The National Design Centre (NDC) continues to push the frontiers of design and sustainability as it moves from examining zero waste to exploring circularity, emerging technologies and potential solutions with its new exhibition,
Circular Futures: Next Gen
Runs till 9 April 2023
9am to 9pm daily
National Design Centre
111 Middle Road, Singapore 188969
Curated and produced by digital art start-up Artacia, Circular Futures: Next Gen fuses technology, research, innovation and creativity. It presents a series of unique 3D printed art works by Architecture Intelligence Research Lab (AIRLAB) alongside designs by the graduate students of research laboratory, formAxioms, at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). To fabricate these art works such as chandeliers, stools, vertical farm structures and floating farm pods, more than 150kg of plastic waste made up of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) transparent bottles were upcycled into 3D printing filament. Part
of this plastic waste was collected from the smart Reverse Vending Machines under the Recycle N Save initiative by F&N Foods and the National Environment Agency (NEA).
“Circular Futures: Next Gen is an inspirational exhibition that showcases how digital design and Additive Manufacturing Technologies – also known as 3D printing – can create circular systems that minimise waste and maximise resource efficiency to
transform our world. They allow for the creation of custom designs and shapes that may not be possible using traditional manufacturing methods, enabling designers and artists to explore new and innovative ideas,” says Carlos Banon, co-founder and
director (Singapore) of AIRLAB.
Circular Futures: Next Gen spotlights the potential of 3D printing to create custom designs using plastic waste.
Photo by: AIRLAB.
In addition, the exhibition showcases speculative designs from the graduate students of formAxioms@SUTD who created novel infrastructures and solutions for climate change, specifically in response to rising sea levels. Visitors can interact with these designs by using a Virtual Reality (VR) headset to experience the possibilities of technology in designing a better future underpinned by principles of sustainability and circularity.
‘’The exhibition provides a glimpse into a promising future where we can get amazing, innovative solutions when we marry technologies with creativity. The architects and next generation of designers display tenacity and fortitude in their proposed solutions that are scalable, efficient and versatile. We’re also grateful for the support from partners such as F&N, virtual reality firm Pico which sponsored the headsets, DBS Bank, NEA and the SG Eco Fund. They have all come onboard to help champion circularity in design,” says Avantika Malhotra, curator and founder of Artacia.
“DBS is committed to working with like-minded stakeholders to drive waste reduction and pave the way towards a more climate-resilient future. Innovation, technology, and the wider community are all key in this journey. This exhibition attests to the collective impact these can create, as well as the possibilities that remain to be uncovered. We’re excited to be supporting Circular Futures: Next Gen and what it stands for. We hope this will deepen awareness as well as inspire more to play a part in creating a
sustainable Singapore,” says Monica Datta, Head of the Community Impact Chapter, DBS Foundation.
3D printing can be used to create custom designs like the structure above which would be impossible to fashion with traditional methods. Photo by: AIRLAB.
Complementing the exhibition further are four manufacturing workshops by AIRLAB focusing on a new material that combines bamboo and biodegradable 3D printed components as well as lectures by the graduate students of formAxioms@SUTD. These
sessions are free and open to the public.
The AIRLAB team is also producing an art piece that would be designed, manufactured, and finished onsite over a three-month duration to reveal the potential of 3D printing. “Technology expands our capabilities for potential solutions that can be designed to address the complex issues we face in the world today such as climate change and waste. We’re only beginning to scratch the surface of the pivotal role design can play. Circular Futures: Next Gen not only presents how current technologies like 3D printing
can effect powerful and sustainable results, it demonstrates the passion and ideas from young change-makers who are already making the world – and the future – better by design,” says Dawn Lim, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council.
PET bottles and household plastic waste were upcycled and turned into chandeliers and vertical farm structures through 3D printing for Circular Futures: Next Gen. Photo by: AIRLAB.