A singapore-based, multidisciplinary design practice run by a husbandand- wife duo
Their design of the Cove 2 preschool at Ngee Ann Polytechnic supports kids’ development, learning and inclusive play.
Lekker Architects – comprising architect Ong Ker-Shing, and design consultant Joshua Comaroff – is the sole Singapore representative among the six Rising Asian Talents of 2016 announced recently by Maison & Objet (M&O) Asia. Having met almost 20 years ago, the couple have a wide portfolio that ranges from building and landscape, to furniture and interiors. They have developed an interest in design for children – since the birth of their two kids – as they believe design is key to enhancing the development of creative and analytical thought from an early age.
How do you approach projects which involve designing for children?
We try to create projects that allow children to “take ownership”. We feel that a key part of creative thinking is the idea that individuals can change the world, even in small ways. In most of our works, we create settings which can be rearranged and reinterpreted by children; we aim to be “flexible” to their needs.
The couple were commissioned to convert a private cemetery into a public park in Nanjing, China. The result is a series of simple and modern pavilions built into a landscape of forest and lawn.
How is it different from designing homes?
Residential projects are challenging because they are highly specific. Homes are incredibly personal things. The difficulty is in tailoring design that fits well, yet remains flexible for change and growth.
Lekker Architects’ designs for public seating at the National Gallery Singapore feature a contemporary spin on replicas of the original furniture used at City Hall and the Supreme Court.
What does good design mean to you?
Good design is not just about meeting a list of functional requirements. What’s important is that it communicates emotion and makes you feel things that you don’t experience in the normal course of your day. In this way, it connects physical things to our senses.
What are some of your upcoming works?
We are excited for the opening of Kindle Garden, an inclusive school in Redhill where special-needs children are educated alongside mainstream pupils. A first in Singapore, we learnt about designing for children who suffer from hypersensitivity, vision impairment and require physical therapy. We’re also looking forward to the opening of Playbox, an art space for young people at the Esplanade.