Hans Tan named Designer of the Year

Asst Prof Tan was honoured for his proudly Singaporean design portfolio as well as his transformative impact on education in design

Assistant Professor Hans Tan, Deputy Head of the Division of Industrial Design at NUS Design and Environment has been awarded the title of Designer of the Year at the 2018 President*s Design Awards (P*DA). One of only two recipients, Asst Prof Tan was honoured for his outstanding work in product and industrial design.

Award candidates were evaluated based on a variety of criteria, including design philosophy; innovation and originality; portfolio significance and range; leadership in design disciplines; impact on contemporary life and living environment; social and national significance; as well as iconic value.

As part of the revamp for this year’s P*DA, the first-ever multidisciplinary jury panel, made up of local and international leaders in design, business and architecture, was appointed to evaluate the non-architectural entries. The jury lauded Asst Prof Tan for his “proudly and poetically Singaporean” portfolio that “personifies contemporary Singapore design”, which includes reconstructions of Peranakan vases and downloadable 3D blueprints for the “coffeeshop chair”. The jury also recognised Asst Prof Tan’s conceptual rigour and innovative processes that enabled him to create works that are both “artistic and firmly practical”.

Beyond his portfolio, however, Asst Prof Tan was commended for his ambition to “transform the Singapore Design community through education”. Examples that the jury pointed to were the various courses Asst Prof Tan conducted that used design to achieve creative breakthroughs, as well as the awards he has won for excellence in teaching.

Calling Asst Prof Tan a designer who has made significant impact beyond his studio practice, the jury concluded that he is “utterly deserving” of the award.

The 2018 P*DA recipients represent an exceptional form of human-centric creativity that goes far beyond the aesthetics, said Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council Mark Wee. “Singapore has always tapped the power of design to meet the many challenges we face as a small island nation. The recipients embody this spirit of transforming and improving lives, businesses, society and even the world through design,” he elaborated. 

Established in 2006, P*DA is Singapore’s highest honour for designers and designs of all disciplines. It recognises the achievements of people making a difference to the lives of Singaporeans and the global community through excellent design. In total, there were 11 award recipients at this year’s P*DA — two Designers of the Year and nine Design of the Year awardees — selected from 131 eligible entries.