Singapore’s wealth is generated by a cerebral economy. Banking, IT, biotech, and the refining of imported raw goods make up the brunt of this tiny city-state’s not so tiny GDP. With a society obsessed with creating efficiencies and optimizations, it’s no surprise that Singapore harbours a fertile design community. You’ll see plenty of innovations simply walking around Singapore, but to get a concentrated dose of delightful design, head to the Red Dot Design Museum.

It was one of my only “must-dos” in Singapore and if you’re a designer as well, I highly recommend making the pilgrimage. It’s a small space and some may be disappointed considering the price tag, but you can easily sink a couple of hours in here if you take your time to enjoy the digital catalogues and admire the works on display. If you’re on the fence, at least go check out what might have been my favourite gift shop in the world. They also offer a Singapore design map with locations and descriptions of the museum’s favourite designy places, like the cute book stores, vintage toy shops, or the Singapore City Gallery down the street.

Singapore is a small island. I’ve been told you can drive across it in about 45 minutes at night with no traffic. It has limited fresh water and very few natural resources. Combine this with a tightly packed 5+ million people demanding a world-class city/country and you’ve got one hell of a design challenge. Thankfully Singapore seems to have it all figured out in their “master plan” which you can learn about at the Singapore City Gallery, an absolute must for anyone interested in urban design.

Oh, and the best part about combining these two design showcases is that they’re both down the street from the Maxwell Food Centre, a prime example of flavour design and home of the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice.


The Design of Singapore