Finally, after almost three years, the Interior Design industry is back to its bustling best.
With Singapore well on a path to opening up and resuming pre-Covid19 activities, the ID sector is enjoying a return to business as usual. This is something we at the Society of Interior Designers Singapore (SIDS) have longed for and I am honoured to be elected as the new SIDS President as we cheer a return to pre-pandemic business levels.
We can already see the signs of a steady recovery.
Take for instance our Singapore Interior Designers Award (SIDA) 2022, not only are we seeing an increase in the number of entries this year compared to 2021, but we are also seeing a bumper crop of entries from Singapore.
Preparing our sector for growth
A similar rosy picture is also echoed at the national level. According to Singapore Government estimates earlier this year, the built environment sector is seeing signs of recovery with construction output nearing pre-COVID levels.
Our regular chats with the industry also tell a similar story. However, some challenges remain.
For one, higher building material costs due to inflation and the lack of skilled workers due to a backlog of multiple projects are happening at the same time. This is a happy problem to have. But if it is not resolved with urgency, it will impact the completion of projects and in turn, create disputes between the Interior Designers and clients.
As members of SIDS, you can be rest assured that we work with the relevant authorities to help resolve any issues that the industry may face.
Another is the upskilling of our ID practitioners. I am glad to announce that our Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Scheme, first announced at SIDA 2020, is progressing nicely.
The number of accredited interior designers has steadily risen, to over 200. But we want more on board.
The accreditation scheme was developed to elevate the Singapore interior design profession through defining core skill sets and competencies to bridge the gap between education and practice. It aims to ensure high standards and professionalism in the local interior design industry and validate the industry at the global stage.
It is important that we carry on that path.
Key goals for this term: Interior Design Education
In relation to growth, is to continue our path on education. I have the privilege of holding other appointments in the Design Education as Advisory Committee Member, External Examiner and Adjunct Lecturer for more than 13 years with various design institutions and polytechnics. For the past few years, Design Education has steered towards the direction of nurturing the new generation of designers to be multi-disciplinary. From bridging various curriculums and merging of design courses, it is encouraging to see that some of the academic projects have achieved unexpected and interesting concepts.
However, the Interior Design curriculum remains one of the most tenacious courses. We not only have to apply design creatively, but we also have to know how to build structures and fixtures safely. One of the key agenda for this new term is to ensure our members are kept up to date on current and future advancements of the Interior Design fraternity by focusing on effective learning for both students and practitioners.
Interior Design Practice: #BestDesignPractice
The “No Free Design” movement is already a thing in the past. In fact, we have advanced, as a community, to examine how Interior Designers and Design firms can command better and fairer design fees based on experience and profile. A young designer can level-up their profiles against the veterans by participating and winning in design awards, such as SIDA. This will naturally elevate their profiles and drive towards a culture of #BestDesignPractice.
In line with this movement, I am glad to announce that SIDS and Elegant Group will collaborate to establish the new Grantral Complex at Macpherson as an Interior Design epicentre. We will be setting up a $2 million Interior Design Incubation Centre with an estimated floor space of 8,500 sqf to nurture local talents and start-ups in the Interior Design fraternity. The Incubation Centre aims to provide assistance and nurture new and upcoming Interior Design companies in Singapore. The centre will comprise of co-working spaces, an R&D test lab with material libraries, meeting rooms and computer labs. This will reduce the need for start-ups to invest heavily in design software by providing equipment that comes with software and licenses installed on a rental basis. Development of the centre is expected to be completed by May 2023.
In addition, SIDS will curate structured Designpreneur courses, masterclasses and mentorship programmes to support new Interior Design start-ups that are registered as Professional Members of SIDS.
Appreciation to Honorary Patrons
I would like to also express my heartiest gratitude to Ms Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and National Development, and Dr Goh Chong Chia, Architect and Former Nominated Member of Singapore Parliament, for being supportive patrons to SIDS. We could not have grown in the last few years without your strong backing. Let’s look forward to doing more good work for the interior design community.
Appreciation to Immediate Past President
I must thank my predecessor Prof Keat Ong for his stellar work and I know I have big shoes to fill. Despite a challenging last couple of years, Keat has guided SIDS expertly and we have emerged stronger as an association as well as a design community.
Here’s wishing everyone a great end to the year 2022, and an even better 2023 and beyond.
Tung Ching Yew
Society of Interior Designers – Singapore