Spearheaded by Nippon Paint, the Asia Young Designer Award (AYDA) held its annual summit in Kuala Lumpur in March. The four-day event welcomed visitors from 13 countries from across the region for an educational occasion that included coaching sessions, talks by industry experts and informative tours of local architectural and historical sites.
During the summit, 25 students showcased their winning design ideas under this year's theme of 'You for Tomorrow'. The designs , all competing for the sought-after title of Asia Young Designer of the Year, were presented to a panel of 56 judges from across Asia.
"We are proud to see such a gathering of regional talents and experts united in an industry-wide initiative that lays the foundation for long-lasting friendships and cross learning opportunities," said Wee Siew Kim, Chief Executive Officer of NIPSEA Group.
Speakers at the summit included internationally acclaimed architects and designers; among them were founding partners of Studio Symbiosis, Amit Gupta and Britta Knobel Gupta; founder and design director of Chu Chih-Kang Space Design, Chu Chih-Kang; branch manager of Artelia Italia Company, Kamran Afshar Naderi; award-winning deputy managing director of multi-disciplinary architectural practice hpa, Nicholas Ho; and founder & director at RT+Q Architects, Rene Tan.
Students get valuable experiences to present their ideas to the industry; some of them – the winners – will have the chance to compete with students from other countries
Among the panel of award judges was Hong Kong-based architect, Kenneth Tang. "This is a very good programme sponsored by Nippon Paint. Students get valuable experiences to present their ideas to the industry; some of them – the winners – will have the chance to compete with students from other countries," said Tang. "I encourage students to build stronger links between research and their initial thoughts."
Representing Hong Kong in the Interior Design category, was designer Ben Lee Chung-pan. Inspired by rural villages in China untouched by modernisation, Lee turned to film to express his idea, named Rhythm of the City: A Cinema Museum. Lee received the Interior Design gold award for his project. "I was inspired by rhythm, cinema and space to develop my idea. My studies and research related to time and space helped me explore spatial complexities and the narrative of space through time," he said.
"AYDA has provided not only a precious opportunity for young designers from different Asian countries to practise our professions and challenge ourselves, but also has established an international platform for young designers to share cultures and thoughts," he said.
This year's winner of Asia Young Designer of the Year for architecture went to Ng Wai How, and the interior design award was presented to Shahmeena Labeeb. Both are from Malaysia. Ng's scheme, War Museum – Extension of Tugu Negara, was a plan for an addition to Malaysia's National Monument that honours the country's fallen heroes. It incorporates thematic galleries that use light, shadow and texture to create impact.
Shahmeena Labeeb centred her idea around the declining population of honeybees around the world, designing a project incorporating bee-friendly fruit trees and vegetables with elements inspired by honeycombs, and aptly named Plan Bee – City Beekeeping.
Since its establishment in 2008, AYDA has become a leading design award programme for young and inspiring talents within the region for students of architecture and interior design.