To start off project 2, Michael arranged for our class to visit Singapore’s National Design Centre. The field trip helped us to observe the various types of design practices that has taken place in our country, from past to present. There were many disciplines displayed there including; Visual Communications (VC), Product and Industrial Design (PI), Fashion and Accessories (FA), Environmental Design (EN). Having exposure to the many fields of design, within a single space, allowed for us to compare an assortment of products and images deriving from different eras, as Singapore’s growth became more evident.
Through informational boards displayed at almost every corner of the exhibition space, we learnt about the historical context and thought process behind each concept. Attached below, are a collection of images displaying the different types of works that have been exhibited there.
Observations of the Design Scene/Practice
During my visit at the National Design Centre, I found that as Singapore rapidly developed into a country with a first world economy, the design approaches within different mediums, whether it be fashion, product design or others, had rapidly evolved in a parallel manner. It seemed as though the faster Singapore grew with stability, the quicker and more drastic the transitions were in methods of commercialisation. In the past, advertisements in the form of a graphic poster were simple and would often be cut to the point. Colors stayed more muted and were not as eye catching, during Singapore’s earliest years within the design scene. As Singapore’s arts and cultural scene grew more significant, stable, and relevant to the country’s economical well-being, promotional posters were turned up a notch with the use of more appealing effects such as changing up the scale of things, interesting font usage and colors that popped up at the viewer. Photomontages also allowed for the combination of unusual paring of objects which brought interest to the public’s eye. Products which were designed in Singapore’s past were relatable for that specific time period; designs played with the ideas of being practical and convenient. Nowadays, slogans have to be short, sharp and catchy due to the short attention span of the public. It is getting increasingly difficult to produce designs that will make someone stop within their tracks before moving along in their busy lives. At the constant pace with which our country has advanced with, we start to pay attention towards factors such as environmental issues as it becomes an increasing problem that raises red flags within our nation.
Future Goals/Key Thrust
Singapore has been starting to focus more upon raising awareness and gearing themselves toward a problem-solving driven society the past decade. Similarly to the past years of design in Singapore history, design associated with now and the future will probably focus less on text and on more interesting image curation. Products including fashion, will be designed with more sustainable fabrics or materials in order to reduce cost and resource usage while informational posters will take the direction of providing more factual knowledge in order to keep up with our society’s increasing intake of information.
Possible Implications on Current Perception and Practice
It is possible that because of our increasing need to rapidly evolve to keep up with Singapore’s growth in general, we will start to lose focus in traditions, historical context and culture. Soon, all previous explorations of design may be lost due to the demand of ‘keeping up’ with the future. Our lack of education within the art scene of Singapore will prove to become a disadvantage as we start to lose sight of our country’s cultural past and values and as we start to focus too much on advancement. We may soon start to question what makes Singapore differ from other countries in the world.