- Article by Online Editor
Now in its third year, SingaPlural is the cutting edge, spontaneous little brother of Singapore’s International Furniture Fair (IFFS). Heralded as the anchor event of Singapore Design Week, SingaPlural boasts an inclusive approach to design that draws on an international creative spectrum to include advertising, architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture, as well as interior design, furniture, graphics and fashion.
Last year’s event saw Singapore at its best with over 350 installations, exhibitions, open studios and activities staged throughout the week in parallel with IFFS, The Décor Show and Hospitality 360 degree. This year’s event promises to continue this tradition with participation from the world’s hottest young designers.
Perhaps key to the exhibition program is the appointed curator Yoichi Nakamuta, whose promotion and curation of Asian design is unprecedented. Key to his current acclaim are ‘Made in Asia’ and Tokyo Designers Block (TDB), each of which is focused on promoting design to the world. And while TDB is Japan centric, Made in Asia is, as the name suggests, a much broader umbrella with Singapore clearly at home on a world stage. Moreover, since moving to Singapore in 2012, Nakamuta has seen his relationship with Singapore strengthened considerably through exhibitions such as the Singapore Creative Showcase.
Founding his design production company E&Y in 1985, Nakamuta has worked with Michael Young, Christophe Pillet, Richard Hutton and CKR among others. It’s curation and promotion of design, however, that is his true forte with projects such as Marc Newson’s 1990 Milan exhibition, London’s contemporary design exhibition West, the Milan presentation of Lexus in 2003 and Tom Dixon’s Cappellini collaboration in Tokyo just some of the highlights of his early career.
During Singapore Design Week, Nakamuta will present a showcase of design from E&Y, and an exhibition of Tokyo avant-garde from the 90s. He is also the curator of the Design Larger Than Life installation – Spectrum, designed by Claudio Colucci (responsible for interiors such as Agnès b. Voyage, Omotesando; Frederic Scailteur flagship stores; Hotel Lumen, Paris; Le Passage Saint-Roch; and products such as the Squeeze lamp) and on display at Dhoby Ghaut Green.
Effectively a fair within a fair, SingaPlural comprises forums, seminars, competitions, awards, exhibitions and fringe events. The forum highlight is arguably the Rethink Design discussion between Claudio Colucci, David Carlson and Tim Power (Lasalle College of the Arts, The Singapore Airlines Theatre).
Within the exhibition rubric, the Furniture Design Platform will launch and promote prototype design from new and promising designers, while 30 Lifestories – Remembering Parks (Dhoby Ghaut Green and National Design Centre) will feature 30 creative installations exploring themes of environment, communal space and social events.
As the name suggests, the Green Pavilion (Singapore Expo) will showcase sustainability, with the 2014 theme focused on the business environment, while Design Area (Park Mall) is a free flowing pop-up platform, which will allow local designers and studios, including Design *SCAPE, to exhibit and sell their designs.
Fringe events always tend to be diversely interesting and 2014 is shaping up well, with a highlight set to be the exhibition and talk ‘Aspects, the Making of Usuhari Glass’ at Supermama (Singapore Art Museum, 8 Queen Street). The project includes five Singapore-based designers within the Democratic Society label working with the traditional craft facilities of the Shotoku Glass Company in Japan.
Participating design teams in this event – including Hjgher, Lanzavecchia + Wai, Supermama, The Little Drom Store and The Press Room – will each present mouth-blown glass works exploring an aspect of Singapore’s society. The principal speaker Yoshifumi Saito, creative director, Shotoku Glass Company, Tokyo will explain how the very unusual glass craftsmanship of Usuhari glass has developed from the manufacture of glass light bulbs.
Singapore is fast becoming a major design hub through both a proliferation of design and an active support base that promotes expanded recognition. Within this paradigm, SingaPlural acts as a platform for emergent designers to shine, while providing an easy way for the great many architects and interior designers based in Singapore to spot nascent design talent. Importantly, it is also a fully immersive design experience for those travelling to Singapore from abroad.
SingaPlural 2014 – Celebrating Design is organised by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) in partnership with eight other network partners from DesignS. The successful series will expand beyond multiple locations around the city to include SingaPlural @ Singapore Eepo. Supported by DesignSingapore Council, International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Tourism Board and SPRING Singapore, Singapore Design Week (SDW) is presented by the DesignSingapore Council, under the Ministry of Communications and Information.