Dr. Milton Tan
Dr. Milton Tan and Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Creative Director & Chairman, WW Creative Council Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide and in 2005 chairman of the Design Singapore Council, together with Professor Dr. Peter Zec on the occasion of the launch of the red dot award: design concept 2005 in Singapore
Dr. Milton Tan as guest at the award ceremony of the red dot award: product design 2006 in Essen


Obituary: Dr. Milton Tan deceased

The design world is mourning for Dr. Milton Tan. The promoter of design and associate professor for architecture at the National University of Singapore died on 8 November 2010 in Singapore.

The international design world grieves the death of Milton Tan, the loss of an extraordinary promoter of design and a great personality. From 2002 until 2009 Tan worked for the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts (MICA) in Singapore. While there, he acted as founding executive director of the DesignSingapore Council, the public organisation for promotion and development of design in Singapore.

During Tan’s term of office the reputation of Singapore in international design reached a new peak. As director of the Design Council, Tan was in charge of various initiatives that should bring about a significant change in the creative scene and the design industry. He established numerous programmes to promote the design sector, among them the President`s Design Award Singapore, 10TouchPoints, ManyWaysOfSeeing and the Singapore Design Festival. In addition, Tan initiated the institution of the Design Singapore scholarship, the Overseas Partnership promotion programme, the “Design Futures” Research and Development grant, the “Design for Enterprises” programme and the “DesignSingapore Studios” programme. In 2009, Singapore’s President presented him with the Singapore Public Service Medal.

Milton Tan, who lectured at numerous international design meetings, placed great emphasis on design and creativity during his work as university lecturer. His used his own blog at miltontan.wordpress.com to publish his ideas about ‘design creativity’.

As a design expert, Milton Tan was not only member of the international advisory committee of the Seoul World Design Capital 2010 but also jury member of many international design competitions. He also supported the establishment of the red dot design award in Singapore. Due to his strong commitment, red dot successfully gained a foothold in Singapore. Thanks to his intermediation, Professor Dr. Zec, initiator of the renowned design competition, became acquainted with Ken Koo, today’s managing director of red dot Singapore. He inaugurated the red dot design museum Singapore in 2005.

“I am deeply affected by Milton Tan’s death,” says Zec. “Milton not only was a great design promoter but also a good personal friend of mine. I could always rely on his highly valued expertise. He presented Ken Koo to me and recommended him as managing director. Without him, red dot Singapore might never have come into existence. Viewed in this light, Milton Tan has been a driving force for our success. Singapore and the international design world have lost a unique personality of design. I am thankful for all the contributions he has made in this field.”