As Singapore’s only dedicated contemporary arts college, LASALLE offers more than 30 diploma, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Here, students develop their skills and creativity to become forward-looking designers, artists and critical thinkers working in various industries. To learn more about the experience, we spoke with LASALLE graduate Shaina Tan, 22, and Jason Ong, 26, who is pursuing a Bachelor (Honours) in Interior Design.
What influenced your choice to further your studies with LASALLE?
Shaina: School has always been a place for me to discover new passions, acquire new skills and broaden my horizons. I’ve always considered myself to be a ‘left-brained creative’ who adopts a more methodical and logical approach to problem-solving. At the same time, I’ve always had a passion for design. It was LASALLE’s research-based approach to creative practice that appealed to me because I was ecstatic at the prospect of developing these two areas that seemed dichotomous.
Tan Tock Seng Hospital
BA(Hons) Design Communication
What does design mean, to you?
Shaina: In the perspicuous words of psychologist and architect Bryan Lawson, there is no single way of looking at design that can capture the ‘essence’ of it without missing some other salient aspects. Design can be a method, a process, a product, an approach to problem-solving, a form of creativity, or even a capability. However, at the heart of it all, I feel that design is a practice of empathy.
Jason: I believe in transitional design. My design philosophy is ‘built for the current, designed for the future’. It means that spaces are designed with considerations of the future. Technology shapes the way we live in.
How do you feel your degree prepares you to stand out in the world of design?
Shaina: During my time at LASALLE, I was able to explore the relationship between analytical and lateral thinking which taught me that creativity and logic aren’t mutually exclusive traits. This symbiotic relationship between critical thinking and creativity that LASALLE has imbued so deeply within each student equips us with the ability to look at things differently to produce a new insight, concept, synthesis of ideas or a new level of understanding. And within our increasingly data-driven world, being able to synthesise and analyse data to come up with these new, creative ideas is a sure way for anyone to stand out – both within the world of design and out.
Jason: LASALLE has opened up opportunities in the professional world for me. Through collaboration with firms on industry projects, students are already well exposed even before they graduate. This allows us to be one step ahead when it comes to working through handling real-life industry projects.
Shaina, you already have quite an array of experience in design work. How has your time at LASALLE influenced your future trajectory?
Shaina: My time at LASALLE has exposed me to an expanded notion of design – one that positions itself as a powerful, strategic and creative problem-solving methodology within a complex and changing world. It is inspiring to see a shift under way in large organisations, especially those in traditionally non-creative fields such as banking and healthcare, and see how they have evolved to incorporate a more design-centric culture in the way they strategise and deliver solutions. I am very encouraged to see public services becoming even more open to innovating their practices. There is still much to be done and it is my hope to keep being a part of this culture change.
Jason Ong Xiang An
BA(Hons) Interior Design
Jason, describe the culture on campus, as well as among the faculty staff.
Jason: The LASALLE campus is always vibrant and full of life. You will see dancers practising, and sometimes you’ll see musicians setting up their stage. While walking along the corridors, you will come across students working on their models and projects, as well as actors rehearsing.
Every LASALLE staff that I have come across has been very friendly, helpful and professional. The librarians are the best I have ever met. They are willing to guide you on how to access online databases and resources.
What are some of the contributions you hope to make in the transformation of culture and society?
Shaina: I hope to see the use of design in tackling issues and improving areas by applying research, analysis, and communication, especially in sectors such as healthcare. I’ve always had a passion for the healthcare sector and the people it seeks to serve, mainly because of a deep personal experience I’ve had with the healthcare system. I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to be part of an extraordinary team at Tan Tock Seng Hospital where I practice as a Service Designer to help improve processes and experiences within the hospital. Thus far, my work has been nothing short of meaningful. My goal is to keep working to build our healthcare system into one that is driven by innovative, patient-centric design.
Jason: As an aspiring designer, I cannot wait to contribute to the design scene. I want to be a transitional designer, designing environment and spaces that bridge our current society into the future. Integrating emerging technology into our everyday lives, improving the way we work and how industries operate.