This is where design meets science, craft, rigour and wonder. As “Material Whisperers”, students in this course platform coax new potentials out of existing materials and production techniques, inventing new ways to manipulate their properties to create new function and expression.

Students are trained to be imaginative with possibilities while operating with systematic thoroughness and rigour, pushing synthetic and organic materials beyond established limits. Trained to experiment simultaneously as a designer, artist, chemist, materials engineer and craftsman. This platform is where new meta-materials are born, where old tools and traditional substrates produce new magic.

Through this course specialisation, students have created new collections that tread the fat line between art and design, and between craft and mass production.


Curriculum Overview Components

Develop a artistically-inspired yet scientifically-informed designerly way of interpreting materials and fabrication processes

Hands-on approach to material and processes experimentation

Develop an acute sensitivity to the expression and meaning of materials through objects

Key Learning Areas in terms of Thinking / Knowledge

Learn about material types and properties, and the ways they have been typically used

Learn about production processes and manipulation techniques and the outcomes they create

Learn methods to create invent modified manipulation techniques, and combine hybrid properties in materials

Key Skillset,Tool or Method Equipping Areas

Idea creation processes that open up new investigations and experiments with materials and production techniques

Acquire designerly methods to intervene with fabrication processes to derive new material possibilities

Methods for systematic reflection to prototype, analyse, and evaluate new combinations of materials and manipulation processes




Ruché is a leather garment, made entirely from leather scraps, bound together by a radial interlocking tabs technique. It celebrates the potential of material scraps and maneuvers the fine line between sculptural exploration and functional pragmatism.

The beauty of Ruché lies in its simplicity and singularity: a single module, a single technique, a single material.

Iris Tan



A custom-made contraption is used to enable the delicate process of casting liquid porcelain on a piece of tensioned cloth, and in the process, capturing its drapery, tension and texture. Once vitrified in the kiln, the resulting porcelain ware is preciously thin and light with a captivating texture that flows and ebbs just like cloth. With this artisanal technique of production, no two pieces are ever alike.

Lee Han Xi



Applying chromatography to the extract obtained from boiling a piece of the stadium wood, the result portrays the flow of ephemeral memories. The multilayered outcome has an uncanny semblance to tree rings that extend with age, as if the wood itself is making a drawing that unveils a core memory that remains deeply rooted despite the gradual reduction over time.

Loke Ying Zhen



Dress Code envisions a mass customisation model for the collaborative tailoring, design and fabrication of a dress. An algorithm captures body measurements through the familiar process of taking a photograph; thereafter allowing one to design and fabricate a dress tailored for that individual.

Clement Zheng, Jessica Toh, Gloria Ngiam


Hans Tan

Tan Yan Han, Hans graduated in 2005 and is an assistant professor at NUS Division of Industrial Design, and the founder of Hans Tan Studio

Hans Tan is a practising designer and an assistant professor at the Division of Industrial Design, National University of Singapore. His work is occupied with the authenticity of the contemporary design artifact being a deliberate gesticulation of material culture.

He deploys design as medium, making use of utility as a pretext to comment on design and its industry as a phenomenon. With a keen interest in developing materials and processes, he explores ideas concerning identity, heritage, and consumption. His penchant for design pedagogy is guided by the concept of deformative inquiry, developing imaginative thinking tools that provide novel approaches to the design process based on generative deformations, use of language and systematic reflection. He has also actively engaged in curatorial work, and has produced exhibitions with a keen interest in local design culture and experimental design.

His work, Spotted Nyonya, was awarded with the distinction of “Les Découvertes” (best innovative product) at the the fall edition of Maison et Objet 2012 in Paris, and has been conferred Design of the Year at the President’s Design Award 2012, Singapore’s most prestigious design accolade. In 2015, he won the President’s Design Award Design of the Year for the second time with Pour. His works are in the permanent collections of M+ museum for visual culture, Hong Kong, and the Copper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York.

Tiffany Loy

Tiffany graduated in 2010 and is currently an independent designer
DID to you is Opportunities, why?

T: The opportunities it gave me. I think the design course gave me training in many skills that allow me to pursue what I want. Opportunities also because it gave me a chance to go on exchange, to a good design school in France, and after that the chance to participate in a very fruitful workshop in another design school in Europe. I think we don’t realise how well-equipped we were—we did not have to worry much and had the space to explore and develop— until we leave school.

Okay, since graduating from DID, what has been the best moment for you?

T: My time in Japan. Actually all the overseas short-stay experiences were really good. I think as you grow as a person you also grow as a designer because it is something very much related to life, your outlook on things and attitude.


As part of our strategy to evolve constantly, a major component of the course is the Course Platforms.
It allows students to tailor their individual course of learning by selecting and participating in 2 concurrent design studios from a variety of 7 to 10 different design projects offered every semester —ranging from

  • Experiments & Exploitation of Materials
  • Future Trends Forecasting & Disruptive Innovation
  • Entrepreneur Product Creation for Crowdfunding & Startups
  • Invention of Tools, Mechanisms, Materials & Structures
  • Innovation & Invention in Healthcare & Medicine
  • Mastery of Product Aesthetics, Usability & Desire Creation
  • Crafting User Experiences in Retail & Government Services
  • 3D Printing & Digital Fabrication Mastership
  • Specialist in Creativity & Problem-solving Methods
  • Interaction for Mobile Apps & the Internet of Things

The range of different topics reflect the ever-expanding role of an innovator and industrial designer; not only are students able to receive exposure to different areas of innovation, they also get the opportunity to learn different approaches to designing from the individual studio leaders and industry collaborators.

In addition, the vertical format of the design platforms encourages cross-learning of ideas, skills and methods while junior students work alongside and / or compete with senior students.

Students in a lower year will take up the role of a junior designer, whilst senior students will have the opportunity to assume the role of a senior innovator. This arrangement reflects the prevalent importance of group dynamics in industry practice, where design teams often comprise of junior designers, innovators and sometimes a creative director.

The platform program features real life innovation projects in collaboration with the following industry partner:



The Bachelor of Arts in Industrial Design, B.A.(ID), is an undergraduate honours programme consisting of coursework driven by a synergistic three-pronged approach:

Design Thinking: Out-of-the-box innovation strategies and investigative methods to discover new ideas and unmet needs.

Multi-Disciplinary Aptitudes: Behavioural science, social economics, business strategy and engineering and technology knowledge help out graduates develop entrepreneurial strategic thinking and holistic problem-solving capabilities.

Artistic Sensibility: Training of imagination, taste, and crafts, to provide appropriate aesthetics and emotions to ideas so that solutions are both functional and desirable. The combined approaches equips our graduates with high-level strategic thinking, and enables them to translate problems and ideas to tangible, desirable solutions etc.


To broaden the students’ exposure, around two-thirds of each cohort goes for a one-semester overseas exchange programme during their 3rd year to distinguished design schools.

Our partner schools include:

University of New South Wales, Australia
University of Alberta, Canada
Duoc UC, Chile
Tsinghua University, China
Zhejiang University, China
Tongji University, China
Aalto University, Finland
ENSCI, France
ENSAD, France
International School of Design or ISD, France
Institut supérieur de design, France
Folkwang University of the Arts, Germany
Politechnico di Milano, Italy
Kyushu University, Japan
KIT, Japan
Tecnologico de Monterrey, Mexico
TU Delft, The Netherlands
TU Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Hangyang University, South Korea
Seoul National University, South Korea
KAIST, South Korea
ECAL, Switzerland
National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan
University of Leeds, United Kingdom
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Arizona State University, USA


Crafting User Experiences in Retail & Government Services is a specialization platform electable by students of the Division of Industrial Design (DID).

DID was founded in 1999 as Singapore’s first university-level course in Industrial Design. DID offers a highly selective degree course in Industrial Design. We teach a potent combination of design thinking and innovation methods, with a clever mix of artistic, humanistic, technological and business disciplines.

Our vision is to make life better through design; to equip students with trans-disciplinary skills and thinking processes required to find unmet needs, to solve complex problems involved in creating viable new products, experiences, interfaces and environments. Our graduates are enabled to take up highly valuable and versatile roles as creative designers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders of change.

Originally as part of the Department of Architecture, our programme has built a stellar track record and gained independence in just 11 years. We are ranked among the world’s top 30 University for the subject of Art and Design by QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016, and also ranked as the top university in Asia.

Top Back Course Video How to Enrol