Date
October 1, 2020
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Selected from 60 eligible submissions to the Good Design Research program’s (GDR) inaugural Open Call, the Design Singapore Council has announced seven projects they will support to propel Singapore designers and design enterprises to develop innovative and impactful work.

With a vision to make Singapore an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025, and with a mission to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design, the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) has announced seven projects it will support as part of its Good Design Research (GDR) programme.

Selected from 60 eligible submissions to the GDR’s inaugural Open Call, the winning projects will propel Singapore designers and design enterprises to develop innovative and impactful work that can tackle complex global and societal challenges. This will improve the lives of people and the state of businesses and the environment while enabling designers to develop unique value propositions and highly sought-after products and services globally. 

Roger and Son woodworking
Roger&Sons work is driven by inquiry and spans disciplines of furniture, industrial, and product design, as well as woodworking – ©Roger&Sons

Because they address a range of global and societal issues such as the future of how we work, the issue of inequality, social cohesion, as well as environmental and business sustainability, a panel of industry experts chaired by Mark Wee, Executive Director of the DesignSingapore Council selected the seven projects of the following designers and design studios.

Roger&Sons – Stabilising local wood sustainably 

Roger&Sons is a team of ethical makers who craft fine furniture and thoughtful objects. Their work is driven by inquiry and spans disciplines: furniture, industrial, and product design, as well as woodworking.

The team also spearheads The Local Tree Project—an initiative that salvages trees that have been felled for urban development.

It rehabilitates these abandoned logs by turning them into durable, future-proof objects and furniture. Roger&Sons will undertake research and development to better understand and utilise local wood.

This entails the development of sustainable and eco-friendly processes and mediums to mitigate challenges encountered in the utilisation of local wood. Through this project, Roger&Sons hopes to raise awareness and pave the way for Singaporeans to make better use of local resources

Curious to know more about design in Singapore? Don’t miss Canvas House: a Singaporean poem of past, present and future crafted in an all-white palette.

Produce Workshop – Sandwiched Variable Eggcrate Structure 

Produce Workshop is a design studio and workshop, that develops and creates designs of objects and spaces, for city living. Produce Workshop’s research will study mass engineered timber as a construction material. The Sandwiched Variable Eggcrate Structure is one such mass engineered timber that has been conceptualised by Produce Workshop.

Driven by the desire to advance current construction methods using renewable sources, Produce Workshop endeavours to further reduce material used, shorten production lead time, and minimise man-hours on-site with the Sandwiched Variable Eggcrate Structure, thereby creating a more efficient, greener, and safer building system.

The project research will cover the environmental and economic benefits of employing prefabricated construction methods as well as the development of a circular economy of mass engineered timber production in Singapore. 

Procedure Workshop structure
Produce Workshop’s The Sandwiched Variable Eggcrate Structure studies mass engineered timber as a construction material – ©Produce.Workshop

Forest & Whale – Sustainable food packaging for takeaway & food delivery systems 

A design consultancy that envisions design as an agent of change, through material innovation, sustainability-focused products and systems, social design, and education Forest & Whale will look at ways to reduce single-use plastic containers used in food delivery and takeaway models through exploring a spectrum of solutions.

By experimenting with new materials, the project proposes to design better, user-centric reusable food containers for takeaway; create novel, water-soluble or compostable food packaging solutions to close the loop on product life cycles; and design a hybrid product solution that comprises a shared system of reusable containers to deliver food while maintaining hygiene. 

Forest and Whale
Forest & Whale’s project will look at ways to reduce single-use plastic containers used in food delivery and takeaway models through exploring a spectrum of solutions – ©Forest and Whale

Edmund Zhang and Esli Ee – Offcut Factory

Offcut Factory is an initiative by industrial designers Edmund Zhang and Esli Ee. Edmund is formally trained in industrial design but believes that design is inherently multi-disciplinary and that good design cuts across boundaries. He is interested in unravelling the nuances of user behaviour to craft thoughtful stories.

Esli operates at the boundaries of design’s tangibility. An industrial designer at heart, he is intrigued by the rapid paradigm shift from traditional to physical approaches in service ecosystems. His work explores the delicate balance between the two.   

The project seeks to foster a spirit of sustainability by transforming waste “offcuts” into a source material, thereby showcasing the local manufacturing industry and revitalising it for the modern contemporary market. As part of the project, Offcut Factory will also be engaging with craftsmen and technicians from these factories to produce a collection of small, desirable home and lifestyle objects that are made from the offcuts sourced. 

GINLEE Studio – Made in Shop

A design-led multidisciplinary fashion company that focuses on the explorations of textile, form, fit and function of the clothing which it designs, GINLEE Studio’s vision is to make clothes that have the same level of design recognition as other forms of design, such as product and architecture.

The research project ‘Made in Shop’ aims to address two key challenges faced by the fashion industry in excess stock/over manufacturing and the evolution of consumer preferences against traditional brick and mortar stores.

In response to these challenges, the project proposes to create a new on-demand and on-the-spot manufacturing solution that is both sustainable and engaging for consumers. This involves the redesign of its pleat manufacturing process and design that allows the creation of multiple sizes from a single sized material source. 

GinLee fabrics
GINLEE Studio’s ‘Made in Shop’ project proposes to create a new on-demand and on-the-spot manufacturing solution that is both sustainable and engaging for consumers – ©GINLEE Studio

Agency – So Near, Yet So Far

Agency is a human-centered design practice with extensive experience in consulting, coaching, and advising organisations. It strives to solve complex challenges using the lens of design strategy. Their project will look at enabling trust, connection, and productivity in our new reality of remote work.

COVID-19 is one of the most severe crises in the world – and Singapore – has faced in recent times. The impact it has had on the way we live and work has been enormous. This 3-month design research, due to culminate in October 2020, will uncover the opportunities for design by understanding the struggles and successes of Singaporean individuals and organisations adapting to new ways of living and working.

How might we move from reacting to a new normal? Post research phase, Agency curated a suite of tools for organisations wanting to explore how to make changes in light of the new normal, while the third and final phase will see a workshop test and share these tools, to address the current, near, and far-future needs of Singaporeans. 

Agency design tools
Agency curated a suite of tools for organisations wanting to explore how to make changes in light of the new normal – ©AGENCY Singapore

Common Ground – Designing communities for sustained and inclusive growth 

Common Ground is a civic facility that seeks to facilitate the critical partnership between people, public and private sectors. It aims to design and implement relevant social innovations that can address issues of pressing national concerns. Their project will look at how the diversity of people who live in Singapore’s dense urban infrastructures often form communities that could live isolated lives, or in conflict with different cultures. 

Common Ground’s vision is to bridge the public and private sectors to facilitate social innovation for pressing national concerns. With this project, they hope to study the human systems in a community, diagnose emotional and narrative energies and develop a strategy to most effectively bring social good into the community via community design

If you want to know some of the initiatives that is making Singapore an innovative city through design, don’t miss Singapore’s Walk-Cycle-Ride plan for better mass public transport.

Common Ground
Common Ground’s vision is to bridge the public and private sectors to facilitate social innovation for pressing national concerns – ©Common Ground

“Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already grappling with intractable issues such as climate change and aging, whilst new topics such as well-being will be even more important in a post-COVID world. The world urgently needs bold, and better human-centered innovations, and designers have the skills to design for these needed solutions. With our support, Singapore designers will be able to embark on robust design research and experimentation to create unique, human-centered solutions to make life better for local and global communities as we move into this next decade.” 

Mark Wee, Executive Director of Dsg

Depending on the nature of the project, Dsg will fund up to S$35,000 each for research and development until the “proof of concept” stage, for a maximum period of 12 months. Each project would also have a mentor, who will provide guidance, from insights to industry connections, to designers of the selected projects. 

The next round of Good Design Research will be open for submissions 13 October – 10 November 2020. Applicants must be practising designers with three years of working experience or more at the time of application; design enterprises that have been incorporated in Singapore for three years or more at the time of application; and the lead applicant must be a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident.

Further information on the Good Design Research initiative are available on the official website.

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