Cover Photo: Design Superposition

Design Superposition is currently ongoing at the National Design Centre from now till 10 April, from 9am to 9pm daily. Admission to the exhibition is free

In quantum physics, the phenomenon of superposition refers to the combination of all possible states in a system. In the realm of design, a similar phenomenon is burgeoning: while design is nothing, it is simultaneously also everything. 

Hosted by Design Singapore Council, Design Superposition is the latest art exhibition at the National Design Centre. Showcasing the works of 10 local and international artists, the exhibition seeks to examine the true value of design. 

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Through the exploration of the inherently duplicitous nature of art, 10 artists have created pieces that are bound to make you reflect and ponder on the true value of design to society.

Each artist will bring to you a different facet of design through a unique viewing lens that makes use of each of their respective expertise in fields of illustration, architecture with fengshui principles, industrial design, science technology, fashion, digital media, visual art, and nature.

Below, we highlight five of the artworks currently on display.

1. 100 Marble Tiles by Offcut Factory

Tackling the issue of material waste, the artwork by Offcut Factory features 100 slabs of marble, 10 of which are made from discarded marble. A material that is often rejected by clients for not being perfect enough, the team at Offcut Factory hopes to use this installation as a conduit to educate the public on the issue of material waste and how our arbitrary perception of beauty heavily contributes to it.   

Indeed, one man's trash is another man's treasure. Offcut Factory is an initiative that seeks to imbue material waste with new life. Working with manufacturing companies to create new value from their discarded material waste by design, Offcut Factory hopes to encourage efforts towards a sustainable future where businesses adopt more environmentally friendly alternative solutions.

2. Alam Sekita: Jiran (Neighbour) by Thesupersystem

Featuring a portable beehive that provides security for bees in urban areas, the installation amalgamates technology, science and design, with heavy influences from post-human philosophers such as Donna Harroway and Carey Wolfe.

Bees play an integral role in the preservation of our ecosystem through assisting in the pollination of flowers. In recent years, however, the actions of men have led to the endangerment of the species. 

Design has created arbitrary boundaries which have resulted in the division of humans from their non-human counterparts. But can it be the impetus that allows for the co-existence of humans and non-humans in spaces designed specifically for humans? The artist believes so. In fact, he believes that innovation is what it takes to restore the relationship between men and nature. 

Heider Ismails, the brain behind Thesupersystem, is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Design at Lasalle College of the Arts. He has also exhibited works at the National Gallery Singapore and the London Science Festival. 

3. Meaningful Differences by Will & Well

For this project, Will & Well cast aside restrictive modern elements of clothing for more inclusive ones, modifying buttons and hard-to-reach zippers to make wearing clothing an easier task for those with disabilities.

Through making use of straps and hook-and-loop closures instead, the clothing line manufactures customisable apparel that make clothes more convenient for those with disabilities. With innovation and design, this meaningful creation highlights how design adds value to society, moving it forward.

Will & Well is an inclusive fashion label that hopes to better the lives of people by changing the conventional way clothes are worn, while still providing comfort. With marginalised groups in mind, the label uses innovation and technology to conceive apparel that enables those with disabilities to attain independence in their daily dressing routines. 

4. So Now You Try by Cliff Tan

From our homes to our offices, we definitely spent a lot of our time indoors in buildings. It is no doubt infrastructure is a big part of our lives. The installation features 22 squares, each representing a four-by-four metre room, and each room labelled with a different purpose. This installation seeks to show visitors how innovation is used to transform rooms to fit their given function. Visitors are invited to layout the tiny furniture pieces and design a room according to its function. 

The artist behind this art piece, Cliff Tan, is an architect and published author, most well-known for his expertise in optimising tiny spaces using the principles of feng shui. Cliff believes that with creative spatial planning and sophisticated design, any room can be made functional regardless of its size.

5. When Words Fail by YT Tommy Lee

This digitally painted illustration gives meaningful insights into palliative caregiving and highlights the poignant nature of the process. The artwork serves to investigate the true value of design through the exploration of the soothing power of illustrations and how it aids in the healing process. 

YT Tommy Lee, the artist behind When Words Fail, is a Singaporean illustrator whose works often explore the visceral use of colours and space, creating visuals that elicit a sense of introspection.

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