Singapore – The winners of Nippon Paint’s Asia Young Designer Awards 2021/2022 (AYDA) were announced on 21 January 2022.
Vanessa Maera Wijaya, from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, and Lim Hock Siang Tyler from the National University of Singapore took home the gold awards for Interior Design and Architecture respectively.
This year’s competition was rooted in the theme of Forward: Amplifying Empathy Through Design, where architects and designers were tasked to ideate and conceptualise ideas centred on green and sustainable design. The challenge lies in showcasing a new approach towards innovation by incorporating the Design Thinking approach, taking into consideration a human-centred approach and perspective when solving problems through design – especially in today’s globalised society where spaces go beyond functionality. Entrants were challenged to submit structures inspired by natural elements that would easily fit into existing infrastructures.
“Seni Pavilion is an experiential community space empowering the people of Muntigunung village through the ideals of sustainable development. The project attempts to be a development tool that is resilient and self-sustaining, lifting a village out of poverty through empathy and leading it with compassion,” said Vanessa Maera Wijaya, of her entry “Seni Pavilion”. Seni Pavilion is an ode to her home Bali, serving as a platform for the people to learn new skills and encourage better livelihood, and a recreational destination for visitors to enjoy the local culture and environment responsibly.
The Water Parliament - Bangkok City 2100
Lim Hock Siang Tyler’s design was similarly designed around increasing awareness on the environmental issues around rising sea levels. His aim was to bring awareness and explore how the adaptive use of water and the local community spirit of embracing the climateinduced changes can be valued as an opportunity to re-appropriate these issues. His winning entry, “The Water Parliament - Bangkok City 2100” embraces the sea level rise in the city, harnessing integrated water infrastructure in urban redevelopment while reinstating traditional Thai water culture.
The winner of each category received $1,500 in cash and has the honour of representing Singapore at the regional AYDA Summit 2021/2022.
Inspiring a new generation of talented designers
In this latest edition of AYDA, Nippon Paint Singapore received entries from students across a diverse range of tertiary institutes offering Architecture and Interior Design courses, such as Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, National University of Singapore, National Technological University, and Raffles Design Institute Singapore. Talented architects and interior designers also gain the opportunity to work with and learn from established industry experts through a rewarding internship experience.
“As the long-running annual AYDA awards enter its 14th edition, we hope to continue to connect and nurture our local talents with industry professionals,” says Charlie Ong, General Manager of Nippon Paint Singapore. “The industry today needs designers who can both envision and innovate sustainable, forward-thinking design solutions. We hope that the awards will continue to inspire and empower today’s young, budding architects and designers.”
An impressive showcase of designs exploring sustainability and climate change
Each year, the AYDA awards are judged by a panel of industry-leading figures, experts and professionals with a wealth of insights and knowledge on excellent, impactful design. On this year’s panel are Dennis Cheok, Creative Director of Singapore-based boutique design firm UPSTRS; architect Mark Ong from RSP Architects Planners & Engineers Pte Ltd, an established global design and engineering firm; Leong Hon Kit and Si Jian Xin of Wynk Collaborative, an interior design, architecture and design firm known for its unique, wellrounded approach to design in spaces like Love Bonito Funan and Honestbee Office; Melvin Keng, co-founder of Kaizen Architecture, whose signature works consist of Cactuss Lifestyle Store, Ally Gym, Dreamcore HQ, Minor Miracles Flagship Store, Ribbon Apartment and Terrace Flat; Felicia Toh, Principal Architect of Quarters Architects whose works include projects such as Learning Express classrooms for Skillsfuture, restaurants and offices for DSTA, Airforce and The Working Capitol, and Miss Goy Zhenru, Principal Architect of Goy Architects, a firm which seeks to celebrate and explore regional vernacular crafts and cultural richness in the region which counts projects like Sukasantai Farmstay, The Heng House and One Tat Seng under their belt.
Melvin was impressed by the level of competency and graphic aesthetics shown by this year’s entries in the Architecture category. He shared that “different entries showcased different drawing styles and clever use of colour schemes to narrate concepts and ideas. Looking at it from the lens of the future, many entries also looked into issues of sustainability, climate change and the rise of digital spheres. As a judge, this was really encouraging to witness; knowing how in tune the younger designers are to world issues and how they hope to be part of the change.” Meanwhile, Zhenru echoed a similar sentiment, adding that this year’s Interior Design award entries showed a “high level of design sensitivity and care to the project’s site and issues”.