architecture design Singapore

Design Wise: Park Yourself’ bags top prize for rejuvenating Paya Lebar Central

Winner ‘Park Yourself’’s colourful frames and whiteboards draw in passers-by, inviting them to explore the structure and interact with others. Created by Jonathan Christian Chin, Architect, and Pearlyn Chang, Landscape Architect.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for National Development Indranee Rajah has announced the winning design ‘Park Yourself’ at the URA-REDAS SPARK Challenge1 award ceremony held at Marina Square today. A cash prize of $10,000 has also been awarded to the team behind ‘Park Yourself’.

“The place to be happy is here” – reads a handwritten message on a whiteboard. Designed with bright and bold colours, the ‘Park Yourself’ installation was envisioned as a vibrant urban park that generates activity through interactive play. Its colourful structure and scribbles beckon curious mall visitors, inviting them to spend some time interacting with each other in a safe and fun manner.

The creators of ‘Park Yourself’, Jonathan Christian Chin and Pearlyn Chang, attributed the idea behind the installation to their hope of rejuvenating shared spaces in Singapore, taking into account how access to many public spaces, such as playgrounds, had to be restricted during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They said, “We wanted to bring the ‘social’ into social distancing, by bringing friends, families and strangers together to bond and interact, but at the same time, encourage them to do so at a safe distance.”

Finalist ‘Colour Play’ is designed as a placemaking space that is not only human-centered, but also screen-friendly. The project plays with opacity, reflectivity, and light. By using acrylic, mirrors, and lightboxes, the installations reinterpret what it means to move through the kaleidoscope of colours that is the Orchard Precinct. Created by Gillian Tan, Designer, Amanda Kwek, Designer, and Joey Bunag, Intern.

The third edition of the Challenge jointly organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and the Real Estate Developers’ Association of Singapore (REDAS) was launched in late October last year. It invited the public to submit ideas for innovative designs to enliven public spaces in mixed-use developments and shopping malls.

Finalist ‘Symbiosis’ references imagery of the sea or the “marina”, bringing the natural world to life with cutting edge technology – creating pockets of rest and respite through slow tactic motions and a blended material experience. Created by Aaron Chooi, Research (SUTD – Bio-Inspired Robotics), Deborah Loh, Designer Thileepan Stalin, Ph.D. Studentm Aby Raj P M, Ph.D. Student, and Dr Pablo Alvarado.

After an initial round of submissions, five shortlisted design prototypes were transformed into installations and exhibited at fourteen locations in March and April 2022. Apart from ‘Park Yourself’, which was on display at the Paya Lebar Central pilot Business Improvement District2 , the other four finalists were ‘Colour Play’, ‘Fill My Little World’, ‘Cash Love Clout’ and ‘Symbiosis’.

Finalist ‘Fill My Little World’ is both an art installation and interactive social space for finding a quick escape from the frenzy and buzz of shopping sprees to indulge in a more intuitive connection to your BODY AND SOUL through ‘Fitting Rooms’ that bring unexpected joy and delight. Created by student Aqilah Binti Alwi, and executive
Nadia Shafirah Binte Azihan.

URA’s Chief Executive Officer Lim Eng Hwee said, “We are very encouraged by the quality and quantity of submissions this year, which translated into innovative design interventions that revitalised Singapore’s public spaces and retail developments. The positive public response towards the installations demonstrates the benefits when the public and private sectors collaborate with the community to co-create a more vibrant and meaningful built environment.”

Finalist ‘Cash Love Clout’ takes the form of anamorphic pavilions, where symbols representing the common desires and aspirations of our society materialise when viewed from specific points around the Paya Lebar precinct. Outside these symbols, the installation’s perpetually shifting amorphous forms are a space for gathering, a playground for hide-and-seek, and a pavilion for respite. Created by students Andrew Lee and
Chan Chee Meng.

The winner was decided by a panel of judges from URA, REDAS, the Singapore University of Technology and Design, and the National University of Singapore, in addition to the results of an online poll. 1,672 votes were received this year, with ‘Park Yourself’ emerging as the most popular design with 781 votes.

“The concept for ‘Park Yourself’ was particularly well-executed. It led to a lively and immersive installation hosted at Paya Lebar Quarter and Paya Lebar Square that was well-received by mall visitors of all ages, transforming the shopping experience at the development into a shared and memorable one,” said REDAS President, Chia Ngiang Hong.

From 30th April 2022, ‘Park Yourself’ will be exhibited at Marina Square. The public is invited to experience the installation during the mall’s opening hours.

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