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Uncovering creativity in your own backyard is the order of the day. In an era where the creative economy is gaining a foothold in the Gross Domestic Product, recognition and exposure differentiate the good and the better.

In its third year running, the President’s Design Award raises the design bar in the local Singapore scene. In a mindset where local talent is only deemed successful when applauded overseas, the President’s Design Award looks set to change that viewpoint. It is since grown into a milestone for significant achievements in various fields of local design, ranging from product design, architecture, urban design, interior design, visual communications to fashion.

As always, this year sees an array of awards in various fields. In particular, this year’s three Designers of the year offer have pushed the boundaries of their design field, presenting spectacular designs that affect the way we perceive, live, work and play.

President's Design Award 2008
Edmund Wee – Epigram © MICA

“Without Design, everything is would be an accident. Design is important for change.”

It has been a journey for the founder of Epigram design Agency which was started in a spare bedroom. From psychologist, journalist to designer, Edmund turns the often banal annual report into a branding exercise that communicates and extends a brand into a personal, witty interaction.

“It starts from the desire to make things beautiful or better in order to engage or touch the viewer… more is less. Make your words sing. Let your pictures shine.”

President's Design Award 2008
Wong Mun Summ and Richard Hassell – WOHA Architects © MICA

“Maybe 100 and 200 years from now, Singapore will be talked about in the same way people talk about Paris and New York … as long as we don’t tear the good buildings down.”

Bringing delight to everyday experiences, WOHA has since become synonymous with the conversations on local architecture. Started in 1994 by its two principle architects, it has grown to contribute to both beautiful crafting of both public and private spaces. Dialogues with materials, conversations of spaces, create a diverse array of experiences in the city. Never resting on their laurels, the team constantly hone their craft through new experiences.

“Every place has opportunities and weaknesses… We should take advantage of the opportunities, and address the weakness by making sure we always bring our knowledge of local history, tradition, culture and living patterns to make unique architecture impossible to replicate elsewhere.”

President's Design Award 2008
Nathan Yong – Air Division Pte Ltd © MICA

“I take into consideration crucial aspects in order of importance according to the design brief, then change the arrangement until the result is an amalgamation of intelligence from the distillation of informed choices.”

Starting off with the vision to be “as famous as Philip Stark,” this self-made furniture designer established his brand Air in 1999. Collaborating with overseas designers when the local furniture design scene was in its infancy, Nathan brought innovation to a new level, incorporating product development, manufacturing, materiality and retail concept through Air Division.

“Design is like acting, it takes a lot of practice and errors to perfect the craft.”

2008 President’s Design Award Exhibition
Date: From now till 28th February, 2009
Opening Hours: 9:00 – 19:00 (Saturday till 17:00)
Closed on Sundays
Place: The URA Centre Atrium
Address: 45 Maxwell Road, Singapore 069118

Text: Fann ZJ

[Help wanted] Inviting volunteer staff / pro bono for contribution and translation. Please e-mail to us.