His Excellency Mario Vattani, Ambassador of Italy,
Her Excellency Sandra Jensen Landi, Ambassador of Denmark,
Ms Jacqueline Poh, Managing Director, Economic Development Board,
Ms Dawn Lim, Executive Director, DesignSingapore Council,
Mr Mark Wee, Festival Director, Singapore Design Week 2022,
Friends from the design and business community,
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. A very good evening to all. Thank you for joining us today at the opening of Singapore Design Week. It is heartening to be amongst an inspiring community of designers, creatives, entrepreneurs and industry leaders gathered here today.
2. After a two-year hiatus, the much-anticipated SDW is back with an exciting line-up of events and exhibitions. It invites us to explore the future and impact of design, as well as discover the latest design trends in the marketplace. We can look forward to a fascinating week of creativity and innovation. SDW showcases the best of design from Singapore and various parts of the world.
3. As the world gradually emerges from the pandemic, the shadows of issues like climate change, food security and sustainability are pressing us to review, reimagine and reformulate our current world. However, these challenges also present opportunities to envision new possibilities and create alternative solutions – through design. The world needs good design now, more than ever.
The Role of Design in Singapore and Dsg’s Mission
4. Singapore is where design can be an enabler for positive change and solutions. As PM Lee Hsien Loong said, “Singapore is a nation by design. Nothing we have today is natural, or happened by itself. Somebody thought about it, made it happen.” Our Little Red Dot has the necessity of design wired in its DNA. We have become a better nation by design. From public housing to economic transformation, and water sufficiency. Since independence, we sought to improve lives and the future of our city-state through careful planning and design, determination and sheer grit.
5. The story of design continues to shine today in our increasingly ideas-driven and knowledge-based economy. Since 2003, the DesignSingapore Council or Dsg has nurtured the design sector and fostered the use of design for innovation and growth, and our society’s progress.
6. We rolled out the Design Masterplan 2025 in 2015 to chart our way forward as a global city of design. The seed for SDW was also birthed in that master plan. In that same year, Singapore was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Design.
The 3 Pillars of SDW 2022
7. Today, we have a growing consciousness and appreciation of the power of design and the role it plays in our lives and economy. SDW 2022 is a testament to the vibrant design scene in our Lion City.
8. The three key themes featured by SDW this year capture how design is changing our future, transforming our market place and impacting lives.
9. The first theme, Design Futures, casts the spotlight on what lies ahead for the future of design and its potential for transformational change. This theme will be anchored by the inaugural Design Futures Symposium which convenes a host of distinguished thought leaders from around the world and Singapore.
a. Put together by one of the most influential curators in the design world, Paola Antonelli, participants at this symposium will discuss some of today’s most urgent issues and how design can be harnessed to model new paradigms, build prototypes and influence behaviour to drive positive changes in society.
Discussions and conversations on such topics are critical for steering us towards new visions and inspiring us to use design to innovatively overcome today’s problems.
10. I am looking forward especially, to attending the FIND – Design Fair next week which highlights the festival’s Design Marketplace theme. It will show us the latest lifestyle trends from across the globe and the fast-growing Southeast Asia region.
a. The addition of this event to SDW underscores Singapore’s role as an exciting design hub in Asia. As Asia’s newest and largest design fair, it will bring together a collection of interior brands, key opinion leaders and designers. This is an opportunity too, to raise the profile of Asia in the global design landscape.
b. Furthermore, the Southeast Asian Design Talent showcase in SDW called EMERGE @ FIND will feature over 50 emerging designers from different parts of Southeast Asia. One of them is Singapore’s Cynthia Chan from the National University of Singapore’s Design Incubation Centre who reveals her sustainable solution of transforming fur waste from pet grooming salons into beautiful rugs.
11. The third pillar of SDW, Design Impact inspires the audience with clever design solutions that tackle some of society’s biggest questions.
a. You will have a chance to experience some of Singapore’s most outstanding designs & solutions by going on the President*s Design Award Tours during SDW.
b. You would not want to miss the Good Design Research Pop-up exhibition. Over 20 homegrown designers will show how good design can create a better world. For example, Claudia Poh of the local studio Werable creates adaptive clothes for persons who have trouble getting dressed by themselves.
12. This year, Dsg is bringing the festival into the heritage areas of Bras Basah, Bugis, Little India and the Civic District. I hope you’ll find a chance to visit the showcases there and experience for yourselves how our design and creative community is pushing the envelope through design.
13. Let me conclude by taking this opportunity to express my appreciation to everyone who has worked hard behind the scenes to make SDW possible. I wish each of you an inspiring, meaningful, and fruitful time at the Singapore Design Week 2022. With your help and participation, the story of design continues to resonate strongly in Singapore.
Together, we’re designing and building a better future.
14. Thank you.
 From PM Lee’s speech at the SUTD’s Ministerial Forum, delivered on 5 April 2018. “Singapore is a nation by design. Nothing we have today is natural, or happened by itself. Somebody thought about it, made it happen.”