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President*s Design Award 2023 honours eight recipients making a transformative impact on lives in Singapore and abroad

The nation's highest design accolade celebrates outstanding designers and impactful projects that tackle critical issues ranging from dementia and consumerism to the climate crisis.

First row: P*DA 2023 Designer of the Year Leonard Ng, P*DA 2023 Design of the Year CapitaSpring, Hack Care: Tips and Tricks for a Dementia-Friendly Home and R for Repair; second row: P*DA 2023 Designer of the Year Ar. Tan Kay Ngee, P*DA 2023 Design of the Year Singapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, State Courts Towers and Tebet Eco Park

  Published: 12 July 2023

Eight recipients were presented the President*s Design Award (P*DA) 2023 by President Halimah Yacob today at the Istana, recognising their extraordinary achievements that have positively impacted the lives of Singaporeans and the wider global community through design excellence. 

Jointly organised by the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg) and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), the biennial award was conferred to two Designer of the Year and six Design of the Year recipients this year. Beyond their quality of design execution, the recipients exemplify a true sense of purpose and mission that align with the values of the P*DA. This year’s outstanding designs address global challenges such as climate change and sustainability, dementia and caregiving, consumerism and circularity on a fundamental and systemic level, demonstrating how Singapore is producing its own best practices in design that are relevant to improving lives around the world.

“As we celebrate the exemplary works of the P*DA recipients who have applied their creativity and craft with empathy and care, we also learn how design can create a positive impact on the environment, our economy and the cities we live in.  I hope their contributions will inspire others to create a better world for our future generations,” says Guest of Honour and patron of the P*DA, President Halimah Yacob.

Creating a Better World by Design 

The P*DA is presented in two categories: Designer of the Year and Design of the Year. 

The P*DA 2023 Designer of the Year award was presented to two outstanding Singaporean designers, both of whom have not only contributed significantly to advancing their respective fields over the course of their illustrious careers, but also actively nurtured the next generation of designers and architects. 

Leonard Ng, Country Market Director, Henning Larsen, APAC, was recognised by the Jury as a visionary leader in landscape architecture and champion for nature, who has shaped many of Singapore’s iconic green public spaces such as Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park, Kampung Admiralty, and Jurong Lake Gardens, while continuing to push boundaries to further Singapore’s “City in Nature” vision. In recent years, Ng has branched out internationally to China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, and developed the Guangzhou Lijiao Master Plan (2017) for one of the world’s largest coastal cities.

Ar. Tan Kay Ngee, Principal Architect, Kay Ngee Tan Architects was recognised by the Jury for his exemplary body of work in Singapore and globally over nearly four decades, and for his rich contributions as an architect, educator, and writer. From architectural projects such as the Old Bukit Timah Railway Station in Singapore, and a villa at the Commune by the Great Wall in China, to his prolific writing on the arts, architecture, and cities, Tan has made architecture more meaningful and accessible to all.

Left: Leonard Ng is a pioneer in Singapore’s drive towards becoming a “City in Nature’’ and continues to be a trailblazer in Singapore and beyond; right: Ar. Tan Kay Ngee is a prolific writer, educator and architect with an international body of work.

Six projects were awarded the P*DA 2023 Design of the Year for making a significant difference through one or more of these four impact areas: enabling economic transformation; raising quality of life; advancing Singapore brand, culture and community; and making ground-breaking achievements in design.  

CapitaSpring, by Bjarke Ingels Group, in collaboration with RSP Architects Planners & Engineers (Pte) Ltd and Carlo Ratti Associati, is an exemplar of the green skyscraper of the future. The striking addition to Singapore’s Central Business District presents a lush network of offices, residences and recreation that harnesses the restorative power of nature to offer a new social realm for the building’s occupants as well as the general public to come together to live, work and play. The project was very well-received, with close to full tenancy despite the pandemic and high visitorship to the open-air gardens and rooftop observatory.

Hack Care: Tips and Tricks for a Dementia-Friendly Home, by Lekker Architects and Lanzavecchia + Wai, goes beyond clever wordplay on a local pun or a ubiquitous furniture catalogue. It stands as a timely, important, and accessible toolkit to empower caregivers to provide a life of dignity and grace for persons with dementia. Through creative, affordable, and practical ideas, Hack Care democratises and facilitates inclusive design with each thoughtful hack. The book proved so popular that a second print run was added to meet the demand from everyday caregivers and healthcare professionals, while inspiring the global design community to look at dementia beyond the usual staid ready-made solutions.

 

Left: CapitaSpring takes skyrise greenery to new heights in the Central Business District with Singapore’s tallest public observatory deck and urban farm; right: Hack Care: Tips and Tricks for a Dementia-Friendly Home is a manifesto outlining how anyone can easily turn their home into one that is friendly to persons with dementia. 

R for Repair, by Hans Tan Studio, seeks to illuminate repair as a transformative process that addresses the global waste crisis by inspiring a new attitude of care toward our possessions. The project shines a timely spotlight on consumerism by exploring how, with a little ingenuity, creative repair can both preserve meaning and breathe new life into objects. Through beautiful and delightful outcomes that highlight the emotional as well as functional value of repair, R for Repair shows that sustainability can be both desirable and purposeful. The project’s success in Singapore led to a cross-cultural London and Singapore edition that was presented at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the London Design Festival 2022.   

Singapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, by WOHA Architects Pte Ltd, is a showcase of how nature and architecture can co-exist to create a sustainable and liveable city. Taking inspiration from the theme “Nature. Nurture. Future.”, the pavilion was self-sufficient by design, seamlessly integrating nature, architecture, and technology to create a net-zero and nature-positive environment. The project was a true oasis in the desert that immersed visitors into a microcosm of Singapore’s lush and verdant landscape, while serving as a prototype for more responsible and regenerative cities of the future.


Left: Singapore Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai, captivated visitors through a self-sufficient pavilion that seamlessly integrated nature, architecture, and technology to create a biophilic environment that reduced heat and pollutants, sequestered greenhouse gases, and even became a habitat for wildlife; right: Through the transformative power of creative repair, R for Repair presents a counterpoint to today’s consumerist culture by giving new life and meaning to cherished but broken objects. 

State Courts Towers, by Serie + Multiply Consultants Pte Ltd in collaboration with CPG Consultants Pte Ltd, is both a symbol of civic pride and architectural brilliance. Ground-breaking in its innovative re-conceptualisation of the traditionally enclosed, low-rise courthouse into a contemporary high-rise development that is open and transparent, its  designers took a sensitive approach to the existing site and created a striking design that metaphorically reflects the notion of a judicial system that is transparent and impartial. Combined with lush greenery and an intuitive layout, the towers are designed to provide a haven of tranquillity, offering much needed respite from the inherently stressful legal proceedings.

Tebet Eco Park, by SIURA Studio Pte Ltd, transformed a once neglected and degraded public park in Jakarta beset with environmental and social problems into a vibrant green space embraced by the local community. Completed in just 15 months during the pandemic, the revitalisation of the park went beyond a cosmetic upgrade, renaturalising an existing concrete canal into a river with wetlands that better manages frequent flooding while cleaning the water. Designed with various zones offering different experiences, the park truly connects people with nature in a busy, crowded metropolis hungry for the natural environment. A week after the opening, Tebet Eco Park received more than 60,000 visitors per day.

Left: The success of Tebet Eco Park’s ecological design approach offers a shining example of how cities can create new natural assets even as they urbanise; right: State Courts Towers is the tallest government building in Singapore and reinforces the city-state as an incubator for innovative high-rise architecture.

The P*DA 2023 recipients spanned architecture, landscape design, social design research, and design curation, showcasing the breadth and depth of design excellence in Singapore across established and emerging design disciplines. 

Reflecting on the winners of the architecture category, Ar. Yap Lay Bee, Group Director (Architecture & Urban Design), URA says, “The achievements of each P*DA recipient reflect the myriad ways in which architecture and design can connect with people and spaces at different levels. In addition to defining the physical character of a city, the P*DA amply demonstrates how the value of good architecture goes beyond their aesthetic merits, to contribute to a more sustainable, inclusive and resilient city.” 

“The P*DA remains steadfast in celebrating the impact of design. This year, the P*DA recipients have made a compelling case for how design can improve the lives of people from all walks of life, demonstrating the maturing of Singapore’s design industry as they work across disciplines to build a better world by design,” says Dawn Lim, Executive Director of Dsg. 

Travelling exhibition for P*DA 2023 to kick off in July

The awarded works will be featured in a travelling exhibition around Singapore, commencing at The URA Centre from 13 July to 24 August 2023 before moving to selected venues. For more information about the P*DA travelling exhibition, please visit pda.designsingapore.org.

For the full details on the P*DA 2023 recipients, please see Annex A [PDF, 1,171kb].

For the list of international jurors, please see Annex B [PDF, 204kb].

For more information about the P*DA and selection criteria, please see Annex C [PDF, 81kb]. 

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