Preview: Archifest 2018 – Design For Life

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Organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), the 12th edition of Archifest returns this September. During the two week long festival, the city comes alive as they celebrate our urban environment, creating the nurturing space for reflection, question, collaboration and experimentation.

Yann Follain

This year’s edition will be led by Yann Follain, the Managing Director-Head of Design of WY-TO, who has taken on the role of Festival Director of Archifest this year. (Look out for our exclusive interview with Yann in our upcoming article in the build up to Archifest 2018.)  His design philosophy is rooted in the fundamental belief that Design Must Serve a Cause, focusing on developing timeless, durable environments with a strong focus on context and content as the driving methodology, beyond pure aesthetics. As a sustainability advocate, he works to remain relevant in an age of economic, political and social uncertainties while improving social and environmental conditions, and preserving financial health.

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

Yann has proposed the theme “Design for Life” for this edition of Archifest. It serves to address various elements such as liveability, sustainability, well-being, life satisfaction but also to push creativity and innovation. The use of the word ‘design’ instead of ‘architecture’ promotes collaborations and captures the evolving role of architects. The main theme is elaborated in three sub-themes: Design for People, Design for Time and Design for Environment. “Design for Life” is a theme which broadly encompasses the architect’s vision to respond to the true needs of humanity. This is very much at the core of the belief upheld by Yann and his team at WY-TO – on the necessity for design to give back to the community and enrich human life as a whole, through social and environmental engagement.

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

This year, one of the anchor event spaces, the Pavilion, will be featuring a design by Kite Studio Architecture, beating out several other local architecture firms after an open call. Following the theme of “Design for Life”, the team won over the five-member jury panel with its scheme centred on the concept of familiar void decks within Singapore’s typical HDB public housing. Says Mr Khairudin Saharom, Principal and Director of Kite Studio Architecture: “Our design for the Archifest 2018 Pavilion was inspired by two main elements – the dynamic open space of Marina Bay and the art photography of Nguan, a Singaporean photographer who is known for his impactful portrayal of everyday Singapore. With these, we based our design set on the ubiquitous HDB void deck that is so iconic of Singapore and reimagined it as a fluid, multi-purpose open space for the festival.”

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

Taking its reference from Singapore modern history, the jury concurred that the design of the Pavilion successfully translates one of the unique typologies most of us experience on the daily basis into an innovative and festive temporary structure. The Pavilion will feature key design elements such as a physical parameter based on the typical HDB void deck design, with slanted walls and columns for display of exhibition works, multi-entrances without physical demarcations to allow flexibility for visitors to enter the space from any direction, pastel hues of bricks to reflect Nguan’s photography works and to induce a sense of familiarity and nostalgia, and sustainable materials such as bamboo charcoal based ‘Bamco’ and construction methods with the use of dry construction techniques for the brick ‘walls’ that will be fastened with rebar cages.

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

As an anchor event space for the festival, the Pavilion will feature programmes such as exhibitions, talks, Architours and other fringe events over the two weeks. Come down to Archifest 2018 to see some of the most exciting projects, multi-disciplinary collaborations, conferences, workshops and teaching, that prove how Design, when harnessed in the right way, has so much potential for living. great potential to reflect the richness of human values, our history and development, and enhance the world we live in for our future generations.

Archifest 2018 runs from 28th September to 10th October 2018 at the Festival Village at Maina Bay Sands Event Plaza and other locations around Singapore. For more information, visit their Facebook here

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