Young Talent Rewarded at 7th Nippon Paint Young Designer Award

18 November 2014

( - The prestigious Nippon Paint Young Designer Award (NPYDA) 2014 has announced winners in the Architecture and Interior Design categories. Winners walked away with cash prizes, paid internship contracts and special places in the exclusive Japan Learning Programme.

This year’s awards were organised by Nippon Paint Malaysia in partnership with IJM Land Berhad. The theme ‘Re:Think. Re:Create. Our Community, Our Home.’ received 623 entries in Malaysia alone (528 in Architecture and 95 in Interior Design), and revolved around engaging contestants to create a “community-centric and sustainable township that provides high quality of life for all ages and walks of life”.

The annual, region-wide competition – now in its seventh consecutive year – challenges emerging designers to find innovative and practical solutions to real-world demands of their profession. It is aimed at developing creative young talent and raising the standards of design excellence in Malaysia and across nine other countries including Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Pakistan, China, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Wong Kail Li from Universiti Putra Malaysia and Lim Yong An from KBU International College clinched gold awards for Architecture and Interior Design, respectively. The two gold award winners in each category received a RM3,000 cash prize, a 6-month paid internship at IJM Land Berhad and a fully-paid trip to Japan for the Japan Learning Programme. The silver winners also receive a 6-month paid internship at IJM Land Berhad, besides a RM2,000 cash prize, giving them the same opportunity to acquire valuable experience from working alongside industry professionals.

Wong’s design for ‘Bond the Vicinity – Hydrophilic Retirement Retreat’ addressed the issue of isolation faced by the retired and elderly community in their golden years, as dramatic social changes brought in by the contemporary world has altered traditional family structures in urban centres.

Water is used as a core design element within a beautifully landscaped site that features many modern amenities, including separate social, recreational and living spaces. “I wanted to use water as an attracting element which would bring members of the public to the area, to create stronger bonds between the retired and elderly, and the community”, Wong said.

AR Jasmeet Singh Sidhu, Chief Judge, Architecture category called Wong’s work a “comprehensive interpretation of the theme” which demonstrated “a refined grasp” and true appreciation of a real social issue.

“By incorporating initiatives for the elderly to participate in the community and creating a green and sustainable environment that everyone can enjoy, Wong showed the judges that she was truly designing with the needs of the community in mind”.

For the Interior Design category, Lim conceived an idea for greener urban environments with his ‘LEAF Agricultural Nursery’ project. Selecting the Sinar Kota area for its high density and multi-racial population, his vertical, urban farming design maximises space, educates urbanites and unites a fragmented community through the experience of growing their own food while instilling greater appreciation for the environment.

“I wanted to recreate the feel of a rural village or farm, with stalls and cafe, and provide an experience where people can come together to enjoy fresh produce”, explained Lim.

Fendarie Su Pek Fuang, Interior Design Chief Judge for NPYDA 2014 believed the winning entry crafted an “innovative and aesthetically pleasing” design for a sustainable future community space.

“Lim’s design was very well-thought-out, marrying practical aspects such as utilising the produce effectively and using the organic waste as compost, with beautifully designed areas for harvesting and enjoying fresh produce, such as the café”, he said.

Yaw Seng Heng, managing director of Nippon Paint Malaysia termed the recent instalment of the awards as having “a special meaning” for his company which has brought a new understanding for them of how design is always evolving.

“This is the essence of creativity, and we want to do everything we can to nurture this ability in the younger generation, so they can break through the boundaries of conventional design”.

“Without the inspiration of the young, the design world will be stagnant. However, we also recognise the value of experience, which is why the Japan Learning Programme, which will take place in March 2015 in Osaka, will fuse the ideas of the young with the insights of renowned industry experts – together, they will shape the future of our physical world”, he said of Nippon Paint’s aspirations behind developing the project.

Y. Bhg Dato' Soam Heng Choon, CEO and managing director of IJM Land Berhad echoed the same commitment to cultivating the new breed of creative talent.

“As one of Malaysia’s premier property developers, we have always aspired to create living spaces that inspire and nurture the human spirit while maintaining respect for the environment. We all want homes and communities that are socially sustainable and practical where people want to live, work and enjoy life, and we look forward to nurturing NPYDA winners' design thinking skills to address the multi-faceted issues that we face today”.

The Nippon Paint Young Designer Award is supported by professional societies and government bodies such as Malaysian Institute of Interior Designers (MIID), Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB), Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association of Malaysia (REHDA), Malaysia Green Building Confederation (MGBC), and the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water (Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air – KETTHA).

Joining the panel this year is Green Building Index Organization, a PAM Council-endorsed and approved Sustainability Committee tasked to develop and set up the Green Building Index and accompanying Panel for certification and accreditation of Green-rated buildings.

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