SG Mark 2021 Winner’s Spotlight

STB SVC Lite Tablet App

STB SVC Lite Tablet App 1920 1080 Design Business Chamber Singapore

The Singapore Visitor Centre Lite (SVC) app, created by the Singapore Tourism Board, enriches visitor experiences and bolsters tourism services through eco-friendly digitisation. Offering intuitive maps and personalised recommendations, the app complements service staff by providing updated information and bespoke itineraries, enhancing overall visitor satisfaction.

Calvin Ng, UX Designer, Singapore Tourism Board

1. How do you stay up to date with digital design trends?

A mentor once told me that a person’s visual diet determines the kind of work that he/she produces. This message resonated with me greatly. She encouraged her mentees to be exposed to as many visual expressions as possible — be it through movies, album art, book covers, or any form of graphic paraphernalia.

Social media is definitely instrumental in the proliferation of digital design trends. It has diversity — which exposes one to a great variety of visual/graphical expressions. Of course, one has to discern whether a certain aesthetic or design pattern is a trend or a fad — that in itself forms a design practitioner’s visual diet.

2. What are the major steps in your creative process?

I will usually start by exploring existing design patterns/systems out there and select what could be appropriate for the project that I’m working on. A lot of it involves laying down some fundamental principles based on what we know about the brand, product, and its users.

Iteration is a time-consuming part of the process. Knowing when a design is “enough” is crucial — otherwise, you’d be iterating for perfection. Having an understanding of when a design is “enough” requires a good understanding of the product and the users.

The testing process will then be a reality check, a manifestation of the “Expectation/Reality” meme. Sometimes, I will be taken aback by how some users interpret my designs — having completely different interpretations against my original intentions. With the feedback that I get from testing sessions with the users, I will then head back to iterate and come up with creative ideas to induce that intended outcome that the product needs.

3.  What was the inspiration behind your product/design/idea?

The product was inspired by Pokémon games. One of the key queries that our staff received at visitor centres was the frequency with which visitors sought recommendations on places to visit. Tourists wanted to explore what’s around the area, and other parts of the island. I was immediately reminded of how Pokémon games encouraged that spirit of exploration — how maps can visually show any adventurer the territories and terrains ahead!

I particularly studied how the Pokémon handheld game displayed their maps — an easy-to-understand diagrammatic approach that allows any users to immediately understand where they are at and be able to orientate themselves. We then developed Singapore and all its districts in that format.

Turns out the diagrammatic maps became a hit with most tourists! It proved to be extremely useful — clutter-free, intuitive, and allows tourists to have a quick overview of what’s around them.

3.  What was the most difficult moment when developing your idea?

As with every new product, there will be a lot of second-guessing during the initial stages of development. With limited knowledge from research, our team had to make calculated bets and logical assumptions on which paths to proceed with development. It was a difficult moment that we had to navigate, having to constantly juggle between “what ifs” and the unknowns.

Oftentimes, in order to convey insights and understanding about users, we tend to refer to them as a collective group with similar socio-economic, generational traits. While that is convenient and easier to understand, it loses a lot of nuances that are critical to design. A retired couple travelling from London can have entirely different priorities and needs from another retired couple traveller from the Philippines. The cultural context from where they are from, their socio-economic background and their physical condition are some of the factors that will influence the differences between two seemingly similar groups of travellers.

The most challenging part is to figure out how to dissect the pie of user needs that we’d like to address, adopting the appropriate lens that does right by both the user and the business — that is excruciatingly difficult. 

4. What are some new things you learned about yourself and the users as you were designing?

On a personal level, I realised that my understanding of the world, the environment around me can be entirely different from others. Over time, that sense of awareness can be lost as I go deeper into my social bubble. It is through talking to users outside of my bubble that I can constantly remind myself of the differing life experiences that different users can have.

I also realised that I am more of a big-picture person through this process. While I do consider myself to be detail-oriented, some users that I spoke to can notice even the smallest detail that I overlooked. On a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of being meticulous, I guess I’m only a 6.5 or 7?

5. What are your future plans?

Being a UX Designer — the freedom to create aesthetically pleasing or eye-catching visuals can be diminished. It is designing based on facts and logical assumptions. I have always been enamoured by this motto — “designing with purpose,” and my current occupation allows me to do it.

Moving into the six-year mark as a UX Designer, a part of me wants to pursue the more creative, emotional, and irrational part of my brain. I would like to explore creating more art and illustration on the side just to balance out what I do in my full-time job.

The pandemic has fuelled this entire mindset shift about living life consciously, having a balance between work and life. My ultimate dream and goal is to work remotely in a different city, preferably in the countryside. The sheer stress of living in a fast-paced city often times can be detrimental to one’s health.

6. What is your design superpower?

Being in a lean team of developers, I have grown to be able to solve problems quickly and creatively.

Oftentimes, we’d have limited resources and short development time to test ideas, ensuring that concepts/features addressed user needs. It is under such limitations that good, fulfilling ideas are born.

7. What is the best part about your job?

Being able to see the world, for a moment, in the shoes of others. It might sound too “airy-fairy,” but it is true! I had the opportunity to speak to many travellers from different countries and different walks of life. A loud-spoken and cheery aunt from Mexico, a bright and optimistic young man from Germany coming to Singapore to work, a wistful old couple from Denmark who wants to revisit all the places in Singapore that he’d been to in the 1980s (e.g. Raffles Hotel) and a geeky couple from London who loved Singapore so much they could tell me about the lesser-known details of Singapore!

I was glad to have met these memorable people and many more through this job of mine. I even made friends with one of them and visited them during my recent trip to Europe as well.

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Animal Shelter for House of Joy and Mercy

Animal Shelter for House of Joy and Mercy 2560 1585 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Transformed from an abandoned brownfield in Hong Kong, the Animal Shelter for House of Joy and Mercy is where sustainability meets animal welfare. The shelter features eco-friendly design choices like low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) paint for better air quality and eco-friendly septic tanks for optimal waste management. While its empathetic architectural designs, such as glass blocks within the dog rooms for enhanced natural lighting and visual panels of varying heights, caters to the little ones.

Chun Hang Yip, Architecture Director, LAAB Architects
Otto Ng, Design Director, LAAB Architects

1. What do you like most about Architecture?

The ability of architecture to connect different lives – humans, animals, and nature.

For Animal Shelter for House of Joy and Mercy, we designed a big roof where humans and animals can engage with each other in oneness, while being able to have their own space. We like the humbleness of the canopy structure, how it integrates with nature, and how it opens up spaces for animals to engage with nature and humans.

2. What do you see as important issues or considerations in your project?

For any architecture project, it is really important to consider the users’ perspectives.

In Animal Shelter for House of Joy and Mercy, our users are not just humans, but also dogs, particularly dogs who used to live in the villages but ended up being abandoned due to urban development. We studied village dog behaviours and learnt that they are quite territorial. This informed our design of the den as we wanted to choose a material transparent enough to allow sunlight to enter the room but also has a certain level of opacity so that the dogs cannot see each other clearly. In the end, we chose a particular glass block that could satisfy both criteria.

3.  What was the most difficult moment when developing your idea?

Architecture is about finding the balance between our own ideas, our client’s expectations, project constraints, and societal concerns. Difficult moments arise when there is an imbalance among these forces. 

4. What are some new things you learned about yourself and the users as you were designing?

Each project is a new journey that offers different lessons.

For the Animal Shelter project, we learnt a lot about perspectives, whether it is our own as architects, the clients’ perspective, or the users’ perspective. Compared to humans, dogs’ perspectives are ‘lower’ and closer to the ground. Therefore, we designed visual panels with varying heights to cater to both humans and dogs.

Furthermore, dogs’ vision of the world is also different because they have a different colour spectrum. We decided for the interior to be yellow because it is the colour shared by both dogs and humans.

4. What are your future plans?

Currently, we are working on different projects that span across various scales, from art installation and interiors to buildings and public space. We are happy to share that two of our projects in Hong Kong, ‘Phillips New Asia Headquarters’ and ‘Townplace West Kowloon’, will be revealed to the public later this year. 

Apart from that, we are also designing our new office at the moment. Our colleagues are very passionate about designing their own workspace and their involvement is incredible. The design is still underway, but we enjoy this passion project very much.

5.  What was the inspiration behind your product/design/idea?

Nature, people, and the city that we interact with.

6. What is your design superpower?

Our design superpower is our cross-disciplinary approach to architecture and art.

Our team is made of people from different disciplines, including architecture, product and graphic design, engineering, and sociology. Interacting with people from different professional backgrounds forces us to step out of the boundary of our own disciplines. It opens our eyes to see each project in many different, interesting ways.

7. What is the best part about your job?

To witness how drawings become physical reality.




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BINO

BINO 1000 750 Design Business Chamber Singapore

BINO, short for Bearing Inspector for Narrow-space Observation, is a tethered Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) system designed to carry out the inspection of rail viaduct bearings in narrow and difficult to access environments. It negates the need for time-consuming and dangerous in-person human visual inspections and resolves existing operation constraints, while enhancing inspection quality and improving efficiency and safety.

How do you think your design has impacted users?

BINO enhances the safety aspect of the rail viaduct inspection operation by eliminating the need for a human to inspect the bearings at high heights. It also produces more accurate inspection results, while shortening the inspection operation time as compared to current methods. This is critical for determining the condition of the infrastructure used by millions of commuters each day.

These inspection results consist of key measurements extracted from the different bearing parts, to check if the measurements are beyond a certain threshold. The dimension extraction algorithm developed enables BINO to extract key measurements within millimetre resolution. Previously this was done using human-based manual visual inspection.

This combination of the UAV platform coupled with smart algorithms provides inspectors with the complete end-to-end solution, transforming and digitalising the current inspection process.

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Muzen Wild Mini Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker

Muzen Wild Mini Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker 1000 679 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Boasting an all-metal casing with armoured car surface coating and emergency lights, this mini bluetooth outdoor speaker is not just functional but also stylish. Rugged for use anywhere, it packs a high-powered digital amplifier and has speakers capable of louder sound output compared to other speakers of a similar size.

Yulu Guo, Founder and Designer, TOFUNDESIGN

How do you think Muzen Wild Mini Outdoor Bluetooth Speaker has impacted users?

“I am not trying to influence users, but to address user needs through design. Many of the products I’ve designed have been given a second lease of life through DIY recreation in the hands of consumers.”

This is not defined by me, but by users who are given their own freedom and imagination through tapping into their lifestyles and creativity.

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Reimagining Berita Harian

Reimagining Berita Harian 1000 590 Design Business Chamber Singapore

A revamped news-reading experience was curated for the Malay community to offer them a distinctly Malay perspective. In the redesign of the webpage, social conversations, including podcasts and videos, were brought to the fore. Since the launch in February 2020, the title has seen a two-fold increase in monthly page views to more than 2 million.

Alistair Norris, Director of Design, Agency

How has SG Mark helped you in your area of work?

The SG Mark allows Agency to let the world know about our work. Many projects we do or have done are secret or are still in the process of going to market. The Berita Harian project is one of the few that we can be very explicit about in regards to the work, the design outcome and its impact on the audience and the business.

How our design has impacted users?

The first launch revamp saw its monthly page views increase more than two-fold, from less than a million monthly page views to an average of more than two million each month. The number of users who go on the website has also increased, from roughly 350,000 users before February to more than 500,000 monthly now.

All of this was done whilst taking the BH Newspapers initial ‘Brief to Implementation’ time down from 8 months to 3 months. Along with the delivery of a fully functioning design system based on the ATOM model, a release plan and UX design solutions for the next 2-3 iterations. To continue the improvements to how new innovation was uncovered and establish a raft of new tools were created for interviewing and prototyping within SPH to support the sustained continuation of the approach after the project.

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Through the Lens of Time, Singapore Discovery Centre, Upper Gallery

Through the Lens of Time, Singapore Discovery Centre, Upper Gallery 1000 750 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Believing that visitors learn best through experiences, Singapore Discovery Centre’s Upper Gallery permanent exhibition “Through the Lens of Time” takes visitors on an immersive journey through 700 years of Singapore’s history. Designed by Pico Art International Pte Ltd, the multimedia shows and art installations allow participants to see, feel and lose themselves in various scenarios, from the founding of Singapore to the Japanese Occupation to Independence.

Peh Yee Joo, Gallery Director, Singapore Discovery Center

“Singapore Good Design Mark gives us professional recognition for good concepts and design.”


Singapore Discovery Centre “Through the Lens of Time” Permanent Exhibits Gallery has impressionable thematic spaces designed for visitors to immerse, explore, interact and respond to the different facets of Singapore’s past. 

Using theatrical settings and through the lens of time, visitors are discovering the diverse stories and appreciating the dynamic nature of history, where narratives and voices interact with each other to form new understanding and perspectives. 

Visitors are actively engaged in the space and they enjoy this unique immersive educational experience. The team will continue to innovate with design and in projects that create social value and positive impact to Singapore and the world around us.


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Secret Salon

Secret Salon 1000 498 Design Business Chamber Singapore

An equitable space that can be enjoyed by all – this was the centrepiece of the revamp of an existing hair salon in an HDB enclave. The welcoming “community space” of Secret Salon allows the neighbourhood ‘aunties’ to sit, call out the ‘ah boys’ to the “secret” salon and have their daily cup of tea while chit-chatting with their peers.

Bjorn Yeo, Creative Principal of Tripple and Jonathan Poh, Founder & Director of Provolk Architects

In our first few interactions with the business owners, we noticed how close they were to the residents. Therefore in our design approach, we wanted them to maintain this relationship with the community. We made this happen by carving out an external seating area within the shop’s tenancy area as a welcoming and friendly interface to the uncles and aunties who would walk by.

The elusive façade panels that allude to the imagery of “good morning” towels drying out in the sun also creates a sense of mystery for the general public who are pleasantly surprised that a salon is within and stop by to enquire more. This is organic marketing in the works.

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BBC Studios & BBC Global News, Singapore Office

BBC Studios & BBC Global News, Singapore Office 1000 667 Design Business Chamber Singapore

The design goal for this new office is to create an environment that inspires world-class broadcasting and suits the regional office’s mobile workforce. With a pantry at the heart of its design, BBC Studios & BBC Global News, Singapore Office is spilt into two distinct zones, one catering to social interaction and another for productive focused work. The hot-desking arrangement has desks allocated to 71% of the staff headcount.

Aviruth Trungtreechart, Design Director,
Conexus Studio

How has SG Mark helped you in your area of work? Or how do you think your design has impacted users?

Thanks to widely-recognised and reputable awards such as SG Mark, people have been changing the way they think about design, especially in office interiors. As the workplace changes, it’s important that office design keeps up and awards like SG Mark are crucial in highlighting these advancements.

Good workplace design is now about creating a comfortable and inspiring environment that supports productivity and creativity. It’s the result of a design process that starts with asking questions about goals, people, and how work happens. The benefits of good design are both tangible and intangible. On the one hand, employers can see that it increases efficiency which ultimately increases their profitability. But they also appreciate the softer side of better design – there is evidence to show that happier employees are more creative and productive.

We are grateful and humbled by the award, which motivates us to continue our work in delivering best-in-class office design concepts that inspire and bring out the best of today’s hybrid workforce. Conexus Studio will continue pushing the boundaries in workplace design and we look forward to seeing more of our dynamic and creative spaces recognised with prestigious awards and accolades.

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East Coast Park Rejuvenation

East Coast Park Rejuvenation 1000 611 Design Business Chamber Singapore

A refreshed experience while paying homage to its history – this revamp of Singapore’s largest park encapsulates the theme, aesthetics and park experience. Designed to create meaningful relationships between the physical space and users by connecting people with nature and activating spaces for people’s enjoyment, everything — from signages, landscaping to sustainability of the park’s buildings — has been improved.

Suen Wee Kwok, Executive Director, RSP

How do you think East Coast Park Rejuvenation has impacted users?

“Thoughtful design is key to creating active architecture that uplifts and enriches lives and the human spirit.”

This, in turn, enhances the fostering of meaningful relationships between the community and physical place. In the rejuvenation of an iconic space at East Coast Park, for instance, the team collaborated and engaged with the authorities and community at large to reimagine the park experience, promote wellness and social activities, while paying homage to its rich history and people’s memories of the place.

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DBS Facilities Reporting Tool

DBS Facilities Reporting Tool 1000 562 Design Business Chamber Singapore

Want to report a fault in office facilities? DBS employees can do so in three easy steps after the revamp of its employee workspace facilities reporting tool. Optimised for use on mobile phones, the log-in process has been streamlined. Staff data is pre-populated, making the process easier and faster. Adoption of this tool has since increased by over 100%.

Lim King Hwee, Workplace Lead, Corporate Real Estate Strategy and Administration, DBS Bank

How has SG Mark helped you in your area of work? How do you think your design has impacted users?

We are pleased to be a recipient of the 2021 SG Mark Award for Experience Design.

At DBS, employees are at the heart of what we do, and we are committed to designing user-centric experiences for our employees the same way we do for our customers.

The new design and journey that we have curated for our workspace DBS Facilities Reporting Tool (FRT) enables colleagues to now tell us how to improve their workspace in just three simple steps, and gives the team data on how to respond to faults better.

“It is indeed a great experience – both for DBS employees and for the FRT team too!”

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