Circular Futures: Next Gen – National Design Centre’s new sustainable exhibition.

Derived from plastic waste and created through 3D printing, the new exhibition highlights the potential for future sustainable-focused exhibitions.

It’s the middle of Singapore Art Week, and National Design Centre (NDC) is celebrating with new exhibitions too! This time, NDC is highlighting the theme of circularity by showcasing works done out of plastic waste and through 3D printing – a wonderful fusion of technology, research, innovation and creativity, curated and produced by digital art start-up Artacia.

From now until 9th April 2023, visit a series of beautiful and unique artworks by the Architecture Intelligence Research Lab (AIRLAB) with designs done by graduate students of research laboratory formAxioms from Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD).

what’s involved.

photo by AIRLAB.

You would never be able to guess what raw materials have been used for this exhibition! More than 150kg of plastic waste made up of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) transparent bottles and household waste was collected and used. Interestingly, a percentage of the waste was from the Recycle N Save initiative, a collaboration between F&N Foods and the National Environment Agency. 50 smart Reverse Vending Machines were placed around Singapore to encourage the recycling of used plastic drink bottles and aluminium drink cans.

photo by AIRLAB.

3D printing filaments were thus created from the waste materials collected. This is where the fun starts! Artworks like chandeliers, stools, vertical farm structures and floating farm pods were all produced from the filaments. Important to note is that such artworks would have been impossible with traditional methods of design. 

Carlos Banon, co-founder and director (Singapore) of AIRLAB, further explains the possibility of 3D printing: “They allow for the creation of custom designs and shapes that may not be possible using traditional manufacturing methods, enabling designers and artists to explore new and innovative ideas.”

it doesn’t just end there.

design by Megan Moktar of formAxioms@SUTD.

Not only that, the exhibition will showcase speculative designs from graduate students of formAxioms@SUTD. These designs highlight interesting solutions to the increasingly real problem of climate change and especially that of rising sea levels. Undoubtedly, this is a problem Singapore will definitely face in the future. 

“Technology expands our capabilities for potential solutions that can be designed to address the complex issues we face in the world today such as climate change and waste,” says Dawn Lim, Executive Director of DesignSingapore Council, “Circular Futures: Next Gen not only presents how current technologies like 3D printing can effect powerful and sustainable results, it demonstrates the passion and ideas from young change-makers who are already making the world – and the future – better by design.”

Lastly, AIRLAB intends to produce an art piece that will be designed, manufactured and finished onsite over the three months of the exhibition.

interactive elements at the exhibition.

photo by AIRLAB.

Besides the aesthetic elements, there are also other parts of the exhibition you can participate in! For one, visitors will be able to use a Virtual Reality (VR) headset and experience the infinite possibilities of technology in creating a future borne by sustainability and circularity.

Also, four manufacturing workshops and lectures by graduate students of formAxioms@SUTD will be conducted by AIRLAB. The main focus of these workshops is a material that combines both bamboo and biodegradable 3D-printed components. Since these sessions are free and open to the public, do be sure to check them out!

If you liked this article, why not check out this exhibition at the Science Centre about climate change?


The copywriting intern who likes spending way too much of her free time looking for small trinkets and watching two hour long youtube video essays.

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