The annual President’s Design Award is Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade and is now in its seventh year. Since 2006 it has singled out Singapore’s best designers for recognition for the award’s two categories, Designer of the Year and Design of the Year.

Already punching far above its weight in business and finance, the small South-East Asian country has, along with many other rapidly developing economies in the region, begun serious investment in its knowledge capital.

The award acknowledges designers from all disciplines, on the condition that their work contributes to the lives of both Singaporeans and the larger global community. The 2012 prize had a record amount of contenders – 139 nominations were received last year.

The Designer of the Year Award went to four men with a track record of high-quality creative projects: Tan Cheng Siong, ‘The Father of Luxury Housing’ and the architect who created Pandan Valley, Singapore’s first condominium; Hanson Ho of H55 design studio, one of the country’s top graphic designers; Voon Wong, an architect and product designer; and Yang Yeo, the award-winning creative director at JWT advertising agency who led the Adidas Beijing Olympics campaign.

While the 13 awards for Design of the Year covered an equally broad spectrum of talent with a skew to architecture and urban development, the list also contains some intriguing new product design.

Dell’s new all-in-one, touch-screen desktop PC (lead designer, Chan Wai Lim) covered the technology sector.

Industrial designer, lecturer and curator Hans Tan’s Spotted Nyonya Collection played with tradition by applying sticker dots to a set of Peranakan porcelain vases – the colourful local enamelware – before sandblasting them. Afterwards, he removed the stickers, revealing the contrast between the white materiality of the porcelain and the glaze, and giving the traditional form a contemporary context.

The Pelé Sports Trinity 3E football boot, designed by a team headed by Sonny Lim, has a new stud geometry that reduces the risk of injury to players and enhances their ability to move quickly by harnessing the natural mid-foot motion. Specifically, the boot has an outsole plate that prevents rolling over of the ankle, one of the most common causes of football injury.

And, in the hard-to-define category, there’s The Browsing Copy Project. Located somewhere between art, design and sustainability, it targets the two billion books that languish unsold on store shelves after being thumbed through by customers.

Created by Roy Poh of A Beautiful Design in 2009, the project has passed on these unloved used books from local bookshops to 45 designers, artists and illustrators, who integrate them into a new piece of work. The results are documented and published in a 280-page, limited-edition catalogue, of which only 300 are printed (sustainably) and circulated to select bookstores, boutiques, studios and libraries worldwide. The catch? They’re not for sale … browsing only.

All the winners can be viewed at President's Design Award.

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