”. Studies on shopping, poverty and chaos in Lagos, air traffic flows, and rise of youth population are examples of research topics AMO (the research arm of his firm OMA) does in becoming such experts. “Not dedicated necessarily to create buildings, but to apply architectural thinking without obliging to project realization” is what it means to reinterpret architecture, so as to

extend the repertoire of architectural thinking and involve architects into domains they never thought of entering such as broadcasting, education, and politics. Koolhaas subverts and carefully answers questions from the press, always leaving a bit of ambiguity. The following is an edited version of some of his responses at the Press Q+A and the “Future of Asian Design” panel he’s a part of.

ResFest

ResFest took place between 24-27 November 2005 with programs happening at Lee Foundation Theatre, Phuture, Makino and White Room.

Beyond 2005 goes beyond industry boundaries for being Singapore’s first summit to celebrate the Arts, Design and Media. Yasmin Ahmad, Peter Booth Wiley and Martine Sitbon are some of the region’s and world’s innovators from the field of film, publishing, fashion, technology, advertising and many more, convened to address crucial issues facing the creative industries today. The 2-day event is an intense exchange of ideas with unexpected responses from both audience and speakers. ISH highlights the insights of architect-Professorwriter Rem Koolhaas, and founder of Sex Pistols, Malcolm McLaren - two intellectual and creative heavyweights who could stir inspiration and provocation enough to be chosen to open and close the Summit.

Lighting Furniture Innovation Design with Francesco Gomez Paz and Elena Pacenti of Domus Academy was held at the IDEA Center. Nov 22-25, 2005. 9am-2pm. www.domusacademy.it

Beyond 2005: the global summit for creative industries

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Singapore Design Festival 2005: A Report