A photograph of the speakers at Singapore design week

Singapore Design Week set to showcase excellence and diversity of southeast Asian design

Promotion: over 50 events will take place during Singapore Design Week in September 2022, which presents a range of exhibitions, workshops and talks made possible by over 200 designers and creatives.

Organised by DesignSingapore Council, Singapore Design Week (SDW) is one of Asia's largest design festivals, which returns this September after a two-year hiatus to present the "best of design from Singapore and beyond".

The design week aims to showcase Singapore's "distinct brand of creativity" and takes place from 16 to 25 September 2022.

AI generated image
Image generated by WOMBO Dream, an AI-powered platform

"We are excited to unveil the brand new Singapore Design Week which will grow recognition of our UNESCO Creative City of Design as a leading design hub, establish our design thought leadership, and raise awareness of the value of design," said executive director of DesignSingapore Council, Dawn Lim.

"Our designers have an immense amount of talent and creative courage that we can champion, and we hope that festival goers will come away with genuine inspiration, meaningful connections and a new perspective on what Singapore design stands for."

"The two-year hiatus was a good time to hit the refresh button," also commented SDW 2022 festival director Mark Wee. "We deliberated on a stronger festival vision and how we could carve a distinctive and enduring niche by focusing on Singapore's design strengths."

The 10-day event will explore design through three main themes: Design Futures, Design Marketplace and Design Impact.

Design curator and author Paola Antonelli
Design curator and author Paola Antonelli has developed the Design Futures Symposium. Image by Marton Perlaki

Design Futures will be focused on the future of design and design of the future. This theme specifically explores design through the lens of forward-looking Singapore, "where a more positive future is prototyped for Singapore and the world," according to the event organisers.

Design Futures will be anchored by the Design Futures Symposium titled Agency for the Future: Design and the Quest for a Better World.

Developed by MoMA curator Paola Antonelli, the symposium aims to examine the critical ways in which design is fundamental to a sustainable future.

Topics include design approaches to complexity, prototypes and systems, regenerative design, and designing for global and local challenges, such as ageing populations, urbanisation and climate change.

Singapore Design Festival speakers
Curator Paola Antonelli has assembled a lineup of distinguished designers and thinkers for the Design Futures Symposium

"Agency for the Future: Design and the Quest for a Better World, points to a dual meaning," said Antonelli. "On the one hand, it highlights Singapore's unique approach, based on modelling, prototyping, testing, and perfecting solutions for preferable futures, as in a design process. On the other hand, it points to individual citizens and their ability and responsibility. Who has agency to determine and build the future? It is not only official bodies or corporations; agency lies in each of us, through the decisions we make and the actions we take every day."

"Informed and sensitive design can help us address complexity, so we can fine-tune our behaviours and optimise the power of our decisions and actions," Antonelli continued.

Singapore Design Festival
FIND will convene the largest selected collection of interior brands, key opinion leaders, designers and content from both East and West. Image by Stefano Boeri Interiors

Design Marketplace presents a range of events, including Asia's news and largest design trade fair, FIND – Design Fair Asia in addition to a range of talks from international designers.

FIND explores global lifestyle trends with a focus on the fast-growing Southeast Asian region.

As part of FIND, DesignSingapore Council and event brand Dmg Events will present a first-of-its-kind Southeast Asian design talent showcase called [email protected] that spotlights new work of over 50 established and emerging designers from Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, which focuses around the theme of materiality.

The objects on show include a lamp and chair created by Bandung-based designer Adhi Nugraha that are made from reprocessed cow dung and a lighting collection created from bio-waste by Filipino designer Stanley Ruiz.

Abstract design as part of Singapore Design Festival
The event returns after a two-year hiatus to showcase the "best of design from Singapore and beyond". Log Bench Seats by Alvin Tjitrowirjo

"I see [email protected] as a unique opportunity to bring together some of Southeast Asia's most exciting designers – from recent graduates to more established names," said curator of [email protected], Suzy Annetta.

"Through their work, curated by their choice of material exploration and execution, I hope to showcase and celebrate the diverse range of processes and practices that continue to develop in the region."

Design Impact will showcase a range of impactful solutions that aim to tackle society's biggest issues through design and includes a range of pop-ups and exhibitions.

Image by Forest & Whale
Reuse Lab's local take on the KeepCup named KopiCup, which references a cultural icon in Singapore – upcycled milk tin cans as takeaway packaging for drinks. Image by Forest & Whale

Curated by design studio WY-TO, the Good Design Research pop-up exhibition will present the positive impact of good design through research and features prototypes by over 20 Singapore designers.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to experience some of Singapore's most "outstanding and impactful" designs through the President's Design Award (PDA) Tours, which debuts during the week. PDA is Singapore's highest honour for design projects and designers.

Colourful installation
Creators of the Desa Potato Head creative village in Bali present a regenerative design showcase that spans architecture, design, art, food and fashion

Singapore's National Design Centre (NDC) will also be transformed into a regenerative design showcase named N*thing is Possible, which celebrates "re-use, re-cycle, re-craft and re-live".

The event, which will be curated by hospitality brand Potato Head and Dutch architecture studio OMA, will present a range of experiences that span architecture, music, design, art, fashion and food.

On show will be works by Japanese architecture studio Kengo Kuma, British designer Max Lamb, design studio Toogood Design, environmental consultancy Eco Mantra and design studio Futura.

A chair designed by Max Lamb
A chair designed by Max Lamb and handcrafted by the artisans of Kalpa Taru in Bali is made from 100 per cent recycled plastic household waste. Image by Potato Head.

"Radical sustainability is woven into Potato Head's DNA," said Potato Head founder Ronald Akili. "We serve up sustainability in an appealing way, and hope to inspire our guests to adopt an earth-friendly lifestyle by showing how beautifully it can be done without compromise."

"We believe in sharing our learnings because this is the way to create that ripple effect," Akili continued.

Throughout the week there will also be "vibrant district activations" such as #FashTag at Raffles City – a fashion-focused takeover presented by fashion and creative director Daniel Boy, and Re-Route at Little India, a placemaking festival by award-winning Plus Collaboratives.

To learn more about Singapore Design Week, visit its website.

Top composite image of speakers includes portraits of (clockwise from top left): Paola Antonelli by Marton Perlaki ,Yoko Choy, Tony Chambers, Suzy Annetta by Gavin Green, Ronald Akili, Daniel Boey, Tan Wei Ming, Alvin Tjitrowirjo, Vu Hoang Anh, Karyn Lim, Jim Zarate-Torres and Robert Sukrachand.

Composite image of speakers features portraits of (clockwise from top left): Paola Antonelli by Marton Perlaki, Professor Lim Siong Guan, Thomas Heatherwick, Sara Ichoka, Duleesha Kulasooriya, Michela Maga by Nebojsa Babic, Mae-Ling Lokko by Shannon Straney, Natsai Audrey Chieza by Toby Coulson, Dr Emi Kiyota and Aaron Maniam.

Singapore Design Week takes place from 16 to 25 September in Singapore. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

Partnership content

This article was written by Dezeen for Singapore Design Week as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.