Innovative and purposeful designs for the new normal shine at the 2021 SCA

2 Aug 2021

The winning designs of the third edition of the Singapore Creator Awards (SCA) are not only innovative, but are also functional during this pandemic. These include a contactless bubble hand sanitiser, soap stickers that promote handwashing amongst young children, and a digital payment app for the visually-impaired.

SCA, a design competition which aims to spur innovation and creativity that shows off the Singapore culture, took on the theme “New Normal, New Designs” this year, and attracted a total of 240 entries.

The awards were presented this evening at the Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre at the opening of the inaugural Singapore Creator Festival (SCF). Guest-of-Honour Ms Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and Ministry of Trade and Industry, presented the trophies to the winners and inaugurated the opening ceremony of SCF.

Opal, a contactless dispenser, created by John Marie Tan, Gui Xixian, Ho Yijing, and Edwind Tan, who are students of School of Design & Environment, National University of Singapore (NUS).

New Potential Star Award
Opal, a contactless dispenser which releases rinse-free sanitising bubbles continuously for 3 seconds using a smart Passive Infrared sensor, clinched both the Gold Medal in the Aspiring Designer category, as well as the "New Potential Star" award, with a unanimous decision from the judging panel.

The designers behind this innovative product are John Marie Tan, Gui Xixian, Ho Yijing, and Edwind Tan, who are students of School of Design & Environment, National University of Singapore (NUS). They will be invited to join the incubator programme organised by the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE), Singapore Management University (SMU). The programme aims to guide aspiring entrepreneurs in their startup journey by helping them to navigate the process of taking their idea to market.

Mr Hau Koh Foo, Director of SMU IIE said: “Staying agile is no longer sufficient for businesses to flourish in the new normal. Entrepreneurs and innovators who want to succeed in the new era must also marry creativity, usability and good design in their business innovations. We are truly inspired by all the entries in this competition and look forward to helping some of these brilliant designs and prototypes to fruition and turning them into viable products.”

Sens, a digital payment app, created by Tan Ying from NUS

Inclusive Design Award
Tan Ying, also a student from NUS, bagged the Inclusive Design Award and a Silver award in the Aspiring Designer category, as well as a cash prize of $7,000. Her entry, Sens, a digital payment app, uses AI to facilitate payment processes by incorporating non-visual feedback like audio, gestures and haptics.

Jointly presented by SG Enable and SCA, the theme for 2021 Inclusion Design Award is to seek inclusive F&B solutions to entice persons with disabilities to patronise dining outlets with their families and friends.

Ron Loh, Director (Enablers Development) at SG Enable, who also picked the winner together with the panel of judges, said: “We are glad to have received a significant number of entries for the Inclusive Design Award category in this year’s Singapore Creator Awards. Technology brings convenience but for persons with disabilities, technology can play an even more crucial role in enabling them to learn, work and live more independently. This is especially relevant in today’s digital economy, as more products and services move into the digital space. By working closely with and understanding the needs of persons with visual impairment in the design considerations, the Sens app allows them to make e-payments easily and independently.”

Tactell, colour-coded tactile hangers for the visually-impaired, created by Chua Zixin from NUS.
Aspiring Designer Category
NUS student Chua Zixin’s Tactell, took the bronze medal for her colour-coded tactile hangers for the visually-impaired.
Other merit winners include Singapore University of Technology and Design student Thet Naung Oo’s To-Gather, Apart, a safe distancing solution using semi-concentric floor mural design with a 2m by 2m grid system; Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts student Lim Wei Bin’s Tēburu, a chair-cum-table; NUS Student Nysha Tan’s Small Joys; and UX researcher’s Guo Hang’s A Study Pod for Young Learners, a joint submission with his wife Qin Mi and their children Guo Zucheng, Guo Shucheng.
Soap Stickers, created by industrial designer Kevin Chiam

Established Designer Category
29-year old Kevin Chiam, a past winner of the 2018 SCA, made a strong comeback with two entries shortlisted for the finals. He won the bronze medal in the Established Designer category with his whimsical soap-coated stickers that encourage children to wash their hands via familiar and relatable characters that reveal themselves when water is applied. The judges cited the design’s potential to be extended to other industries such as the health or service industries.

There is no placement of gold or silver medal winners.

Merit winners of the Established Designer category provided solutions for home-based learning children and work from home adults. Yumcha Studios CEO Woo Yen Yen’s Dim Sum Warriors, a bilingual animation multimedia teaching aid for home-based children also clinched a Merit prize. Adriel Chua Lee Hwee, a LaSalle College of the Arts graduate and Project Director of Paper Carpenter, won a Merit prize for his easy-to-assemble working desk called Poppi Desk.

Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts was awarded the “Highest Participation School” Award with a cash prize of $500, producing 3 finalists and 1 merit winner from its participant pool.

SCA also conducted a public vote online from 21 to 27 July to award the Most Popular Design in the two main categories. The winners are Woo Yen Yen for Dim Sum Warriors from the Established Designer category, and  John Marie Tan, Gui Xixian, Ho Yijing, Edwind Tan from the Aspiring Designer category with their product, Opal. Ten voters who picked the top winners won $100 worth of shopping vouchers in a lucky draw.

Ms Loh Woon Yen, Managing Editor of Chinese Media Group, SPH, said: “We launched this competition in 2018 with the objective of spurring innovations and designs which are infused with Singapore culture. We are heartened to see that the creativity of the designers have continued to flourish notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic and we are happy to provide this platform to our designers to showcase their innovation. We are also pleased that the Singapore University of Management and SG Enable have joined as partners of the SCA this year, as they will be working with the winners to bring the design from concept to reality.”

Mr Low Sze Wee, CEO of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre said: “Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre (SCCC) is keen to support the local creative community to come up with innovative new designs that reflect our Singaporean identity. We are encouraged by the good submissions for the SCA again this year, and hope that it will continue to be the platform to encourage creative endeavours. As an extension of the SCA, we look forward to promoting more local budding talents through the Singapore Creator Festival launched today.”

The Singapore Creator Awards is co-organised by Singapore Press Holdings’ (SPH) Chinese Media Group and Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre, and supported by SG Enable, Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), Singapore Management University (SMU) Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE).

The judging panel for the Awards is chaired by Ms Lim Sau Hoong, recipient of the Singapore President’s Design Award Designer of the Year 2007. The panel also includes:

●        Co-chair Mr Low Cheaw Hwei, Head of Design, Philips Experience Design - Asia and recipient of the Singapore President’s Design Award Designer of the Year 2007;

●        Mr Theseus Chan, Founder of WORK and recipient of the Singapore President’s Design Award Designer of the Year 2006 (Inaugural);

●        Mr Chris Lee, Founder and Creative Director of Asylum, recipient of the President’s Design Award, Singapore for the ‘Designer of the Year’ in 2009 and ‘Design of the Year’ categories in 2010 and 2018;

●        Ms Sharmaine Wu, Director of Patents, Designs and Plant Varieties Department (PDPV), IPOS;

●        Mr Hau Koh Foo, Director of Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (IIE) at SMU;

●        Mr Lee Ee Wurn, Programmes Director of Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre; and

●        Mr Ron Loh, Director of Enablers Development, SG Enable

The SCA award ceremony kicked off the inaugural Singapore Creator Festival, a 2-day event that has gathered top designers and entrepreneurs from the creative industries in Singapore, mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong to conduct talks and workshops online.

More info on the Singapore Creator Awards is available at

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