Hiroki Sakamoto’s Yokan Chair Wins Furniture Design Award 2017 at Singapore
IFFS / SingaPlural 2017 /Furntiure Design Award 2017 :  It was a S$20,000 win for Hiroki Sakamoto’s Yokan Chair which was named the first-place winner of the 23rd edition of the Furntiure Design Award (FDA). Inspired by confectionaries made from sweet bean paste, the Yokan Chair won the award despite stiff competition from over 250 entries received by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), organiser of the Award.
The 11 finalists were chosen from the Philippines, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Switzerland, Italy and Netherlands and featured design prototypes of chairs, stools, benches, shelves and coffee tables. All the prototypes by the 11 finalists will be on display during the International Furniture Fair Singapore/ASEAN Furniture Show (IFFS/AFS) from 9-12 March at the Singapore EXPO. Mr Sakamoto received the cash prize as well as a certificate and trophy at the prize presentation and opening ceremony of the IFFS/AFS. Mr Sakamoto said: “This FDA 2017 win is testimony of my deep dedication for innovation and design. For me, it is important to do things that I am passionate about in life. In the case of the Yokan Chair, it combines my love for furniture design with my love for sweet bean paste. I believe that this passion was noticed by the judges through my Yokan Chair design – which is based offtraditional Japanese confectionary, Yōkan.”
Hiroki Sakamoto’s Yokan Chair Wins Furniture Design Award 2017 at Singapore
SFIC President Mark Yong said: “The FDA is a well-established design competition that is recognised within the furniture industry. Having been around for more than two decades, we believe that the award will continue to motivate young and aspiring designers to express their creativity in furniture design and be given the opportunity to gain recognition and kickstart their career.” Mr Yong added: “SFIC hopes that the FDA will continue to spur aspiring local furniture designers to participate and continue to hone their craft. We believe that furniture design is a respectable and important profession that can help young designers provide value-added inputs to both traditional furniture companies and manufacturers. In a challenging economic climate, we see design as one of the industries that will pave the way to the future.” Other honourable mentions include Kiri by Ath Supornchai, a modular sofa-systemand N-S Stool by Shen Yu-Hao, a magnetically-sculpted, laminated wood stool. The chief judge, Patrick Chia noted: “We were all very impressed  by the entries which were judged based on the degree of innovation, marketability, functionality, and environmental awareness. It was a difficult choice, but we went with the Yokan Chair for its combination of aesthetics, function and tradition.”
First launched in 1993, the FDA is aimed at recognition of outstanding industry individuals and/or enterprises who have made significant contributions to the furniture industry. It is a project of SingaPlural which is the anchor event of the Singapore Design Week. The entries were judged on four criteria namely: Degree of Innovation / Marketability / Functionality / Environmental; by a panel of judges featuring prominent industry personalities and international designers from diverse backgrounds:
• Patrick Chia, Chief Judge (Singapore): Founder and director of Squeeze Design & the Design Incubation Centre at the (NUS)
• Prof Byungkil Kang (South Korea): General director at the Design Research Institute and  Seoul Design Foundation
• Colin Seah (Singapore) Founder and Director of the Ministry of Design (MOD)
• Jurgen Bey (Netherlands) Co-founder, Studio Makkink & Bey
• Shin Azumi (Japan) Founder of A Studio and Professor at the Faculty of Engineering  Design, Hosei University
• Tony K.M. Chang (Taiwan) Chief Advisor, Taiwan Design Centre


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