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Design Days Out in The City

The two-day Design Trails event brought the public up-close and personal with places and communities to show how design can reimagine possibilities and inspire them in the ways we experience Singapore. Here are some highlights.

Design Days Out in The City

The rooftop garden at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre by DP Architects. Photo courtesy of DP Architects

Running on 11 and 12 March, Design Trails 2017 took the theme of a ‘Design Day Out in the City’. The programme brought participants to select places in Singapore to uncover how design can be harnessed to reimagine possibilities, create opportunities to connect, and inspire people in the ways we live, work and play in our city. Held over the closing weekend of Singapore Design Week, the two-day event was free and open to the public, and for some, it has become an annual tradition to discover and fall in love with the Little Red Dot all over again.

This year’s shuttle bus trail started at the National Design Centre and ended at the Tan Boon Liat Building, where participants were welcomed inside the furniture store Journey East and fabric and sewing craft supplies store Sing Mui Heng for sewing craft appreciation. Other participating venues included co-working space Collision 8, the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC), heritage landmark Chong Wen Ge, Oasia Hotel Downtown, the Airbnb office and Telok Ayer Park. Each venue hosted a programme consisting of elements such as talks, demos and behind-the-scenes showcases.

Nestled on the eighth floor of the old commercial building High Street Centre, Collision 8 (designed by Asylum) wowed participants with its sleek interior and sheer variety of workspaces. The newly completed SCCC (designed by DP Architects) took them on a journey through spaces with a monumental scale before arriving to a serene rooftop garden populated with flowering trees. The architects’ contemporary interpretation of Chinese culture made for a nice contrast to the multi-faceted heritage site Chong Wen Ge, which has been given a new lease of life as a gathering space housing a café, Peranakan Tiles Gallery and the Singapore Musical Box Museum.

The most crowded venue on the second day was the Airbnb office in Tanjong Pagar, which required each participant to sign an NDA before they were admitted to the premises for breakfast, a presentation by brand co-founder Joe Gebbia, a tour of the office (designed by an in-house interior team), and a showcase of local handcraft in the ‘Experience Marketplace’.

Oasia Hotel Downtown drew the most participants from the design and architecture industry with tours and talks by Phua Hong Wei from WOHA (read our features on the project here and in Cubes #83). Meanwhile, Telok Ayer Park was host to Placemaking Telok Ayer – a tactical intervention by placemaking studio (and organiser of the Design Trails) Shophouse & Co in consultation with the National Parks Board (NParks). The intervention featured urban furniture and programmes that promoted and enhanced the enjoyment of public space.

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