Preparation work

Project Kickoff – 11 May 2022

The Chinatown Chinese New Year (CNY) Street Light-Up committee for the Year of the Rabbit 2023 was designed by a team of 13 students. Led by Corliss Tay (ASD) and Phua Rui Yi Sarah (ASD), the team consisted of Bethea Wong Zi Yi (Freshmore), Brayden Tang Jia Jun (Freshmore), Celeste Ng Xin Yuan (ESD), Gan Bei Ru (Freshmore), Georgia Tan Hui Yi (ASD), Hayley Ho Wei Li (ASD), James Tan Shi An (Freshmore), Jee Chen Lin (ASD), Lim Peiying (ASD), Lucas Goh Chen Ray (Freshmore), and Oh Yu Fang (Freshmore). The team was assisted by student coordinator Kong Mei Jia (ASD) and guided by Dr Zheng Kai, Faculty Fellow in the Architecture and Sustainable Design Pillar and coordinated through the Office of Student Life.

After two years of having online meetings due to COVID-19, the team kicked off the project with a physical meeting that consisted of a brief, self-introductions, roles and expectations. Additionally, we also had the chance to look at past year projects to have a clearer idea of what was expected for our deliverables. The entire timeline was split into two phases: the ideation phase and the design phase. Initially, we were split into two smaller teams to facilitate brainstorming and diversification of our ideas, where we held online meetings to share, listen and give opinions to each other. Later, each team proposed their ideas to the partner, the Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee, for their feedback. With the positive pointers, the team came back together to consolidate the final concept and produce the designs!

Internal Sharing – 22 June 2022

Collaborating on the CNY Street Light-Up was a novel experience for most of us, while some had been in the student committee the previous year. Nonetheless, we all shared a buzzing excitement to be part of this project. It was a whirlwind to watch as our ideas were translated into sketches on paper, before being virtually rendered as 3D models, then refined continually to perfection. As gruelling and meticulous it was to make changes as major as whole design concepts to smaller changes in the finer details, it all proved worthwhile in the end. Here are some individual reflections from the student committee!

James: It had always been a goal of mine to be involved in this project ever since I heard about its collaboration with SUTDents. I thought that working on the centrepiece was a fun challenge. Among the many electrifying aspects of designing for the CNY Street Light-Up, I felt especially enthralled that this project was an outlet to artfully showcase the notes of reunion embedded in CNY festivities, much more so as it has been a tumultuous two years of navigating the pandemic in socially-distanced states. It was exciting for us to be able to exercise our creativity in conveying messages of solidarity, strength, resilience, and prosperity through the designs of the rabbits and its accompanying lantern elements. I enjoyed sketching out the different designs and turning them into 3D CAD models, although the initial learning curve posed a little difficulty. I am also grateful for the help of my peers and seniors as they succeeded in turning these sketches into more realistic designs.

Bethea: This project was an eye-opener for me. Being granted the opportunity to work on the CNY Street Light-Up allowed me to appreciate and explore my heritage at a deeper level. Beyond that, I felt that the whole design process taught me that the intention of our design is the root of everything, and from there, our ideas may diverge and converge but as long as they stem from the same place, we will reconvene eventually. While working with a number of people with vastly different creative inputs, I learnt to value compromise and understanding, and that was what grounded me in my own design styles in contributing to this project.

Lucas: From previous years, I felt that the overhangs were more eye-catching than some parts of the main lantern as the overhangs were all brightly lit and attention would be drawn to them. Overhangs were also the main feature for the South Bridge Road stretch since there were no central lanterns, therefore, they had to be more detailed. I noticed that most photos of the light up were taken at night when lanterns were all fully lit, so I sought to design more colourful overhangs which would appear to sparkle and stand out at night.

All in all, the immense sense of accomplishment is one that is unique to this project and it was truly an honour to be part of the Chinatown CNY Street Light-Up student committee 2023. Our partnership with Kreta Ayer-Kim Seng Citizens’ Consultative Committee has come full circle, with this being our 12th year working together, and we hope to keep this relationship strong for many years to come. Opportunities to transform our ideas into reality are a commonplace in SUTD and we encourage future batches of SUTDents to hop on this opportunity of a lifetime!

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