Design is a means to solve problems

SLEEK: VW+BS' design for Virgin Atlantic's Upper Class suites includes a bar with shifting mood lights that offset the bar's neutral hues.


    Sep 13, 2013

    Design is a means to solve problems

    Singapore-born design director Voon Wong's acclaimed works - including that for the Upper Class suites in Virgin Atlantic's planes last year - have clearly earned him a place among big-league players in the industry.

    The 50-year-old multi-disciplinary designer of VW+BS, who was awarded the President's Design Award for Designer of the Year last year, is back to curate the interiors exhibition, 100% Design Singapore, for the second year.

    My Paper spoke to the London-based designer on perceptions on design here and using design to tackle the problem of space in Singapore.

    What is the link between design and cultural identity?

    Increasingly, there is a decoupling of the old link between design and cultural identity. Everything is getting increasingly global.

    Forty years ago, it was possible to say that there was a specifically Italian design identity that matched the Italian cultural identity. Today, this is not always possible.

    There certainly are some identifiably Singaporean designs, especially when you look at the small collection of products created for the brand Supermama.

    But, ultimately, Singaporean culture and identity are international in feel; so are the rest of the world's.

    How has perception towards design grown among Singaporeans in recent years?

    There is definitely a growing understanding of the importance of design in Singapore.

    However, looking at the large number of well-known international architects working on large projects here, it is difficult not to feel that design is perhaps more understood as a marketing device, rather than a means to solve problems in an elegant way.

    Yet, at the same time, the number of interesting design projects that are being carried out by Singaporean designers suggests that design is now becoming part of the fabric of life.

    Space is clearly an issue for many people living in Singapore. How can design help address the problem?

    Space is a problem in all major cities. Good design can help to address this by (ensuring) rational and creative use of space within an apartment.

    Buy less and buy better. Look for products that are beautiful, well-made, and will do what you need them to do. Make sure that you can imagine owning this (same) product in 10 years' time. Do not confuse design with fashion.


    100% Design Singapore is being held at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Center until today. Entry today is free.