Arts Singapore

Archifest 2018 – In Conversation with Festival Director Yann Follain


This September, the Singapore Institute of Architects’ (SIA) annual Archifest returns for its 12th edition. Over the two week long festival, Singapore will become a hub for all things design and architecture, with a vibrant selection of programmes to educate and nurture visitors and attendees on urban design and living.

This year’s edition will be led by Festival Director Yann Follain, Managing Director-Head of Design of WY-TO, who has decided on the theme of  “Design for Life” for this edition of Archifest, which serves to address concepts of liveability, sustainability, well-being, life satisfaction but also to push creativity and innovation in architectural design. Yann’s own design philosophy back at WY-TO is how Design Must Serve a Cause, himself a strong advocate for sustainability. Read our exclusive interview with Yann in full below as we pick his brain about this year’s edition of Archifest and what visitors can look forward to:

Yann Follain

Bakchormeeboy: Tell us more about this year’s theme of Design for Life and the role of an architect in today’s day and age.

Yann: What we are doing is for the people, designing architecture for living in the 21st century to improve their daily lives. Being an architect today is beyond simply aesthetics, and we need to consider different settings when we work on projects. Take the idea of elderly neighbours and low income households for example – architects can improve their lives through innovative design, and we do care about people! It’s never been about installing new technology like solar panels; it’s about going beyond the norm to see how different equations can work together, where architects use their skills and innovation to showcase all these ideas. 

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

Bakchormeeboy: How has design grown in Singapore over the years in terms of focus? 

Yann: Design should never be based on just aesthetics. Good architecture is all about considering the practical implications, to live and enjoy and to catch on to trends that work. All of this adds up to being able to build towards the future, and should inform the way the modern architect thinks. 

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

Bakchormeeboy: Tell us more about this year’s Pavilion and its location at Marina Bay.

Yann: Marina Bay is a very lively area in prime location, and we’re very grateful for Marina Bay Sands to have been given the space. Everyone knows Marina Bay, and it’s sure to grab some attention from the public being there. It’s both exciting and challenging, and with so many design elements and so many people, both Singaporeans and foreigners. For us, the Pavilion really represents the best design this year, with its void deck concept creating this sense of nostalgia. Kite Studio Architecture are very sincere in their design, and it gels well against the high luxury elements of Marina Bay Sands. At the end of the day though, it’s about how they’ve used simple materials, away from the lux and the architecture, and you can be sure there’ll be programmes and events where audiences and participate, along with music! 

Photo Credit: Kite Studio Architecture

Bakchormeeboy: What does Archifest hope to achieve this year, and what can visitors look forward to taking away from attending? 

Yann: We’ll be touching on subjects such as the National Library, and what Archifest really wants to do is to build momentum and showcase a new, younger generation of architects. We want to be a platform for them to share their talents with the public and to open up new opportunities for them in future. I don’t think they’re very well represented at the moment, which is why we need to show off their work and show that it should be appreciated. We’ll also be inviting our contemporaries and fellow architects from the region to share their experiences during the festival, and so that we can share and promote local architecture to them, and really, show them that Singapore has the best platform and place to grow a budding architectural scene.

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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