From furniture that absorbs carbon dioxide to ceramics that transfer heat, seven visionary designers experiment with technology, materials and production

The DesignSingapore Council returns to Milan Design Week this year with Future Impact 2, from 16 to 21 April 2024 at the historic location of La Rotonda del Pellegrini.

Curated by Tony Chambers and Maria Cristina Didero, the exhibition highlights a series of works from seven of Singapore's most avant-garde designers, who have reflected on the evolutionary power of design with a view to a more sustainable tomorrow. The curators worked with the creatives to push the boundaries of sustainability and technology through their practices and processes, including experimental ones.

These seven designers tried their hand at creating works that reduce environmental impact to a minimum by reconsidering current production. This includes unifying traditional craftsmanship with 3D printing, optimizing production with technology and designing furniture that removes carbon dioxide.

Future Impact 2 features Christian+Jade, David Lee, Faezah Shaharuddin, Genevieve Ang, Zavier Wong, and also Gabriel Tan and Tiffany Loy who participated in the Milan Design Week 2023.

Co-curator Tony Chambers shared: “The creative talents emerging from Singapore never cease to amaze and inspire us, it is a joy to once again shine the spotlight on them in Milan during the Salone del Mobile – the stage global design innovation".

“Through this exhibition, designers reveal the transformative potential of technology, marking a crucial moment in design innovation, but also in talent and pure creativity, in the unique setting of a historic Milan landmark such as the Rotonda del Pellegrini,” says Co-curate Maria Cristina Didero.

Future Impact 2: works & artists

The design duo explores rubber production and material waste with Para Stool, made from the Para rubber tree typically found in Southeast Asia. Crafted with repurposed rubber wood - which is usually burned 30 years after rubber cultivation - together with natural rubber, the stool highlights the beauty and quality of each material. The project is supported by Karimoku which sources underutilized rubberwood from Malaysia.

David Lee
Defying the trend of complex production, artist and designer David Lee's Monolith chair and table are made from a single piece of material laser-cut and molded into the final shape. It features an unusual departure to classic production and manufacturing methods to challenge resource-intensive production practices, reducing waste and enhancing material efficiency.

Faezah Shaharuddin
Produced by multidisciplinary designer Faezah Shaharuddin, Unlikely Fragments is a collection of furniture pieces that combines traditional craft techniques with cutting edge technology. The pieces incorporate wood offcuts from her furniture production with fabrics treated with COzTERRA, a formulation that absorbs carbon dioxide using artificial intelligence technology, developed by Xinterra, a materials company based in Singapore.

Gabriel Tan
Gabriel Tan presents Good Gourd – Hybrid Basketry, a pair of colorful table lamps hand-woven around 3D printed resin structures using traditional basket weaving techniques. Exploring the role that digital fabrication can play in the future of craftsmanship, the table lamps mark a union between digital and traditional, creating a symbiosis of designer, craftsman, and technology.

Genevieve Ang
Designer and artist Genevieve Ang will showcase Reciproco, a pair of interactive ware made of ceramic which are capable of transferring heat from one object to another. Activated by touch, the ceramics are glazed with glass waste and enhanced with thermochromic paint that changes color when the surface is heated. Visitors are invited to touch the designs and watch the technology come to life.

Tiffany Loy
Textile designer Tiffany Loy will experiment with mosaic tiles to create Mosaic Membrane, presenting mosaic tiles in a manner that is akin to a skin-like, three-dimensional form that can function as pieces of furniture. Drawing inspiration from the hollow arched structure of La Rotonda del Pellegrini’s vaulted ceiling, the piece on show will utilize small pieces of offcut stones, using as little material as necessary.

Zavier Wong
Manifold Steel - Wall Piece No.1 by Zavier Wong is a shelf made with thin sheets of metal that are cut, folded, welded and finished by hand with the support of algorithmic and generative design tools. By integrating artificial intelligence into the design process, Wong is able to minimize the use of materials and reliance on intensive production methods.