Singapore’s New Scheme Pairs Traditional Craftsmen With Designers

Mr Jimm Wong, a traditional Chinese lantern-maker © National Heritage Board of Singapore

The National Heritage Board of Singapore (NHB) launched an open call for design proposals on 22 July 2021 under its new “Craft X Design” scheme which pairs local traditional craft practitioners with designers or design studios to co-develop and produce new and innovative products using traditional craft techniques and materials.

The scheme seeks to raise public awareness of local traditional crafts; revitalize and “modernize” the products produced by local traditional craft practitioners; help these practitioners gain access to new markets; and contribute to the long-term sustainability of traditional trades and crafts.

As part of the scheme, NHB has partnered four local traditional craft practitioners comprising a traditional Chinese lantern-maker; a craftsperson skilled in weaving cases for ketupat (a rice cake wrapped with coconut leaves); a rangoli (a traditional Indian art form involving the creation of a multi-colored floor decoration) artist; and a Peranakan beadwork and embroidery craftsperson.

Under the open call for design proposals, interested local designers or design studios can attend a workshop conducted by NHB and the four local traditional craft practitioners, and have until 1 October 2021 to prepare and submit their design proposals. Once selected, the successful designers or design studios will have four to five months to work with the local traditional craft practitioners they are paired with to produce a prototype product or a range of products.

Ms Vijaya Mohan, a rangoli artist © National Heritage Board of Singapore

The four local traditional craft practitioners and the successful designers and/or design studios will each receive an honorarium of SGD6,000. Each pair of practitioner and designer can also be reimbursed up to SGD2,000 for materials and/or other costs associated with the production of the prototype product.

The collaboration will culminate in the production of a prototype product or a range of products from each pair of practitioner and designer/design studio, which would be displayed at a public showcase in April 2022.

The scheme is part of NHB’s ongoing efforts under Our SG Heritage Plan, Singapore’s first five-year (FY2018-FY2022) masterplan for the heritage and museum sector, to organize public showcases for Singapore’s traditional trades and crafts, and in doing so, to encourage greater public awareness and appreciation of Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage.

To find out more about Singapore’s “Craft X Design” scheme, please visit:  https://go.gov.sg/craftxdesign2021.