Space Matrix’s Dream Big Designathon 2022 sees young talents conceptualising the workplace of tomorrow
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In the photo: The final winners are Ge Yaxuan and Fu Qian Qian from Temasek Polytechnic, Alicia Chan from Nanyang Polytechnic and Veanna Poh from Singapore Polytechnic. Back row, from left to right: Professor Keat Ong, Mr Brendan Murray, Mr Phillip Dunn, and Mr Arsh Chaudhry. Front row, from left to right: Ms Fu Qian Qian, Ms Ge Yaxuan, Ms Veanna Poh, and Ms Alicia Chan. Photo credit: Space Matrix

Singapore – Space Matrix, the 6th largest international design firm in the world with its headquarters in Singapore, brought back “Dream Big Designathon”, the annual design competition organised to push the boundaries of creative thinking with real-world concepts while engaging the young minds of the future. This year, the competition attracted more than 300 final year students from across Singapore’s three educational institutions – Temasek Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic and Nanyang Polytechnic.

The students competed against one another to create a design concept for a dynamic innovation Lab, to be housed in CapitaSpring, located in the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD). The grand prize winner who walked away with a cash prize of $1,500/- and an internship with Space Matrix’s Singapore Studio is Ge Yaxuan from Temasek Polytechnic, coming in second are Alicia Chan from Nanyang Polytechnic and Veanna Poh from Singapore Polytechnic who each had clinched a cash prize of $1,000/- and Fu Qian Qian from Temasek Polytechnic with $750/- cash prize. Space Matrix was supported by Citi Singapore as a co-sponsor for this event and thereby further industry level partnership.

The finals were held on 24 March 2022 at The National Design Centre where the final eight contestants presented their design concepts to a judging panel composed of leading industry players. The judges include Professor Keat Ong, President of Society of Interior Designers Singapore; Brendan Murray, CRS Sub Region Head for Citibank; Phillip Dunn, Director for APAC CREW for Netflix and Arsh Chaudhry, CEO of Space Matrix.

Students were provided with an industry-relevant brief set by Space Matrix which explored the invaluable real-world in a competitive environment along with the guidance of world-class designers and strategists. The contestants chose from industries such as online fashion retail, gaming, technology, food services and wind energy who were challenged to design a workplace that showcased front-end customer experience space and a back-end employee coworking space.

The students were tasked to create an Innovation Lab, a facility dedicated to the pursuit of new ideas, products and services. The project brief was structured such that it gave the students an insight into the changing nature of work and the workplace in a post-COVID era, allowing them to think, ideate and be a part of the real-life problem of defining the future of work. The pandemic which has upended the familiar, conventional workspace and our lifestyles served to challenge the students to factor in the changing nature of work as they conceptualised a dynamic workplace that would entice employees and potential clients to innovate and collaborate together.

Senior leaders from Space Matrix’s design and workplace strategy provided ongoing mentorship to the students over a period of 21 weeks, from the time of launch of the competition leading up all the way up to the finals. Besides providing holistic and constructive feedback to further enhance and develop the young talents’ skills in internalising real-world design concepts, thereby incorporating into their design of the Innovation Lab as communicated in their project brief, students also have access to the mentors for timely advice throughout the competition. The mentors include Richard Baker, Associate Director Design APAC; Su-San Tan, Director for Workplace Strategy and Insights; Rishabh Lakhanpal, Business Head Design, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur; Anoma Baste, Associate Director, International Client Solutions, and Samantha Soe, Associate Designer.

The semi-finals held on 16th March 2022 at Space Matrix’s office was a hotly contested event where the Top 15, shortlisted from a group of 83 participants, pitted their story-telling and design skills to a judging panel who shortlisted the final eight for the final event.

Dream Big Designathon continues to provide opportunities to the upcoming design talent in Singapore through a collaboration with leading universities, and corporates underpinned by the mentorship and internship program opportunities provided by Space Matrix.