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Interior design incubation centre to be set up to nurture local talent

Singapore designer Mike Lim (left pic, centre) wins the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 Singapore Interior Design Awards for his body of work such as The Assima Mall in Kuwait. (PHOTOS: Society of Interior Designers Singapore)
Singapore designer Mike Lim (left pic, centre) wins the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2022 Singapore Interior Design Awards for his body of work such as The Assima Mall in Kuwait. (PHOTOS: Society of Interior Designers Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Society of Interior Designers Singapore (SIDS) is setting up an interior design incubation centre to nurture local talent and help start-ups establish a firm foundation upon entering the industry.

The centre was announced by Indranee Rajah - Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and National Development - during the annual Singapore Interior Design Awards (SIDA) at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre on Friday (23 September).

Estimated to cost about $2 million, it will be housed in Grantral Mall@MacPherson and is expected to be ready in May 2023.

It will function as a co-working space, as well as a resource and research-and-development (R&D) centre. It will allow interior designers to access shared resources like building material libraries, R&D test labs, meeting rooms and computer labs. To get access to these resources, interior designers will have to join SIDS as members.

“The initiative is something close to my heart," said SIDS president Tung Ching Yew, who is also the founder and managing director of Singapore-based design firm SODA.

“It can be daunting taking your first steps in this industry, especially without a mentor or experience in the sector. I failed the first time trying to set up a design studio when I was 23. So I went back to the workforce for another 10 years before trying again. By that time, I was already 33.

“This centre will help those like my 23-year-old self navigate the obstacles one may face as a start-up."

Push for life-long learning mentality

More than half of the centre’s space will be set aside for training and workshop purposes. SIDS will curate training courses, seminars and mentorship programmes to support interior-design start-ups.

The centre follows SIDS’ push to get Singapore’s interior designers to place more emphasis on certification and embracing a life-long learning mentality. For example, the Singapore Interior Design Accreditation Scheme was announced in 2021 to define core skill sets and competencies to help ensure high standards and professionalism in the local industry.

Friday's SIDA saw winners chosen from over 400 entries in categories such as the prestigious Best Design Firm and Best of the Best awards.

Singapore designer Mike Lim was the big winner of the night. The principal designer of DP Design, Lim's Ruffled Ice installation at i Light Singapore 2022 and the 8 Tampines Grande Office Lobby earned him the Best of the Best gong.

Meanwhile, his body of work in a career spanning over 30 years earned him the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. His projects include: the retail component of Changi Airport Terminal 2, Paragon Shopping Centre and Our Tampines Hub.

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