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5 Takeaways From The Design Education Panel Discussion

Organised by the Interior Design Confederation Singapore, the event saw industry experts share where they think it should be headed.

1. Embrace Phygital 

We are no longer just designing physical spaces. We are designing in the metaverse. The on-trend term for this is phygital. The renovated Funan Mall is the most classic example of what this is all about. This will force design education to evolve – and it is. Designers should never be complacent and remain in their domain forever. Multi-disciplinary / cross-disciplinary / trans-disciplinary designers (whatever you want to name it) is the way moving forward.

Wayne Oh, Course Manager (Experiential Product & Interior Design - XPID), School of Design & Media, Nanyang Polytechnic

2. Communicate Design’s Importance

While MNCs are leading the way in becoming more design-driven, empathetic and user-centric, the design community has not been able to effectively communicate the value of their craft to the majority of SMEs (or local companies). When design buyers, hirers or other decision-makers lack opportunities to experience the capabilities and value that designers can offer, it severely limits the transformative power of design and puts Singapore on the back-foot compared to our more advanced counterparts like UK and Japan. Once we can break through these barriers, the demand for designers will go up, and both recognition and compensation for them will increase correspondingly. That is what will attract students to the profession.

Low Cheaw Hwei, Head of Design, Philips ASEAN Pacific and Design Consulting, Asia & Head of Government & Public Affairs, Philips Singapore

3. Emphasise Getting Certified

Accreditation is an important aspect in lifting the standards of the interior design industry – it will protect the rights of a designer and inevitably lead to a healthier local economy with regulations in place.

Faizan Shah, Design Education Chair & Council Member, Interior Design Confederation Singapore & Lecturer, Singapore Polytechnic

4. Develop EQ

Designers needs to adopt digital technology to increase work productivity, and be able to develop cognitive empathy to work and communicate with stakeholders.

Perry Ng, Course Manager, Architecture & Interior Design, School of Design & Media, ITE College Central

5. Prioritise Digital Over Analogue

There are two types of changes in the design landscape: digital and analogue. The development of digital reality, VR, AI and the possibility of inviting clients on an adventure to experience the idea of a project is already having an impact on our profession. Also, coding and social robotics are opening up new possibilities to the designers. But if we look at the design education landscape, we still have many “analogue” topics, such as issues of access and the use of building materials, the reuse of existing materials and working with more local, durable and timeless materials.

Jola Starzak, Head of Faculty of Design – School of Form at SWPS University (University of Social Sciences and Humanities) in Warsaw & Co-founder and partner at Atelier Starzak Strebicki

Low Shi Ping
16 June 2022