Prof. Keat Ong
President (2023 - 2025)
Asia-Pacific Space Designers Association
First and foremost, I must express my heartfelt honour and privilege to be elected by my fellow board members from the 14 national-level institutes as the president of APSDA for a second term. The last two years must have been a very hectic but fulfilling one for the last board as we pushed to achieve the key performance index we set ourselves for the betterment of the interior design industry and profession in the region!
APSDA is the alliance of 14 national-level institutes from 13 countries/ territories and has been the main professional body representing the ID profession in the Asia Pacific region since 1987.
There are many burning issues the profession is facing and APSDA strive to take on the bull by the horn and tackle the problems as a united front!
The Competency, Meritocracy Responsibilities and Disruptions of the ID profession are the 4 key areas which me and my board would like to ameliorate during our term.
During the last board term, APSDA has successfully launched the Asia Pacific Interior Design Accreditation Program (AP-ID-AP) preparatory stage in September 2023 and graced by Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade & Industry, Ms. Low Yen Ling in Singapore. Therefore, one of the most important task for the current board will be the establishment of this unprecedented program that will change the regional ID landscape forever. The program will run in parallel with the Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) on Interior Design Services, which will facilitate greater mobility of interior design professionals within the Asia Pacific region and enhance exchange in the area of best practices, standards of interior design education, professional practices and qualifications.
From a global standpoint, Asian Design as a whole has been way underrated, especially in the last 2 decades. There are many “crouching tigers and hidden dragons” in the region waiting to be appreciated and discovered! Thus, the biannual APSDA Awards was started in 2021 to uncover the best projects and most influential personalities in the Asia Pacific region. Critical Regionalism of the Asia Pacific Exercise (CRAPX) is an important movement we will be pursuing through series of programmes and activities to encourage the embracement of our diverse rich cultures and roots in order to bring out the uniqueness and true strengths of good Asian Design!
As interior designers, we are professionals with responsibilities and duty of care to our clients, and even to the general public in many cases.
Living in this modern time, the ID profession needs to take on the extended mantle to do our part for the health of Mother Earth as well. As the regional platform, APSDA will take on the role to promote and encourage Sustainable and Regenerative design alongside our allied professions to help reduce the negative impact created by the Built-environment industry as a whole!
With the advancements of technology and information in the name to improve humanity, many jobs and professions will start to evolve and even dissolve. The ID profession is in no special situation to avoid these onslaught of influxes. Things like Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are just some of the possible disruptions that we call tools for now. What are some of the future possibilities and how can we, as a collective of great minds, help predict this paradigm shift before the sustainability of the profession is on the line? Moving forward, APSDA will be interested to engage industry experts and forward thinkers to share your views and ideas via our upcoming symposiums and activities!
In conclusion, APSDA aims to expand not just on the width (of the participants), reaching out to the individual interior design professionals and partners, but also the depth (of the topics) that will impact the industry and profession. I would like to end this with a meaningful quote from another fellow designer, Robert L. Peters - “Design creates culture. Culture shapes values. Values determine the future.”