Abstract

Singapore has progressed significantly in the area of design over the last ten years. This paper is concerned with the discipline of industrial design in Singapore. The paper reports on research into the topic which has employed literature review and structured interviewing of design professionals across the spectrum of practice, education and government policy. The paper attempts to provide an overview of how industrial design has developed, and its potential future role in the country. Industrial design was originally viewed as a servant of indigenous manufacturing industry, and particularly of large overseas multi-national corporations which the Singapore government attracted to be based in the country. In 2002 the creative industries were selected as a target for economic growth. Government financial support followed and the decade witnessed numerous design conferences, exhibitions, competitions and 'big name' visitors. The stated aim was to make Singapore the 'design hub' for Asia. Its profile in the design world has certainly been raised, but the role and scope of industrial / product design has remained generally static. Government policies succeeded in developing design's position in the cultural landscape of Singapore, and industrial design played its part in this success. Even though industrial design remains a small component (less than 5%) of all the design-related creative industries in Singapore, the research reveals a current situation which finds Singapore optimistic in seeking to employ design as a strategic tool to foster innovation and increase economic performance beyond its traditional, but now diminishing, consumer product manufacturing base.

Keywords

industrial design, singapore, government policy

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Perspectives on Industrial Design in Singapore

Singapore has progressed significantly in the area of design over the last ten years. This paper is concerned with the discipline of industrial design in Singapore. The paper reports on research into the topic which has employed literature review and structured interviewing of design professionals across the spectrum of practice, education and government policy. The paper attempts to provide an overview of how industrial design has developed, and its potential future role in the country. Industrial design was originally viewed as a servant of indigenous manufacturing industry, and particularly of large overseas multi-national corporations which the Singapore government attracted to be based in the country. In 2002 the creative industries were selected as a target for economic growth. Government financial support followed and the decade witnessed numerous design conferences, exhibitions, competitions and 'big name' visitors. The stated aim was to make Singapore the 'design hub' for Asia. Its profile in the design world has certainly been raised, but the role and scope of industrial / product design has remained generally static. Government policies succeeded in developing design's position in the cultural landscape of Singapore, and industrial design played its part in this success. Even though industrial design remains a small component (less than 5%) of all the design-related creative industries in Singapore, the research reveals a current situation which finds Singapore optimistic in seeking to employ design as a strategic tool to foster innovation and increase economic performance beyond its traditional, but now diminishing, consumer product manufacturing base.

 

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