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Human Cities. Kampung Spirit.

Standfirst: With over 7 billion people in the world today, it’s easy lose your way in the immensity of urbanisation and globalisation. But there is still hope for humankind yet, as Dulux Paint rolls out its Human Cities initiative to create more “human” urban environments, including colour, heritage, transport, sport & education, and sustainability.

 

In a small city-state like Singapore, it’s obvious when the space starts getting a little more cramped. But instead of getting caught up in the rat race, why not take the time to smell the roses? Mr Jeremy from AkzoNobel Decorative Paints sheds some light on Dulux Paint’s most recent Human Cities initiative.

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We often talk about the Kampung spirit in the Singapore context, where neighbours connect to forge a more inclusive community. How relevant is this to AkzoNobel’s concept of human cities?

The idea of the ‘kampung spirit’ meshes with our concept of Human Cities perfectly. We have projected that by 2050, up to 75 percent of the global population will live in cities. At the same time, however, cities are not soulless constructions of glass and steel – they are made up of people, and more than anything, they must feel human, and connect with their family, friends and wider community.

We want to make sure that their environments are exciting places where colour and culture are preserved, and transportation is efficient and accessible. Ideally, the inhabitants should celebrate active lifestyles and support education for all. All this, bit by bit, builds up a sense of pride and shared identity with makes up a ‘human’ city.

AkzoNobel’s Human Cities manifesto is our commitment as a company to support these pillars that give rise to a ‘human’ city – colour, heritage, transport, education, sports and sustainability. Some parts of our business are directly connected to our manifesto, such as decorative paint and performance coatings for transport. We are also guided by the Human Cities principles when rejuvenating areas that support heritage, or enhance sporting activity and community building using our core expertise as a paints and coatings company and major producer of specialty chemicals.

 

There are a number of iconic rainbow flats and buildings in Singapore that have brought much colour to the concrete city-state in the past. Is AkzoNobel likely to work with government entities such as HDB to inject a fusion of exciting colours to residential estates?

If given the opportunity to do so, I think we would welcome any chance to inject colour and vibrancy into areas that are so central to Singapore’s identity. Nowhere else in the world has quality, affordable social housing been implemented on such a scale. In just five decades since its founding, HDB has delivered 1 million flats.

Some of our staff had helped to add colours in Clementi West zone in June this year. Artist Sun Yu Li, together with 300 volunteers, painted murals on HDB blocks and community areas of the 30-year-old estate. We had also earlier helped to do the colour scheme and painting of the Ang Mo Kio – Thye Hua Kwan hospital a few years ago. We did up colour schemes for the rehab area and patients’ room to help create the ambience, using bright yellow for energising and lime green colours to promote relaxation respectively. At AkzoNobel, we are constantly finding ways to breathe fresh life and energy into urban communities, be it via staff individual efforts or using our knowledge and expertise in colour.

 

In your opinion, how can a homeowner bring the concept of human cities into his/her own home?

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The easiest way would be through the use of colour. When applied to interior and exterior spaces,colour helps impart a distinctive identity and lift one’s spirits. As a leading paints and coatings company, AkzoNobel introduces ColourFutures, an annual guide which flashes out home décor trends, matching colour palettes as well as painting tips for homeowners to experiment with and create a look that is truly their own. For 2015, the Colour of the Year is Copper Orange, a pastel shade that is easy to match around the home and reflects a warmth in attitude and a renewed emphasis on sharing.

 

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