Behind the Scenes: Adib Jalal, Festival Director of Archifest 2013

Archifest, an annual Festival of Ideas for the City, is back! Organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects (SIA), it’s set to launch on 27th September 2013 with the theme “Small is Beautiful”. Archifest 2013 will explore and celebrate projects, design studios, communities and ideas that might be small by choice and circumstance but are large in ambition and impact.

Archifest Logo

Peatix goes behind the scenes with an interview with Festival Director of Archifest 2013, Adib Jalal!

Up Close and Personal

Which is your favourite building in Singapore? Tell us something quirky or interesting about it.

At the moment, it’s The Star at Buona Vista. It’s Singapore’s first naturally cooled shopping mall! An exemplar in sustainable design.

Are there any particular architects which you’ve been inspired by? How have they inspired you?

I’m one of those who don’t have a single favourite architect but rather a few who I consider to be rather inspirational. Louis Kahn for his poetics in handling materials & form, Tadao Ando for his simplicity and mastery of light & shadow, Rem Koolhaas for his bold, lateral thinking.

What’s your personal architectural style?

I like things that are simple yet complex. Smart without trying too hard. And it must be thought through.

How would you describe the relationship between architects and engineers?

They both need each other.

Now that the ice is broken, it’s time to dig into the serious event planning stuff! Adib provides us with some useful event planning tips based on his experience with undertaking the mammoth task (no kidding, check out their line-up here) of organising Archifest.

Sneak Pea-k! into Archifest 2013

Planning process

This year’s theme for Archifest is “Small is Beautiful”. Could you tell us more about the inspiration for it?

As a festival of ideas for the city, the theme provides a particular lens through which we can look at the city. Like a telescope that make things that are large, small, we “Rethink Singapore”. So this year, we look at it through a microscope, making things that are small, large; highlighting the small components of our city. It is also a timely theme that reminds us that there is a lot of beauty, ambition and strength in small.

We notice that every aspect of the programme for Archifest is well aligned with the theme – from the architecture of The Pavilion (main event hall) to the Archifest conference to the fringe events. How would you advice event organisers on sticking with the theme set out for an event?

Be very open in seeing different sides of your theme, that will give you the breadth and richness that your event need. At the same time, be brave in editing things that don’t work.

Overall, what did you find most challenging in planning for Archifest? And what did you find most enjoyable?

The challenge lies in coordinating so many different elements and partners and also finding the balance between budget, timeline and content.  There’s also always a roadblock, a crisis or a dateline that needs your attention but never enough time.

The most enjoyable part of this is knowing that I am creating a platform for so many people to participate with their own ideas for the city.

Are there any pointers you’d like to offer to organisers of large-scale events like Archifest?

Assemble a good team with good people at every position. You need it.

Archifest 1

Event details: Note them down!
Where? It’s anchored at the Archifest Pavilion at Dhoby Ghaut Green, with selected programmes at various satellite venues.

When? 27th September to 13th October

What can we expect at Archifest? Lots of great ideas for the city presented in various forms! A few very special collaborations, exciting workshops, talks & conferences, an Experience Market, an Urban Picnic and more!

Architects, Creative professionals from other disciplines, Students, Families & Kids, and anyone who has an interest in the city they live in.

Archifest Comic

You could be the most amateur to the most established architect or you could have but a vague idea of what architecture is about – no matter! Archifest 2013 caters to all with a variety of events lined up, from exhibits to workshops to competitions and there’s even a LEGO bridge challenge. We’ll be hard pressed if there’s nothing you find interesting.

Architours, the architecture walkabout, will be hosted on PeaTiX soon. It’ll be happening over all three weekends of Archifest. The details have yet to be announced but here’s 3 teasers for you (courtesy of Adib): “Small + Stylish”, “Small + Elegant”, “Small + Communal”. Stay tuned!

Head on along and we’ll catch you there. Remember to tag Archifest in your photos with #smallisbeautifulsg #archifest2013.

Event Management, Global, Singapore. permalink.
Claire Ding

Claire Ding is the Community Manager at ticketing platform Peatix in Singapore. She runs a community event for organisers, Backstage Pass , where organisers connect with others and learn tips on event management. Quite the thrill-seeker, Claire’s gone skydiving, bungee jumping, and enjoys anything that puts her on edge (quite literally), it’s no wonder she’s in the business of events with never a dull moment!