Singapore, 30 October 2017 – Design Orchard, a development to nurture home-grown brands and profile design talent, is looking for up-and-coming Singapore designers to participate in its retail showcase component. The 2.5-storey development will house a retail showcase on the first level, an incubation space on the upper floors and an events space on its rooftop. A multi-agency effort by JTC, SPRING Singapore and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Design Orchard is slated for completion in late 2018.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran unveiled the development's name and logo (see Fig 1 below), jointly chosen by three agencies in consultation with industry, at today's groundbreaking ceremony.
Fig 1: Official logo for Design Orchard
The name Design Orchard was selected for its close association with the development's location at Orchard Green. The word 'Orchard' also conveys the idea of a site to cultivate Singapore's burgeoning yet vibrant design scene.
Naiise to groom and grow design talent as operator of retail showcase
Home-grown design company Naiise, the appointed operator for the retail showcase, will fit out the retail space with its own take on a garden-style concept. When completed, visitors will get to see and shop from more than 60 Singapore brands, across categories
of fashion, lifestyle products and souvenirs. Naiise will also regularly organise events to create more enduring and non-conventional retail experiences for shoppers.
"Design Orchard builds on the experience gleaned from KEEPERS, where we established that there is strong market demand for a consolidated showcase of designed-in-Singapore brands in the heart of Orchard Road. It is part of STB's ongoing efforts with our partners to enhance Orchard Road as an integrated lifestyle and leisure precinct that offers authentic and immersive experiences for Singaporeans and tourists," said Mr Lionel Yeo, STB's Chief Executive.
With preparations in full swing for Design Orchard, Naiise will launch an open call for designers in November 2017. The aim is to select at least 60 local brands with original designs and unique brand stories to be featured in the retail showcase, with a focus on emerging designers who are new to market.
Design Orchard to transform Singapore's retail landscape, help local designers go global
Design Orchard is one of the initiatives under the Retail Industry Transformation Map (ITM), launched in September 2016. The Retail ITM envisions a thriving retail industry comprising a mix of highly productive omni-channel retailers, and local brands with global footprints, supported by a skilled and professional workforce.
As nurturing Singapore's design talent is integral to a pipeline of strong local retail brands that have capacity to internationalise, Design Orchard will provide a suite of support programmes that Singapore design talent can tap on for growth. Specifically, designers will be able to connect with overseas production partners and fashion associations, as well as get support for tradeshows and market access trips, business mentoring, training and other services.
"We are building the design ecosystem to provide the essential resources and support networks to grow promising local brands. Design Orchard supports the long-term development of design talent and the local design community for a vibrant retail industry," said SPRING Singapore's Chief Executive, Mr Poon Hong Yuen.
Building design to facilitate collaboration and incubation
Local design firm WOHA Architects has been appointed by JTC to oversee the design and construction of Design Orchard.
Nestled among lush greenery, the development will include a rooftop plaza that offers flexible outdoor event space to host high-profile events such as fashion shows, as well as other lifestyle experiences. A major feature within Design Orchard that budding designers can look forward to is the incubation space. Situated just a floor above the retail showcase, the incubation space will enable designers to hone their craft and collaborate with other designers by providing amenities such as private work studios, co-working spaces and a photography studio.
JTC is calling for proposals by the first quarter of 2018 for an incubator operator to manage the incubation space, as well as offer programmes aimed at community building, networking and fostering collaboration among the designers.
"Beyond providing a shared space for aspiring designers to experiment with ideas, fine-tune and commercialise their products, Design Orchard will offer the design community a conducive environment to come together to collaborate with one another. We envision Design Orchard to be a vibrant hub of design innovation and collaboration, enabling an ecosystem of Singapore design talent to gain greater support and recognition." said Mr Ng Lang, CEO of JTC.
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 KEEPERS was a STB-supported pop-up store dedicated to Singapore designers. It ran for 16 months between September 2014 and January 2016 at the same location as Design Orchard.