Seen at the Singapore Biennale 2011

The third Singapore Biennale opened on 13 March featuring the work of 63 artists from 30 countries, and presented across 5 venues:

  • The Singapore Art Museum at Bras Basah Rd
  • SAM at 8Q (along Queen St just behind the Singapore Art Museum)
  • National Museum of Singapore at Stamford Rd
  • Old Kallang Airport
  • Merlion Park at Marina Bay

This year’s theme ‘Open House’ alludes to a gathering of multiple perspectives and creative processes and the commentary on how we move between borders, see each other’s points of view, and form connections with others.

The event is on till 15 May and as the works are distributed across the city, you’d probably be best taking your time to visit the sites over a few days or weekends. Did you visit any of the sites – what did you think? Any favourites? Here’s a glimpse of a few of mine:

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Architecture Exhibition: 20 under 45

20 under 45: the next generation is a collection of works by Singapore-registered architects under the age of 45. Exhibited in late 2010, the small display is up again for a second viewing at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) building at Maxwell Road.

Some outstanding works:

Above: Richard Hassel, WOHA Architects – 1. Alila Villas Uluwatu, Indonesia; 2. Crown Plaza Hotel at Changi Airport, Singapore. I love how alive these structures feel! It takes an inspired mind to soak in the culture and geographical beauty of these locations, blend that with a modern aesthetic, and create something as wonderfully surprising yet completely natural as these structures.

Above: Ling Hao, Ling Hao Architects – Small Worlds at Niven Road, Singapore

This sort of narrow multi-storey ‘shophouse’ is a common sight along the old streets of Singapore – it offers homeowners lots of exciting design possibilities – but also challenges (especially for bringing light into such a narrow space).

Above: Alan Tay, Formwerkz Architects – Aramsa Spa, Singapore

Aramsa Spa is a top class spa set none other than in the center of the humble heartlands at Bishan Park. The lush garden landscaping and graceful architecture of wooden walkways flanked by reflection ponds, glass rimmed lounges, bamboo beamed outdoor showers, and unexpected details (e.g. corrugated iron sheets reminiscent of kampong tin roofing are used to segregate the outdoor showers) give the place its irresistible allure. What I love is how open it is yet so private – rustic yet modern – and how it clearly loves nature and encourages visitors to commune with it. I’ve seen many imitations but Aramsa Spa really got it right down to the heart.

International Furniture Fair Singapore 2011

International Furniture Fair Singapore 2011 was held from 9 to 12 March at the Singapore Expo at Changi. Featuring 534 exhibitors from 24 countries, the event showcased a diverse mix of design styles and concepts. Highlights included D’Space and Platform showcasing designs from budding young talents under the theme ‘No Boundaries’; as well as discussions at the Furniture Design Forum led by award-winning designer Naoto Fukasawa, Belgian architect and ‘total designer’, Vincent Van Duysen and sales head for Italian furniture brand Moroso, Marco Cappellin.

Above: 1. Eclectic secret friend designs by Tithi Kutchamuch; 2. More from secret friend family; 3. A Part From Eagle by Anon Pairot.

Above: 1. Pendant and Juno Lamp by Anurak Suchat of Aesthetic Studio 2. Paperfold by P.C. Ee of Exit Studio; 3. Hi Ho Rocking Horse by Jarrod Lim.

Also on exhibit were designs produced in a 3-day design workshop ‘Design Inevitable’. Held prior to the event, the workshop conducted by Mr Fukasawa offered 20 Singapore-based designers the rare chance to work with the master and develop minimalist interpretations of their own. Some of the designs produced included:

Above: 1. Bed by Ang Xinwei; 2. Tiptoe Dining Chair by Yang Tah Ching; 3. Twins by Len Lim.

Shortlisted finalists of Furniture Design DNA‘s design competition 2011 also had their work on display. Winners were announced on Wednesday.

Above: In the Designer Category 1. WIND Screen/Shelf by Jerry Low (Grand prize); 2. Igloo Stool by Page Tan (Merit); 3. Sprout Table by Sharina Bi Abdul Rashid (Merit).

Above: In the Student Category 1. Sheep Chair by Tzu-Chi (Grand prize); Liseta Bookcase by Samir Wadekar (Merit); 3. You’ve Got Mail by Nur Sabeela Binte Abdul Karim (Honorable Mention). Images via TodayOnline.

Walking around the exhibits, stands featuring eco-friendly products and furnishings using recycled/reclaimed materials really stood out. One which gained a lot of attention was D-Bodhi‘s Street Art concept (which incidentally also won Best Stand for Category C – stands of 200sqm and above). Expanding on its range of eco-friendly furnishings using materials such as reclaimed teak wood and brushed iron, the brand launched its new d-Blue collection of recycled jeans fabric furniture that included everything from poufs and lounge chairs to coffee tables. A personal favourite of mine was Sharda Exports which featured hand-tufted and woven carpets, rugs and pouf coverings. I especially love their sock carpet featured below.


Other interesting exhibits included moods for wood featuring an assortment of metal framed silhouette furniture; lendaiyan and an air-filtering air lamp by wa francis chu from dream lab one as featured on DesignBoom; and cascade light by Ango.

Find out more about the IFFS here.