NUS Assoc Prof Hans Tan wins 4th presidential award for design

Associate Professor Hans Tan from the Division of Industrial Design (DID) at the NUS College of Design and Engineering has added another feather in his cap with his recent work titled R for Repair, a curatorial project that seeks to redefine the act of repairing as an inspiring and creative endeavour. This innovative exhibition has been recognised as one of six winners of the Design of the Year award under this year’s President*s Design Award (P*DA). Assoc Prof Tan received the prestigious award from President Halimah Yacob at the Istana on 12 July 2023.

The P*DA is Singapore’s highest accolade for design, and is presented biennially in two categories: Designer of the Year and Design of the Year. A total of eight recipients were honoured this year.

The R for Repair project brought together 10 well-known Singapore-based designers with 18 DID students from NUS to create their own interpretations of ‘repair’ and ‘repair processes’ respectively. This resulted in 10 repaired objects and nine repair kits that were featured in an exhibition held at the National Design Centre from 13 Jan to 6 Feb 2021. The exhibition was a success in Singapore and spawned a cross-cultural London and Singapore edition, which was featured at the Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the London Design Festival in 2022.

Praising what they said was a “beautifully executed” project, the P*DA judges were impressed by how R for Repair offered “a delightful reinterpretation of objects and memories that would have been discarded, but for the significance and meaning they hold for their owners”.

Assoc Prof Tan, founder of the eponymous Hans Tan Studio, said, “If an object becomes part of someone, then there is very little room for them to think of it as waste – as something to throw away. R for Repair builds on this idea and I hope that the visitors to the exhibition thought about the meaning of the objects they own and buy.”

This marks the fourth time Assoc Prof Tan has received the P*DA. He previously received the Designer of the Year award in 2018, and the Design of the Year award in 2015 and 2012.

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