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The Singapore Pavilion’s ‘No More Free Space?’ opens at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia

  Published: 25 May 2018

Commissioned by the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) of the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the Singapore Pavilion asks if there is indeed No More Free Space? in the island state, in response to the overarching theme Freespace conceptualised by curators Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara.

The Singapore Pavilion was officially inaugurated on Friday, 25 May by Mr Gabriel Lim, Permanent Secretary for the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information, in an Opening Ceremony event at the Sale D’Armi of the Arsenale.

“The question ‘No More Free Space?’ kept confronting Singapore throughout our 53 years of nation building. Fortunately, the answer has been a resounding ‘No!’ so far, as we overcame our constraints and transformed from Third World to First. But nation building is a journey that never ends. We must always apply our creativity and passion when faced with the question ‘No More Free Space?’ to create a brighter future for our people. We will never be done building a better Singapore by design,” said Mr Gabriel Lim.

No More Free Space? tells the story of how, in spite of the limitations in physical space, Singapore-based architects, urban planners and place-makers have creatively found ways to bring delightful free spaces to the city’s everyday life.

The exhibition, which marks the country’s sixth showcase at the International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, since 2004, celebrates how architects and planners have innovated and borrowed from nature to create useful and delightful spaces and places.

Set against the backdrop of Singapore’s compact urban environment, the exhibition features 12 Singapore-based projects that showcase the resourcefulness of the architects, their inspirations and the realisation of ideas, while borrowing natural resources such as light, air, greenery and water. Each of the 12 projects featured shows imagination, openness, discovery and resolution to turn constraints into possibilities. The projects also tap into social capital in order to bring joy and connect people to the larger community.

The Pavilion’s centrepiece features an immersive installation, an ethereal cloud made of skilfully handcrafted acrylic knots gently suspended in the vast spaces of the Sale d’Armi – a venue supported by the National Arts Council. Complete with a multi-sensory projection of lights, sounds and images of Singapore, the pavilion invites visitors to immerse themselves in the spaces within the cloud and enjoy the multi-sensorial installation – in itself an example of a resourceful, unexpected free space. The presentation will be restaged in Singapore in 2019 to engage the public about turning Singapore’s physical constraints into possibilities with imagination and creativity.

No More Free Space? hopes to be a testimony of how the creative freedom of mind has the power to turn space constraints into a myriad of alternative possibilities.

Singapore is a unique, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic island city-state with a population of about 5.6 million people on a land area of just 720 km2. Its dense urban fabric has to support a multitude of uses and needs whilst dealing with spatial constraints.

More than 400 times smaller than Italy, Singapore has turned its constraints into opportunity by reimagining what a highly compact city can be. As a city and nation-state, Singapore has to set aside land not just for housing, utilities, business, water catchment and recreation, but it also has to ensure there is land for future growth to keep the economy thriving and vibrant.

“The Singapore Pavilion shows that we have not allowed constraints to limit our imagination. Instead, we have had the mental ‘free space’ to re-imagine what our compact city could be. The 12 projects showcased did not just fulfil functional needs but were designed to delight – to create shared memories and emotional connections. When this happens, there is a rootedness that makes us love our home even more. This is why, we believe that design can help us become an innovation-drive and loveable city,” saidMr Mark Wee, Executive Director of the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) and Co-Commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion.

“Singapore is one of the world’s most liveable cities, an outcome of integrated and long-term planning, with priority placed on good architecture and urban design. The articulation of good design in our spaces not only sparks imagination, but can also evoke wonder and turn spaces from the functional and utilitarian into a delightful community asset. The Singapore Pavilion this year, showcases creative brilliance in the design of our public and private spaces, bringing vibrancy and delight to the people,” said Mr Larry Ng, Group Director of Architecture and Urban Design Excellence at the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Co-Commissioner of the Singapore Pavilion.

“Responding to the overarching theme of the Biennale Architettura 2018 “Freespace”, the Singapore Pavilion asks: “No More Free Space?” to open a conversation on how Singapore-based architects, urban planners and place-makers have creatively found ways to bring delightful free spaces to the city’s everyday life. Through an integral tenet of SUTD – design thinking and imagination – the Singapore Pavilion brings everyone: students from SUTD, NUS, Singapore Polytechnic, practising architects, computer engineers, craftsmen, and the public to appreciate the wonders of our environment,” said Prof Erwin Viray, Lead Curator and Head of the Architecture and Sustainable Design pillar at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

For more information on the Singapore Pavilion and design forum, please visit website: www.nomorefreespace.com.

Please download the official press kit here: http://bit.ly/SingaporePavilion2018

 

 

 

 

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