52 Weeks 52 Tests – Week 12 – Kampung spirit & Design Week

Last week was the Singapore National Design Week, and many activities, exhibition and events were on all week to celebrate the key discipline that design has become. I signed up for Kampung spirit Street furniture design workshop organized by the folks from design agency Chemistry at the rooftop of the National Design Centre on Maxwell Road.

Edible garden on national design centre rooftop

First of all we were warmly welcomed…with a beer… I thought the gesture very thoughtful given the time of the day (7 PM) and certainly would not hurt anyone’s creativity…

A kampung in Sumatra, Indonesia

Kampung is the village in Malay, and Singapore used to be comprised of several kampung until population and economy picked up.

Guided by the designers, the dozen of people who had showed up for this event gathered around inspiration boards that displayed pictures of themes related to the Kampung Spirit and a brainstorming discussion was encouraged for all to share their ideas.

After a few ideas per board emerged, we were offered to prototype straight away, a key “design thinking” practice that aims to fuel additional ideas along the way, leveraging the constraints of the prototyping process itself to infuse more thoughts into the concept.


Clearly, from our board of “collective”, the idea that emerged was that kampung was a lot about community and that furniture should engage people to get together to communicate and interact.

In my experience, the best ice-breaker for people to get to talk with one another in public is one that does not come from themselves, but one that comes from the environment. An external “stimulus” from the environment is impersonal, and therefore becomes a non-invasive conversation point to that can more easily be ignited.

I came up with the idea of a “randomly acting furniture” that could surprise people who sit on it by having some sort of pop-up device showing random things or playing random sounds, at time intervals, which could cheer the people up, and become that element of surprise sparking a conversation. Team mates added up some thoughts and drawings on concepts to also make this furniture “interactive”.

After 10 minutes of prototyping, each team shared their concepts to the whole group. The other teams showed some interesting concepts as well!
Playable furniture
Food court table with an air belt for conveying food to share
Discussion bench for private discussion with cooling water tubes
It was a nice workshop, and it was great to practice once again some “design thinking”, some 5 years after I participated in the CPI program (creation d’un produit innovant, a joint initiative from french schools Centrale Paris – engineering, Essec – business, Strate – design).
There were really plenty of
things to do in Singapore during the Design week, and I can only look forward to the next one.
Art After Dark @ Gillman Barracks
Some rather graphic, interesting art pieces from a Korean artist.

Still somehow design related, I also crafted my first leather wallet last week – a 8 hours effort…


Quite pleased with the result, although a light cream / salmon color is very prone to staining, and some old fashioned woman told me that a light color like this does not look masculine…
(I did not get to choose the colour, though, really)

Next, I will be designing my own leather bag… Design, design, design!!!

For next week, I don’t know but I sense I’ll want to eat something strange…
To be continued…

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