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Singapore Polytechnic launches new, contemporary Design School building to expand

Published on 9 September 2014

Singapore Polytechnic (SP) today unveiled a new five-storey Design School building that brings together for the first time, its four diplomas under one roof. They are Diploma in Experience and Product Design (DXPD), Diploma in Games Development and Design (DGDD), Diploma in Interior Design (DID), and Diploma in Visual Communication and Media Design (DVMD), These diplomas see a total cohort of 700 students.

The new building aims  to invigorate the SP Design School’s ethos: to experiment, collaborate and document the design journey. From planting possibilities in the classroom to the  growing and blossoming of student designers, to the  fruition and harvesting of its various design efforts through its alumni.

Envisioned  as a living incubator, the Design School will provide conducive learning spaces for students to interact and co-create  creative design ideas. Moreover, with its unique blend of social, environmental and economic sustainability, the building has been conferred the BCA Platinum Green Mark award.


Contemporary building design


An invited design competition was first held in 2010, where five preliminary proposals were shortlisted from various local architectural firms based on a brief from SP’s Design School. As part of its philosophy to promote inter-disciplinary dialogue, the school wanted a porous building design with generous provision of open and gathering spaces.

Today, the building features an expansive use of glass, open concept studios with seamless integration to its surroundings, and a generous provision of public spaces with overlapping classroom and recreational spaces, to encourage a high degree of social interaction. The Plaza, Terrace and Roof, interspersed with courtyards, breakout spaces and alfresco dining provide a foundation for the collaborative design culture aspiration. In addition, the building also features external green walls to enhance the balance between concrete and nature.

Beyond the traditional classrooms and workshops, the new building integrates dedicated facilities such as proto-typing labs, media rendering, a photo studio, a motion-capture room and plotter rooms all under one roof.

With its new building, SP Design School will introduce two new initiatives that will integrate classroom learning with real-life applications and draw the industry closer to its students through linkages and collaborations.



The first initiative is the Designer-in-Residence (DIR) scheme where industry players are accorded a space within the SP Design School to co-create ideas and designs with students.

Under the DIR scheme, industry partners are based in the SP Design School. The DIRs create, experiment and foster greater exposure and interaction with the SP students, where industry meets academia and different designers from various disciplines create a vibrant, living test bed. In its inaugural run, the students will be collaborating and learning from designers including President Design Award Winner (2012) Hans Tan and Melvin Ong (showcased at Maison & Objet Asia), among others.


Design Research Unit

The second initiative is the newly formed Design Research Unit (DRU), helmed by a select group of lecturers, to keep abreast of latest developments in design, technology and methodologies.  The in-house team of lecturers will research and scan the latest developments in all aspects of design, such as technology, methods and materials that will then be assessed for suitability to be introduced and incorporated into the curriculum.

“With our four Design School diploma courses now housed together with industry standard facilities, greater synergies can be realised. We hope that by bringing the industry into our campus to be closer to our students, and with our staff maintaining a keen eye on industry trends, SP will be able to do its part in building a skills-based design sector for Singapore”, said Principal and Chief Executive Officer, Tan Choon Shian.

As part of the launch event, a three-day open house will be held from 10 to 12 September, where there will be an interactive showcase titled Seeds: Sowing Promises featuring 13 exhibitions of unique works.

Singapore Polytechnic Design School – Open terrace

Singapore Polytechnic Design School – Aerial view

Seeds: Sowing Promises – A sampling of the exhibits

Singapore Polytechnic Design School

Please refer to Annex A for a background of the SP Design School.

Please refer to Annex B for details of the Open House.

Please access high resolution photos of the SP Design School Building and Exhibitions here:


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Marilyn Tan

Corporate Communications Department

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SP Media phone: 96571543






Established in 1954, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is Singapore’s first polytechnic. It has 10 schools that offer 49 full-time diploma courses for close to 16,000 students.  SP has adopted a proven creative teaching and learning framework and it offers students a holistic, authentic and industry-relevant curriculum, innovative and vibrant learning spaces, and enriching overseas programmes. 

The Polytechnic is committed to producing competent and versatile graduates, who are also imbued with sound values, so that they can be work ready, life ready and world-ready.  Among the network of more than 178,000 SP alumni are successful entrepreneurs, top executives in multinational and public-listed corporations, and well-known professionals across various industries and leaders in government.

SP is the first polytechnic to be awarded the President’s Award for the Environment in 2010 and the President's Social Service Award in 2011.

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Annex A - Background of SP Design School

Singapore Polytechnic (SP)’s Design School began on 29 January 2007. As a new school in Singapore’s first polytechnic, its various facilities and studios were scattered across the entire SP campus. Since the school’s inception, its aim has been to experiment and facilitate cross-discipline interactions for both staff and students alike.

As part of SP’s Campus Rejuvenation project, there was the opportunity to gather the various diplomas united under one roof to forge greater cross-discipline interaction. With the new Design School building, the four diploma courses are brought together to cultivate the desired design community and culture of experimentation and collaboration. SP Design School’s vision is to nurture a generation of designers who experiment, question and push the boundaries across different aspects of our environment and society.


Through the years, the SP Design School has focused on pushing the boundaries of design through experimentation and working with established institutions and industry.

Diploma in Games Design and Development (DGDD)
- Worked with partners such as Singapore Kindness Movement
- Participated in International Competitions. Nominated Finalist for the Independent Games Festival, 2009 and Viope Game Programming Contest 2012

Diploma in Experience Product and Design (DXPD)
- Worked with Industry partners such as DBS Bank, OCBC, P&G, DEL MONTE, SYMANTEC, HEWLETT PACKARD, NEA and URA.
- Participated in Salone del Mobile.Milano (Italy), Maison&Objet Paris (France)

Diploma in Interior Design (DID)
- Collaborations with Pratt Institute (New York), National Institute of Design (India) and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand)
- Worked with partners such as National Environment Agency (NEA), Urban Development Authority (URA) and Singapore Discovery Centre
- Alumni – Chen Shufei, Space Nurtures Winner, 2013

Diploma in Visual Communications and Media Design (DVMD)
- Worked with Industry partners such as Microsoft, Levis, Feiyue Shoes, Habitat for Humanity, ACRES, National Museum of Singapore and *SCAPE,
- Alumni - Crowbar Winner, 2013

Designer-in-Residence (DIR)

DGDD – Inaugural DIR: Don Sim Jianqiang of Daylight Studios
Don Sim is the CEO and co-founder of Daylight Studios. Founded in 2011, Daylight is one of Singapore’s most reputable mobile game studios. Don is also the executive producer of the mobile social games developed in Daylight Studios. Together with his passionate team of game developers, Daylight has developed games like Reign of Heroes, Swords of Fate, and Spirit Horizon.

DXPD – Inaugural DIR: Hans Tan of Hans Tan Studio
Born and based in Singapore, Hans Tan is a designer and an educator. His practice focuses on contextual research that yields conceptual propositions through design, with investigations that employ function as a medium, producing outcomes that often explore values, identity and materiality. His works have been presented in international platforms that bridge the margin between design and art. Most recently, his works were awarded with the distinction of "Les Découvertes" (best innovative product) at the fall edition of Maison et Objet 2012 in Paris, and was conferred with Design of the Year at the President’s Design Award 2012, Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade. In 2013, he was named one of Perspective’s 40 under 40, an award that recognises design talent from the Asia- Pacific region.

DID – Inaugural DIR: Melvin Ong, Founder of Desinere
Melvin Ong is the founder of cutting-edge design studio, Desinere. He graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Product Design from Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design in 2010. Melvin had the privilege of being under the tutelage of established designers such as Chris Lefteri and Reiko Kaneko. He then went on to work with London design agency Brand42, where he was involved in projects for CNN, Johnnie Walker and Mailonline. Melvin has also exhibited his personal works as part of a collaborative at Tent London 2010 and the Milan Salone Satellite in 2011. With these experiences that quietly moulded him, he returned to Singapore in 2012 to establish Desinere, which made its debut launching its first collection in Design Tide Tokyo 2012.

DVMD – Inaugural DIR: Knuckles & Notch
Knuckles & Notch is a Design practice set up by three creatives, Djohan Hanapi, Marilyn Yunjin and Muhammad Izdi. Established in early 2014, the studio advocates the arts in encouraging the exploration and development of the Risograph practice in a fine art context by providing a common platform for artists and designers to share and publish their works. Knuckles & Notch was recently featured on People of Print, a UK based online community that provides a daily source of inspiration for creatives who use printmaking in their work and Culturepush, an online outlet that strives to promote the art, culture and design in Singapore and gets the inside look at the talent behind ideas.

Annex B - SEEDS: Sowing Promises

To celebrate the opening of the new building, the SP Design School is putting up an interactive showcase titled Seeds: Sowing Promises. There are a total of 13 experiential exhibitions in the showcase, which documents the design journey from planting, possibilities, growing, blossoming, coming to fruition and harvesting. It features award winning design partners, alumni and students from the four diploma courses.

The branding for this showcase was conceptualised by a young design outfit called APT811, helmed by an award-winning alumni.
The showcase is open to the public from Wednesday to Friday, 10 to 12 September 2014, 10am to 4pm daily.


A. Opening Venue
1. Chromatography Flower Field
The Common Foundation studio blossoms into fields of colour with fields of paper flowers inked through paper chromatography! Students and staff from the SP Design School took part in inking blank paper flowers, drawing and writing down their aspirations for the school. The flowers are half placed in water where they bloom into multi-coloured blossoms as the water moves through the inked patterns.

B. Common Foundation
2. Common Foundation Showcase
The undulating terrain-like showcase is inspired by Italo Calvino's "Invisible Cities", a book derived from dreams and imagination. This terrain is formed using modular cuboid frames, symbolising the course's bare starting point. Spurred by dreams and imagination, abstract interpretations of the cities are shaped. This terrain showcases the wide array of experiences along this design journey and the manifold discoveries through exploration. Displaying a mix of traditional and digital media, the Common Foundation exhibition bridges the frontiers of form and function.

C. Rooms of Experience
Studios are converted into experiential spaces to showcase the essence of the four diploma courses.

3. Retrospection and Prospection of Fun
By Diploma in Games Design and Development and Experience (DGDD)
From backyard Kampong games of old to virtual open-world-games of next-gen consoles, the concept of explorative fun in a controlled “sandbox” has changed much in form but not in essence. Diploma of Games Design and Development invites you to experience the evolution of fun in a simulated multi-plane, multi-perspective setting.

4. The Wind Garden
By Diploma in Experience and Product Design (DXPD)
A garden filled with pinwheels invites visitors to look closer as the sight and sound of the turning pinwheels is wonderfully soothing. Playful, welcoming, and just beautiful, The Wind Garden is a breath of fresh air visually as it aims to create 'moments' of engagement between users, objects and space.

5. futureTENSE
By Diploma in Interior Design (DID)
future – adjective; at a later time; going or likely to happen or exist.
TENSE – adjective; unable to relax because of nervousness, anxiety, or stimulation.
Does a cube have to be a cube? futureTENSE takes visitors on a journey to redefine this fundamental form. Through optical illusion and spatial configuration, space or rather, perceived space is presented in an interactive manner through a mixture of installation and digital media. Space is after all the Interior Designer’s tool.

6. A Seeding Wall of Inspiration
By Diploma in Visual Communications and Media Design (DVMD)
An installation that grows throughout the exhibition, visitors are invited to interact with the installation; to leave a thought of inspiration in exchange for a little keepsake. Each keepsake is designed by DVMD students, featuring quotes from renowned creative industry practitioners. The “Seeding Wall” generates and spreads ideas.

D. Alumni
7. Growth
By Omar Shiddiq bin Masodi, Diploma in Interior Design (DID) Alumni
View the expression of growth in a fluid and gentle form as timber rods emerge from the ground in a structured yet organic manner. Representing the notion of ideas growing, and how they start off as a collection of many young, unrefined ideas, slowly developing and refining over time.

8. SP Design School Alumni – Chapter I
Past-meets-present-meets-future as we catch up with our Alumni!
The SP Design School alumni have been going places. A curated showcase of their works during their student days and their present works in the industry. From locally designed, made-in-Japan plates, to up-and-coming visuals all housed in our new gallery space.

E. Design Research Unit
9. Re-Composition
Despite the Miasma Theory, the hypothesis of controlling decomposition by microorganisms will be presented in diverse facets that depicts multi-cellullar filaments as structures that instigates spatial rebirths radically. Find out what our latest design research initiative has been exploring in an installation that spans several storeys.

F. Designer-in-Residence
Find out more about our inaugural Designer-in-Residence initiative with award winning, as well as up-and-coming local designers from across various design disciplines. These design showcases demonstrate the fruition of industry mentorship with SP Design School students.

10. Diploma in Experience and Product Design (DXPD)
Hans Tan – To Experiment
“To Experiment” is a permanent installation designed for the new building of the Singapore Polytechnic Design School that would form the creative epicentre for more than 700 design students. Capturing the spirit of the experimentation which underlines the ethos of the school, the text based work uses a flip dot display that continuously articulates distinct definitions the word experiment as a verb. These definitions are contributed by students and teachers from the design school, which reveals the manifold richness to the idea of “trying out” that are not evident by dictionary definitions. Through this concerted gesture, the budding design community of the Design School define the expansive ambitions of experimentation in their new premises.

11. Diploma in Visual Communications and Media Design (DVMD)
Knuckles & Notch – Collaborative Risography
Knuckles and Notch conducted a series of a ten-day workshops with students and alumni from DVMD, culminating in a collective exhibition at SD Design School premises. Participants will engage in Risography processes with the concept of “Grow” to create zine publications, and limited edition posters which will be on display.

12. Diploma in Interior Design (DID)
Melvin Ong of Desinere – Pleating Concrete
“Pleating Concrete” is a workshop tailored to explore the intricacies of paper pleating and to transit this process of folding patterns from a planar origin into one that is volumetric through the method of casting concrete. The result of this is a series of objects, both interior and architectural in nature of application that individual students have designed.

13. Diploma in Games Design and Development (DGDD)
Don Sim Jianqiang of Daylight – WarFair
Don led DGDD students to develop a game prototype that engages players to pit against each other, bringing out the concepts of fun and engagement in game development. The game will be a social-oriented breeder simulation game on the mobile device where the player raises, cares for and trains a fantasy creature in a farm. The player can take his or her creature to participate in a variety of events at the grand coliseum, ranging from combat sparring with fellow players and cooperative boss-battles, to party-style racing events.

- Hans Tan of Hans Tan Studio
- Melvin Ong of Desinere
- Knuckles & Notch
- Don Sim Jianqiang of Daylight

- APT811
APT811 is an agency in Singapore founded by graduates from the Diploma in Visual Communications and Media Design. They specialise in using effective strategies to create engaging stories for products and services. They have worked with RMIT University and Singapore’s own Koufu and are back at SP Design School, conceptualising the new school opening’s branding.

-  Kathlyn Loke
Kathlyn is a graduate from the Diploma in Interior Design and is currently pursuing a degree in photography.

- Omar Shiddiq Bin Masodi
Omar is a graduate from the Diploma in Interior Design and waiting to be enlisted into the army.

- The Student Agency
Our own in-house team of Diploma in Visual Communications and Media Design students who have worked on Campaigns for Singapore Polytechnic and exhibited at the London Design Festival in 2012!
Exhibitions Design

- Singapore Polytechnic Design School
Lecturers and students alike explore the realms of installation/exhibition design to bring across their ideas and work.



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