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Spotted Nyonya wins President's Design Award

06 December 2012

A Spotted Nyonya teapot created by Mr Tan

Mr Tan (right) showing his porcelain pieces to President Tony Tan (centre) and Dr Yaacob Ibrahim (left), Minister for Communications and Information

An NUS design instructor has won the President's Design Award 2012 for his creative interpretation of Nyonya porcelain vessels. Mr Hans Tan, Instructor at NUS' Division of Industrial Design, received the Design of the Year award from Singapore President Dr Tony Tan Keng Yam on 4 December.

Administered by the DesignSingapore Council of the Ministry of Communications and Information, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore's most prestigious design award honours key achievements in design talents who made an impact on the community through work that improves the quality of life. Covering all design disciplines, including visual communications, architecture, fashion, furniture, interior, landscape, product and industrial design, the award is presented in two categories - Designer of the Year and Design of the Year.

Mr Tan came up with a contemporary take on the traditional Peranakan (Straits-born Chinese) domestic wares in Southeast Asia with his Spotted Nyonya collection. He transformed the original multicoloured surface into a new dotted pattern using a technique similar in concept to the resist-dyeing technique often applied to dye fabric patterns. The porcelain pieces are masked with the new dotted motif, then sandblasted so that the areas protected are preserved while the original glaze sections from exposed areas are erased, revealing the white porcelain which lies beneath.

The first series of Spotted Nyonya was also awarded the distinction of "Les Découvertes" (most inventive product award) as part of the "Now! design àvivre" show at the fall edition of Maison&Objet 2011 in Paris.

On receiving the President's Design Award, Mr Tan said: "It gives me encouragement, especially in the area of my work where it borders between design and art, pushing the boundaries of craft and industry." He is also delighted that the accolade would bring attention to how craft can impact design, highlighting the significance and the experience mass production can aspire towards.

The main exhibition of the President's Design Award 2012 will be held at the URA Centre until 15 February next year.