i+D - May/June 2021 - 20

Design
Pulse
Singapore
Local Language
Yong invited the public
to submit words about
how they're feeling, and
he incorporated them into
the concrete-cast I-beams
of the artwork. After the
festival, the piece was
broken down and donated
as benches to various
civic centers-universities,
museums, design centers-
where Yong says he hopes
the piece will " continue its
journey to inspire. "
(Image: KSY)
This interconnection among man, society, and nature that's seen in Yong's art
installation and Salad Dressing's expo pavilions is also reflected in the built
environment in Singapore through eager young architects and designers who
place environmentally sustainable considerations and fostering a sense of
wellbeing at the forefront of their work. For example, architect and designer
Goy Zhenru, founder of Singapore-based Goy Architects, says, " We are
mindful that our profession is one with significant impact spatially, socially,
and environmentally. Our hope for the future is for us to be better guardians
of the physical environment, to create works that protect and bring about
more appreciation of our regional richness in culture, crafts, and heritage. "
Zhenru launched her practice in 2015 and was joined by two former
colleagues-one in Bali, Indonesia, and another in Chiang Mai, Thailand-to
form a multinational firm that in each region aspires to translate clients' briefs
" into designs with consideration for the social and environmental impact, "
Zhenru notes.
" There in the Middleness "
Industrial designer Nathan Yong shares his own
interpretation of man's place in nature and in
society in the post-pandemic world via his public
artwork titled " There in the Middleness, " set in
The Padang, a vast field in the civic district of
Singapore. Yong says, " The Padang field is flat
and spacious, stubbornly holding its own ground,
refusing to change for the sake of modernity...
reminding us to resist unsustainable development.
The round shape [of the installation] is chosen to
contrast with the surrounding buildings, which are
blockish and angular. "
Commissioned by the National Gallery Singapore,
the artwork consists of 125 pieces of concrete-cast
I-beams, arranged in a circular formation reaching
a ring that's 40 meters in diameter. " Being an art
piece for the community, I invited members of
the public to identify words that represent their
current state of mind [for example, empowerment,
gratitude, mankind, equilibrium, selflessness, love,
strength, fulfillment]. These words were then cast
onto the I-beams, " Yong explains. " The ring brings
people together. My aim is to unite people to use it
as a place for rest and contemplation in our postpandemic
world. "
Inspired by the Ouroboros, an ancient Greek
symbol depicting a circular serpentine feeding on
its own tail, Yong says the artwork symbolizes
the cyclical nature of mankind-the cycle of
rebirth, completion, unification, regeneration, and
eternity. " It is perhaps an appropriate sign of our
times, " he says. " Like the serpent shedding its old
skin in preparation for renewal, I do hope our
society sheds its old ways so that we can renew
our thinking for the environment and take actions
for good in the post-pandemic world. Because
everything is interconnected. "
" I also see more conversations about addressing love for the city. How can we
improve our built environment to feel a general sense of wellness and happiness
in the city? " she posits. " I sense a deeper trend of discussion to our heritage
and culture of the region. Instead of a pragmatic, tabula rasa approach to our
architecture and urban fabric, I see more appreciation for conservation and
exploration of the regional design aesthetics. "
Intent on giving her projects a sense of place-whether it's the restoration
of the multigenerational The Heng House, awarded gold for Best Residential
Design - Private House at the 2018/19 Design Excellence Awards by Interior
Design Confederation Singapore, or One Tat Seng, a seven-story industrial
corporate project set as an urban sculptural structure on a busy Singapore
thoroughfare-Zhenru says, " We hope to insert a bit more spark into everyday
life through our architecture. It needs to be thoughtful and well-considered in
balancing the pursuit of aesthetics with the true purpose of architecture, which
is to bring wellbeing, health and happiness to people using the space. "
DANINE ALATI
is a freelance writer and editor with a focus
on lifestyle and design content. Her work
has appeared in Architectural Digest's online
vertical AD PRO, DuJour magazine, Galerie
magazine, Contract magazine, and Home
Design & Decor, among other outlets.
Goy Zhenru designed the award-winning,
multigenerational Heng House with the ground floor
as an open concept, naturally ventilated space, where
people can come together for casual gatherings-from
having a coffee to exercising to just hanging out.
(Image: Fabian Ong)
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i+D - May/June 2021

i+D - May/June 2021

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