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Design Roulette – The Spin

At the end of 2010, a unique forum brought together 8 creatives and critics to discuss issues facing design and development in Asia.

Design Roulette – The Spin


2 February, 2011

It’s always exciting when thought leaders in architecture and design come together to engage and interact in fresh and provocative ways.

Design Roulette, held in Singapore at the end of last year as part of the Asia Design Forum, was a dialogue with a difference.

Soo K. Chan, Kay Ngee Tan, Richard Hassell (see main image for WOHA’s Met in Bangkok), Lyndon Neri, Alex Cho, Robert Whitlock, Tim Johnson and Danwen Xing took to the stage to present 5 of their projects in 3 minutes and field questions for 7 minutes in a continuing chain of conversation, with each participant getting a turn as presenter and interviewer.


Singapore’s Dhoby Ghaut Green by SCDA Architects

For Kay Ngee Tan of Kay Ngee Tan Architects, the resulting dialogue was animated and offered a fresh perspective on common concerns.


Singapore Management University by Kay Ngee Tan Architects

“It’s intriguing to see how others resolve similar situations we face, as the selection of designers came from many parts of the world,” said Tan.

“It’s interesting to hear different approaches, whether one agrees with them or not.”


Singapore Pavilion by Kay Ngee Tan Architects

Kay Ngee Tan Architects presented their designs for the Singapore Management University, Buddhist Cultural Museum, Singapore Pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, a Villa in Hangzhou and a comparison of traditional courtyard houses in South East Asia and Northern China.


Buddhist cultural museum by Kay Ngee Tan Architects

Environmental issues were a consistent theme throughout the Design Roulette discussions, as were the role and value of design in Asia.

“The ADF forum mixed smaller design offices like ours with really huge operators, so discussion related to how one maintains the standard of design, and how architecture can positively or negatively impact on our environment,” said Tan.

Forums like Design Roulette are critical to creating dialogue in an ever-shifting and ever-adapting design environment – particularly in Singapore.

“It is important for the West to have a dialogue with the fast-moving, fast-changing East. Singapore in that sense is the right pivoting spot to hold this event,” said Tan.

“I must say work coming out of Singapore is not bad at all!” adds Tan. “Which makes me very proud of this small but highly intelligent city.”

The only downside of the event? According to Tan, the audience simply wanted more. Let’s hope the inaugural Design Roulette was the first of many!


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