Design Feature #010


A Design Film Festival

Written by RMM
Photo credit: ©Design Film Festival Singapore

Paul Rand once said that design is everything. For those in the creative industry, it’s easy to agree. Design is pretty much everything. It influences how we think, strategise and create. It becomes a lifestyle. We fill our tiny homes with clothes, books and objects that are designed to affirm our own good taste. As design writer Justin Zhuang notes, ‘Design’ is something to be collected and possessed.

But is this idea of design enjoyable?

As Asia’s first film festival dedicated solely to design, A Design Film Festival had its work cut out for it. Back in 2010, Singapore’s creative revolution was still in its infancy and another film festival - let alone one with a niche - was a luxury some thought the country couldn’t afford.

Multidisciplinary design studio Anonymous

Multidisciplinary design studio Anonymous decided to challenge that. Armed with eight documentaries and a handful of short films, Felix Ng and Germaine Chong (along with their pack of house cats) partnered with the now defunct Old School creative compound to showcase a lesser-seen side of design to the public. The thoughtfully curated line-up set the tone for future editions - a careful balance of educational and entertaining films spanning architecture, fashion, photography, street art, motion graphics, technology and design subcultures.

Fast forward five years and it’s safe to say that A Design Film Festival (DFFSG) is a permanent fixture in Singapore’s design scene. It has grown its reach as well, touring Portland, Berlin, Taipei, Kaohsiung, and Bangkok. The festival makes its New York debut (DFFNY) later in the year, along with a collaboration with Singapore Airlines to bring a selection of films to the skies. The festival’s interdisciplinary outlook has been a hit with audiences - the 2014 festival saw a strong attendance of 6,500 with 21 out of 23 screenings sold out.


Handmade with Love in France

Station To Station

This year, DFF2015 is set to break all records. Even though the festival takes place only in September, over 4,000 out of 11,000 tickets have been sold within the first two weeks. It is no surprise, of course, since the lineup is nothing short of amazing. All ten films are an exploration of the evolving roles of generalists and specialists blur the boundaries in the design world. With a certain gravitas of a past soon to be forgotten, Handmade with Love in France is a love-letter to a small group of ateliers who are the hands behind many renowned haute couture houses. On the other end of the spectrum, Station to Station hurtles through cities and creative mediums on a light sculpture train of the future.

DFF2015 Tabi Socks

The festival takes the blurring of boundaries even further, with its first collaboration with design label Supermama - a series of ten Japanese tabi socks based on the multi-faceted roles of a designer. It’s certain exciting to see the public discover and enjoy the many facets of design, hopefully embracing the philosophy that design is indeed in everything. Here’s to the future, and hoping that the curtain won’t fall on this gem of a film festival.

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