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50 Years of Singapore Design

Perhaps one of the more ambitious exhibitions to be held recently, 50 Years of Singapore Design aims to document the nation’s design landscape across 50 years of independence, showing its evolution and pivotal moments.

50 Years of Singapore Design


March 18th, 2015

To mark Singapore’s 50th year of independence, the DesignSingapore Council has launched an ambitious project to chronicle the way in which design has contributed to the country’s economy and nation building over the last five decades, from 1965 – 2015.

At 50 Years of Singapore Design (FYSD), currently being held at the National Design Centre, visitors can view more than 200 exhibits of visuals, artefacts, videos and stories that reflect the trends, movements and values of each decade. These span across four design disciplines, namely Visual Communications, Product and Industrial Design, Fashion and Accessories, and Environmental Design.

Curated by design studio WY-TO and taking six months to produce, FYSD is a nostalgic journey for the generation who has lived through the 1960s to the present, and an eye opening experience for every other visitor keen to delve into the history of the Singapore, and its design milestones through the years.

Here’s a snapshot of the works have made it into the exhibition.
* For an in-depth report, check out Cubes Indesign’s review in the Aug/Sept issue.

1965 – 1975: Cocktail Dresses from Singapore’s Pioneer Couturier

Known as Singapore’s ‘Mr Dior’, Roland Chow was credited as the first designer to modernise the cheongsam and to introduce the French chignon to Singaporean women. He was also highly sought after for his haute couture cocktail dresses.

pandan valley
1975 – 1985: Pandan Valley

Designed by architect Tan Cheng Siong, Pandan Valley condominium is Singapore’s first condominium housing estate. The high-density residential complex features generous green spaces designed to encourage a sense of community. It is also the first private condominium to have a retail component for residents.

Changi Airport
1975 – 1985: Changi Airport Terminal 1

When Singapore Changi Airport started operations with the opening of its first passenger terminal, it was considered an airport par excellence. The 78-metre tall control tower remains a national icon and is recognised around the world.

1985 – 1995: Unica Plastic Stool

These sturdy plastic stools were designed especially for use in Kopitiams and till today, remains an integral part of the everyday makan culture in Singapore.

Guinness ad
Guinness ‘Word of Wisdom’ TV Advertisement

Conceived by Lim Sau Hoong, The Guinness ‘Word of Wisdom’ television advertisement, featuring Hong Kong celebrity George Lam, was arguably one of the most unforgettable commercials of the decade. The TV ad successfully found its way into Singapore and Hong Kong’s popular culture.

The Pinnacle
2005 – 2015: The Pinnacle@Duxton

Designed by Arc Studio & Urbanism, The Pinnacle@Duxton is Singapore’s first public housing development with 50-storey blocks, and demonstrates that high-rise, high-density housing can be both liveable and sustainable.

50 Years of Singapore Design is open daily from 9am to 9pm at the National Design Centre.

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