DESIGNSINGAPORE COUNCIL PRESENTS ‘GARDEN DREAMING’
An exhibition that showcases the development of - and hopes for - Singapore as a City in Nature, 9 April - 31 May
13th April 2021 – Renowned as the ‘Garden City’ state, Singapore is justly proud of its green spaces, with trees and plants that grow everywhere, from within parks to the rooftops of skyscrapers. Now, as Singapore transitions into its next phase as a ‘City in Nature’ (the new mandate of Singapore’s National Parks Board, or NParks), an exhibition at the National Design Centre explores how Singapore, and by extension all of us, can live more closely with nature for great potential benefit. Conceptualised by the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg), Garden Dreaming is an exhibition intended to invite consideration of how we co-exist with nature now, and imaginings of a positive landscaped future. By having leading practitioners talk about how their work can improve wellbeing, ecosystem health and services, and resilience, Dsg aims to inspire the design community, developers and the general public alike to think deeply about the great potential that can come with a close connection with nature.
Running daily (9am to 9pm) until 31st May, Garden Dreaming encompasses a series of video interviews - shown on screens throughout the gallery - with key figures involved in shaping Singapore’s landscapes and ‘greened’ urbanscapes, paired with wall panels that explore key themes in the nation’s nature stories - all surrounded by an indoor jungle of live plants.
The four video interviews are conducted with Singapore-based creators of nature-focused design projects, showcasing these and featuring discussions around how they were brought to life, and the designers’ philosophies on the current and future synergies between cities and green spaces. Together, these practitioners demonstrate how innovation is happening in landscape and urban greening in Singapore - driving valuable change and improvement despite a lack of resources and space.
The four interviewees, their projects and some topics covered are:
Leonard Ng, Country Marketing Director, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl - landscape architecture and urban planning - Lakeside Garden at Jurong Lake Gardens
- Bringing back old ecologies into industrialised areas
- Creating space for residents to appreciate nature and, particularly, water as a precious resource
- How natural spaces evolve to create a diversity of wildlife and the co-existence of this within a human-inhabited environment
- How landscape architecture can make a real impact in mitigating the effects of climate change in Singapore
- The importance of public spaces - particularly in the wake of COVID-19
Schirin Taraz-Breinholt, Director (COO), WOHA - an architectural practice with expertise in biophilic design - PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering
- Integrating landscape and architecture; exploring how we want to live as a civilisation and a responsibility to create better typologies for sustainable development
- Reconciling the accommodation of millions of people in cities with our relationship with the natural environment - considering how this impacts our organisation of transport, how we harvest energy and food
- How development in the city does not have to be solely at the expense of greenery, but can intensify it
- Integrating sky gardens to maximise green space and giving back to the city; providing visually attractive surroundings despite being in a dense urban environment
- The scientifically proven positive impact of biophilia on people’s health
- Measuring buildings based on social and ecological factors, not just their economic viability, and creating three dimensional cities that foster both liveability and sustainability
Yun Hye Hwang, Associate Professor and Programme Director (BLA) - landscape architect - National University of Singapore (NUS)
- Creating rewilded spaces with minimal yet strategic human intervention to encourage and monitor growth of biodiversity
- Exploring the public’s comfort level in terms of the degree of wildness in urban green spaces and creating an accessible way to experience them
- The Bachelor of Landscape Architecture is a newly created degree at NUS in response to demand and timeliness - using green space as a means for urban planning and the environmental issues it helps address
Goh Yu Han, Director, Salad Dressing - landscape architecture - Enabling Village
- Creating natural, self-sustaining systems
- The shifting perception of nature from something to be tamed to something we need to support and co-exist with; closing the gap between humans and our natural surroundings
- Greening of high-rise buildings and how rewilding can take place at all levels - “rewilding the sky”
- The studio imagines a future in which other living organisms are seen as our equals, not as commodities
Above: Rasau Walk, Lakeside Garden at Jurong Lake Gardens, Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (image credit: Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl) and Enabling Village by Salad Dressing (image credit: Fabian Ong)
Above: PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering by WOHA (image credit: Patrick Bingham-Hall) and National University of Singapore Nature Reserve (image credit: From Lawn to Forest Garden by Zi En Jonathan Yue. Copyright: Yun Hye Hwang)
The wall panels invite consideration of themes such as:
- Can we graft our identity? Exploring how projects offering less manicured and more ‘naturalised’ environments - such as Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl’s Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park and Lakeside Garden - provide a more localised sense of place, mimicking forest structure and accommodating more native plant species.
- Where could systems-thinking lead us? Architectural studio WOHA considers how buildings could contribute to the generation of energy and ecosystem services, such as generating oxygen and supporting biodiversity; becoming sites for food production and supporting fauna through planting to fill biological gaps
- How wild do we want to be? Looking at how the taming of our lived surroundings has ecological downsides in the context of urban greenery, limiting ecosystems. More naturalised environments can deliver aspects such as stormwater management, supporting biodiversity and improving soil nutrition. Exploring how ‘intended wildness’ can benefit a city’s transition to be more symbiotic with a natural environment and what this means for the landscape architect’s longer-term role with these dynamic projects.
- Is digitised nature the future? Investigating the potential of digitised technology - such as robots, sensors and remote imaging - to manage greenery and parks’ health and environmental performance.
Additionally, two botanical design demonstrations will be held in the gallery during the exhibition, presented by This Humid House on 22nd April (8 - 9pm SGT / 2 - 3pm CET / 1 - 2pm BST) and in May (date TBC):
In the 22 April session, This Humid House founder John Lim will craft a large-scale botanical installation for the exhibition. While doing so, he will talk about the studio’s design approach, sustainable sourcing methods, and relationship with the floral ecosystem in Singapore and the region. The Appropriating Nature for Pleasure demonstrations will be available to join via Zoom - by registering online - and also available on YouTube afterwards.
Garden Dreaming is presented under the National Design Centre’s curatorial theme for April - May 2021, titled ‘Casting Hope’. As part of its curatorial statement, this theme ‘focuses on design that strongly harnesses the imagination to find new solutions to problems and new, impactful possibilities for an improved world.’ It aims to explore how hopeful perspectives drive innovation and result in better processes and outcomes for businesses and the general public.
As part of this theme of hope, Garden Dreaming posits and asks:
Vegetation has always been strategic in urbanised Singapore. The manicured ‘Garden City’ vision has brought us cooler streets, created an impressive national image, and contributed to our economic story. As we evolve toward NParks’ new vision of a ‘City in Nature’, we find ourselves on the cusp of incredible potential. A more naturalised – yet strategically managed – high-performance green environment can bring us greater resilience in many ways. But are we collectively ready to live closer to nature and its messier complexity?
To visit the exhibition web page: https://www.designsingapore.org/event/Garden-Dreaming.html
To register for This Humid House: Appropriating Nature for Pleasure, visit the following web page: https://www.designsingapore.org/event/This-Humid-House--Appropriating-Nature-For-Pleasure.html
This exhibition has been created in collaboration with:
Conceptualised and Produced by:
National Design Centre
As part of the ‘Casting Hope’ programme line up for April-May 2021
Workshops & Botanical Wall Installation:
This Humid House
ABOUT DESIGNSINGAPORE COUNCIL
The DesignSingapore Council was established in 2003 to help develop the nation’s design sector. This follows from the Singapore’s Economic Review Committee report, which identified the creative industry as one of the three new sectors (including education and healthcare) for economic growth. Developing the design sector can help to enhance Singapore’s value proposition; as well as contribute to the country’s economic growth and social progress.
The vision of the DesignSingapore Council is for Singapore to be an innovation-driven economy and a loveable city through design by 2025. As the national agency for design, the Council’s mission is to develop the design sector, help Singapore use design for innovation and growth, and make life better in this UNESCO Creative City of Design. Our work focuses on three areas. First, we help organisations and enterprises use design as a strategy for business growth; and for excellent delivery of public services. Second, we nurture industry-ready talents skilled in design and innovation; and engender a design-minded workforce for the future economy. Third, we advance the Singapore brand through raising design appreciation on homeground; and making emotional connections with people across the world.
Singapore was designated a UNESCO Creative City of Design in December 2015. This designation supports the development of a creative culture and eco-system in Singapore that fully integrates design and creativity into everyday life. It is also an opportunity for Singapore to collaborate internationally with the cities of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN). The City of Design Office is sited within the DesignSingapore Council to coordinate and implement programmes that contributes towards the UCCN mission.
www.designsingapore.org / @designsingapore
For more information and images, contact Jacinta Da Rocha Goulter, Senior Associate Director at Camron PR on [email protected]