In a worldwide economy that’s increasingly idea-driven, design has found its place as an important enabler to promote change, solve problems and improve the way we live.
And in recent years, Singapore’s reputation in the design realm has grown exponentially. According to a dipstick destination survey conducted by Bloomberg Singapore, the Lion City placed second after Japan for Asian destinations associated with design.
The uptick in recognition for Singapore in a design-related capacity is neither undeserved nor accidental. The Southeastern Asia city-state values, cultivates, embraces and enables design endeavors, regardless of the discipline.
Below, we’ve outlined a few reasons why Singapore has become such a recognized design hub, and why it’s likely to continue its escalation.
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1. The government dedicates resources to developing the design sector
In 2003, the Design Singapore Council was established to help develop Singapore’s design sector. The organization was founded in reaction to a report from the country’s Economic Review Committee that listed the creative industry along with education and healthcare as three new sectors that had potential for promoting economic growth along with social progress.
The council, which is made up of some of the leading Singaporean design minds, dedicates its time and assets to helping differentiate Singapore from global competition in the field of design, and to help the country use design as a mechanism for innovation, growth and general life improvement.
The council focuses mainly on market and industry development, to facilitate and grow demand for design services and products, and to develop and enhance the capability of design practitioners, respectively.
2. Design efforts are leading to recognition and adulation
The intentional concentration on developing Singapore’s design sector has yielded many tangible results, including significant recognition from reputable organizations. A report on innovative Asian cities from marketing consultancy firm Solidiance recently ranked Singapore the number one city in the Asia Pacific for design, innovation and creative enterprise.
The report called Singapore the “most attractive ecosystem for companies to innovate in Asia Pacific, as it constantly strives for leapfrog improvements and visible changes.” A few of the factors considered in the report to make this determination include: a rich availability of talent, strength of education systems and government support, city livability and culture, technological advancements supported by the government, a favorable regulatory framework, global integration and connectivity and environmental sustainability. Singapore scored highly in these categories.
“Today, Singapore is bold, fast and successful — and Singapore Inc. will follow the same path,” said Damien Duhamel, managing partner Asia Pacific of Solidiance.
3. Singapore is hosting events that attract designers from all over the world
Singapore’s recognition for design and creativity in general will undoubtedly drive those in the industry to the city-state for events like Singapore Design Week. Organized by — who else? —the DesignSingapore Council, the event features local and international design shows, conferences, showcases, exhibitions and workshops.
A few of the can’t-miss events include MAISON&OBJET ASIA (M&O Asia) and International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS), marketplace platforms within the Singapore Design Week umbrella, which showcase the best of European and Asian home décor and furniture design. SDW’s anchor event, SingaPlural also showcases the best of the design world including rising stars in a number of verticals: advertising, architecture, urban planning, landscape architecture, as well as interior, furniture, graphic and fashion design.
The festival seeks to raise design awareness and appreciation, and to encourage the use of design in the name of innovation and productivity. Many of the events are open to the general public, while others are invite-only.
For international event attendees, the week’s activities and meetings provide networking opportunities for international collaboration, something the council encourages and endorses.
The Singapore Icons Studio Project is an example of such a multi-national collaboration. Singaporean retail gallery Supermama teamed up with Japanese ceramic company Kihara Inc to design and produce a collection of ceramic ware that showcases well-known and important emblems and symbols from Singaporean culture.
Beyond Singapore Design Week, Singapore also boasts an exciting fashion events calendar with events such as BLUEPRINT, which attracts some of the biggest international names and showcases the region’s latest emerging designers.
Moving forward, Singapore is well positioned to remain one of the leading forces for design innovation in the 21st century.
This feature originally appeared in Your Singapore.