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World renowned architect brings art into Marina Bay Sands

Moshe Safdie personally sourced for and worked with five artists to bring art into the integrated resorts. -AsiaOne
Karen Lim

Thu, Apr 29, 2010

Art path at Marina Bay Sands
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» Art path at Marina Bay Sands

THE brainchild behind Singapore's iconic structure Marina Bay Sands was in town recently for the opening ceremony of the integrated resorts on April 27.

World reowned design architect and urban planner, Mr Moshe Safdie, also launched the Marina Bay Sands Art Path a day after the opening.

The architect who is currently based in Boston is no stranger to Singapore - he had worked on a few projects in the country since the 70s.

Two condominiums - Ardmore Park and The Edge on Cairnhill - were designed by this superstar architect. He also worked with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Housing Development Board (HDB) on the planning of Sengkang new town.

The 71-year-old, who is currently based in Boston, is known for his groundbreaking residential piece titled Habitat '67 - a complex cellular residential project that features building blocks placed on top of one another.

This masterpiece propelled him onto the world stage and he has since worked on numerous projects around the world, such as the national musuem of the Sikh people in Punjab, India and Mamilla Alrov Centre, an urban centre near the old City in Jerusalem, just to name a few.

Mr Safdie is currently the visionary force in the industry for over forty years and his firm, Safdie Architects, has also been established for over 43 years.

AsiaOne caught up with the architect and spoke about his recent design and also his collaboration with artists in bringing in artwork into Marina Bay Sands.

Q: What were some of the constraints you had to work within?

A: The biggest constraint is you've got so much money and so much resources, but how do you stretch your resources to do all the things you want to do? We also built this (Marina Bay Sands) during very difficult economic times; there was inflation and so on.

Another constraint is how do you take ten million square feet and keep it in a humane space, with good orientation, lots of outdoor space that's not confusing or crowded.

Q: Does the final output differ much from your initial design?

A: Nothing changed at all.

Q: Did fengshui requirements affect your design?

A: It sure affected the design. We had discussions all along and as the designs evolved, there were concerns. Our policy was if it was important to the people who would use the project, we should take it seriously. I can think of a couple of major design adjustments that we made to respond to the concerns.

Q: What's your favourite project?

A: It's (the projects) like my children, I love all my children. I don't have a favourite one, how could it be with children?

Q: How long did it take to source for the artists who worked on the pieces featured in the Art Path?

A: We started right at the beginning, probably the first 6 months we were exploring different people, looking at their work.

Q: Do you always collaborate with the few artists featured?

A: When we have the opportuntiy and when there's money to have art; when there's public art programmes, we enjoy a lot collaborating with each other.

Mr Safdie has worked with a few of the artists responsible for designing the public art pieces along Marina Bay Sand's Art Path.

It is the fifth time working with Ned Kahn and the fourth time he is featuring a piece from the late Sol LeWitt.

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