Earlier this year, Wallpaper* magazine invited young Singaporean designers to contribute to its 2018 Handmade exhibition. Part of an ongoing collaboration with DesignSingapore Council, the Handmade Next Generation Designer Call Out competition was open to all Singaporean talent, wherever they were based around the world.

Following Handmade 2018’s theme of Wellness & Wonder, Wallpaper* asked talent from the fields of architecture, fashion, product design, graphic design and furniture design to submit their best concept proposal for products that would aid mental and bodily wellbeing. Our only stipulation? The designs had to be meaningful, useful and beautiful.

With the competition closed, our judging panel released a shortlist of names and concepts. The standard was high. The levels of innovation, craft and ambition truly inspiring. Then, after careful deliberation and much debate, the judges – including Wallpaper* Editor Sarah Douglas – chose Edmund Zhang as the Handmade Next Generation Designer winner.

A recent industrial design graduate from the National University of Singapore, Zhang won the competition with his ‘Squeezy’ lamp, a simple desktop LED application that illuminates with a squeeze. The more you squeeze, the brighter the light, but it then gradually dims to a pleasing therapeutic glimmer over time. ‘I wanted the light to conjure a soft and inviting experience,’ Zhang told the judges, ‘and to deliver a sense of relief through its usage.’

‘We’re looking forward to seeing Edmund’s ‘Squeezy’ lamp debut at the Singapore Design Week and the Milan Design Week. It will kick-start his budding career and no doubt inspire him to develop his craft further,’ said Agnes Kwek, executive director of DesignSingapore Council. ‘Edmund’s work will also show the world that Singapore designers are capable of combining functionality and whimsy to create innovative and meaningful products that can make our lives better.’

Apart from selecting the Next Generation Designer, Wallpaper* also commissioned six established Singapore-based designers to produce pieces for the 2018 exhibition. Together with a collection of Wallpaper* Handmade Classics, the seven Singapore pieces will debut at the Singapore Design Week in March 2018 at the new Red Dot Design Museum. The seven pieces will then be travel to Milan’s Salone del Mobile in April.