Putting people first

Tange       Tan

THE success of architectural works lies not by following trends but in focusing on the welfare of society.

Japanese architect Paul Tange believes that an architectural firm’s fundamental role is to enrich and strengthen relationships among a city, architecture and people.

“The obsession with keeping up with trends will result in losing sight of who you are. Such an attitude will increase chances of failure. I believe that having a constant awareness of giving back to society, instead of merely caring about personal aggrandisement, will lead to one’s success as a developer or an architect,” says Tange, who is president of Tokyo-based Tange Associates.

Tange, who spearheaded innovative projects such as the Mode Gakuen Cocoon Tower in Tokyo, will be speaking at the Future Forward Forum organised by Rehda Youth and Nippon Paint Malaysia on Sept 29.

While globalisation brings enormous benefits, Tange says the easy and simultaneous sharing of information has also resulted in shared values, which can translate into architectural designs of a country being adopted wholesale by other countries without much thought given to the repercussions or viability.

Logo“There is a risk that such buildings can be overvalued as a trend, and such trend-driven designs often lack relevance,” Tange quips.

Relevance in architecture, he says, comes from taking into account locality-specific considerations, as urban design continues to influence and impact the everyday lives of people for centuries to come.

“Urban or architectural designs should not be solely based on a trend brought by globalisation, but also on the future prediction of the country or the city with consideration for its weather, climate, culture, history, lifestyle and financial condition. Such a design will inevitably have its distinctiveness,” he notes.

Meanwhile, Panasonic Malaysia general manager and head of strategic B2B development Tan Chee Hon concurs, saying that prevailing technologies and trends are merely vessels to carrying out the company’s mission of developing a progressive society and improving the well-being of people.

Panasonic’s ultimate reference of predicting future trends is its customers, he adds.

“We believe that as long as we stay true in genuinely attending to individual, family or community needs, and ensuring sustainability to the environment, the probability of Panasonic hitting the envisioned marks will be high,” says Tan, who will also be speaking at the forum.

As a consumer technology company, Tan says Panasonic aims to continuously develop technologies that shape future trends.

Talking about the housing industry, Tan foresees that pre-fabricated building technology will be the eventual preferred standard, as it promotes better quality control, less wastage and potentially tackles the labour supply issue in many countries such as Malaysia.

Investing without envisioning the right need is a “random gamble”, Tan says, as the technologies or trends that are churned out without a structured plan or user-centric considerations will result in useless products in the market.

“It is highly imperative to pay attention to future trends, or better still if one could instil relevant values to shape future trends for the betterment of society. In this world skewed towards a consumption and service-based economy, we should always commercially dissect and analyse trends as well,” says Tan.

The Future Forward Forum on Sept 29 is organised by Rehda Youth and Nippon Paint Malaysia. is the media partner. The forum will feature keynote sessions and panel discussions exploring future trends that could sustain, propel or disrupt the property development industry.

Other speakers include TA Global Bhd (Malaysia) CEO Tiah Joo Kim, Sansiri Public Co Ltd (Thailand) vice-president of business development and new business (high-rise) Varangkana Artkarasatapon, CPG Consultants Singapore senior vice-president of architecture of the healthcare division Jerry Ong, Arkitek LLA Sdn Bhd director Laurence Loh, and Art Printing Works Sdn Bhd CEO Ee Soon Wei.

This story first appeared in pullout on Sept 23, 2016, which comes with The Edge Financial Daily every Friday. Download pullout here for free.

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