“A globalized world is one of increasing instantaneity, where communication media enable people in disparate locations to experience events simultaneously.”
(Ray, 2007, Pg. 1)
Globalisation happens without us even realising it. It is a result of the progressively closer contact between human societies across the globe, which is supported by the advance of technology. Airplanes, ships, telephone, Internet have made global transportation and communication very easy and can be done in a short amount of time. The term “Global Village”, coined by Marshall McLuhan (1992), describes the situation where boundaries between national, cultural, and political spaces that have collapsed because the fast speed of communication.
Globalisation has also blurred the boundary of the “real” and the “imaginary”. Digital media, such as television, Internet, and computer games, have created a new world of the “hyperreal”. It is where reality is being exaggerated. In that world, people can be whoever they want to be.
2. Singapore as an Imaginary World
2.1 Uniquely Singapore
The speed of transportation has increased significantly in this era of globalisation, which makes travelling around the world become fast and easy. As nation without natural resources, Singapore is dependant on tourism to boost its economy. The “Uniquely Singapore” brand was launched in 2004 to boost the tourism sector in Singapore. Since then, Singapore has planned and organised unique tourist experience through enhancement of identified tourism area (Orchard Road, Marina Bay, Singapore River, and Chinatown) and also organizing world-class event (first Formula One night race in 2008 and Youth Olympic Games in 2010).
With the key advantage of strategic geographical location, Singapore has always been a junction of trading and cultural route. Since the 1990s, Singapore has always tried to be relevant to the world and also tried to become the most globalised country. Recently, Singapore has been trying to remake itself into the “Monaco of the East”. The new Integrated Resort and Casino is trying to mimic the glamorous lifestyle of Monaco, not to forget the new Formula One street circuit that previously was only owned by the historical Monaco Grand Prix.
Singapore has become a tourism paradise. It provides everything that are needed by tourists, large shopping districts, casino Moreover, Singapore always tried to prepare a unique experience for the tourists. In the end, Singapore has transformed itself into an “Imaginary World”.
2.2 Glocalization of F1 in Singapore
After understanding the context of Singapore and the demand in its tourism industry, it is decided to create a new concept of F1 Café and Exhibition. In 2007, a five-year deal was signed by Singapore GP Pte Ltd, the Singapore Tourism Board and Bernie Ecclestone to hold world's first Formula One night race at Marina Bay Street Circuit, Singapore.
This has been a great success for Uniquely Singapore's campaign. The three-day event held over the weekend of 26-28 September had attracted approximately 50.000 visitors from around the world. As a world event, Singapore F1 Grand Prix has also been able to draw a large numbers of global television audiences, which help to expose Singapore to the world.
Unfortunately, with a street circuit, F1 in Singapore can only be experienced once a year. Therefore, Singapore needs a “monument” to keep the awareness alive. F1 café and exhibition will act as a permanent exhibition so tourists can experience F1 in Singapore throughout the year. Besides, F1 Café and Exhibition will also bring revenue and open more job opportunities for Singapore.
Yet, apart from boosting the tourism, Singaporean themselves are lacking of enthusiasm for F1. Although there are 13 percents increase in F1 audience in 2007 compared to 2006, Singaporean still sees F1 as a mere tourist attraction event. That's why, through the design, F1 Café and Exhibition must be able to glocalise the global brand of F1 while also globalise the new concept of the F1 Café and Exhibition itself to the world.
2.3 Designing an Imaginary World
2.3.1 Simulacra, Simulation, and the Hyperreal
The idea for the F1 Café and Exhibition design is to create a utopia, where people can experience the excitement of F1 race inside the space. This idea is inspired by simulacra. Simulacra are a representation of something, a copy of a copy. Representation stands in between the sign and the real. Representation is a utopia; in the end, representation is just a copy of the real, however the fundamental of the representation itself is axiom. This representation will create simulation. Simulation is not pretentious; it challenges the boundary between the “true” and the “false”, the “real” and the “imaginary”.
According to Baudrillard (1994), there are 3 orders of simulacra. The first order is the simulacra that are natural, founded on the image, on imitation and counterfeit. The second order is the simulacra that are productive, founded on energy, force. The third order is the simulacra of simulation, founded on information, the model, the cybernetic game. In the first order, images only act as an artificial representation. The images are what people see and recognise as the representation of the real, for example novel, drawing, and map. The second order blurs the boundary between the reality and the representation. It is when the images are made so detailed that even though they are only a representation, the image itself can also be seen as the real. The third order is the hyperreality. It is a world where the representation becomes more real and perfect than the “real” itself.
Hyperreality exists because the boundary between the real and the imaginary can no longer be distinguished. It is a product of the advance technology where the contemporary media, such as television, film, print, the Internet, computer games, are not only relaying information but also creating their own interpretation of the information. People are convinced that what they see is real although in fact it is just a fiction.
This distortion of reality will be applied to the design of the F1 Café and Exhibition. Therefore, to create the F1 Utopia, first it must be able to blur the boundary of reality and imagination. F1 café and exhibition is the representation of the F1 street circuit. The elements inside the space will also be a representation of what's happening in an F1 race. This holistic representation will create a hyperreality that brings out the imaginary world of F1.
2.3.2 Case Study: Sleeping Beauty Castle of Disneyland Paris
“In Fantasyland, guests enter an extraordinary world found only in their dreams - and in the fantastic worlds of Walt Disney.”
(Littaye and Ghez, 2002)
Disneyland is one of the examples of a hyperreal world. It has taken the reality into the extremes. It plays with illusions, blurring the boundary between the real and the imaginary. The setting in Disneyland is made absolutely realistic that visitors would forget that they are actually inside a fantasy world.
The fantasy world of Disney was achieved through deep research and understanding of the context. The “Imagineer”, the design and development team who is responsible for the creation of Disney theme parks, needs to understand the real world and the fantasy world to create contrast between the both worlds. The design must be whole, following a set of story rules that creates the fantasy environment of the place: the colour, the ambience, the detailing, usage of symbols, etc.
As a centrepiece of Disneyland, Sleeping Beauty Castle has the task of uniting the overall creative theme in one place (Littaye and Ghez, 2002). The “Imagineer” surveyed about two-dozen castles and cherry picked their inspiration from those most remarkable chateaux. They studied the elements and details of the “real” castle and applied them in their Sleeping Beauty Castle. However, it is not an obvious copy of the reality. The “Imagineer” only took inspirations of the real castle. Those inspirations are later to be enchanted into something that is uniquely Disney.
This is the process of how Disney created the third order of simulacra. Instead of creating only an artificial representation- like in the first order of simulacra, the “Imagineer” successfully transformed the images and representation of the real into something beyond the real, the fantasy world of Disney. It is a meticulous work into the smallest detail, creating an absolute reality from the reality itself.
2.4 The F1 Global Design
The design for this F1 café and exhibition must be able to break through the boundary of cultural preferences and the boundary of the “real” and the “imaginary”. The aim in the design is to create a utopian space where you can experience the F1 racing inside the space. This aim will be achieved through the concept of “Overtaking Manoeuvre”.
The concept of “Overtaking Manoeuvre” is derived from the racing line of the cars at the first corner after the start and few overtaking that happened in Singapore GP 2008. From the analysis of the racing line, it is understand that there are overlapping, intersection, and zigzag movement between the normal racing line and the overtaking manoeuvre, those are the keywords for the concept.
The keywords are later translated into a form, which will be adapted into the site. This form will act as the representation of the racing line inside the space so when people enter the space, they will feels like they are entering an F1 race itself.
To stimulate the excitement and tension of F1 race, in the exhibition part, the visitors will be served with detailed information of F1. They will be given chance to sit in the cockpit of the F1 car. There are also simulators that will provide the visitors chance to experience driving an F1 car.
Gawaaat! Accident? Rephrase!
The dining area itself is a continuation of the exhibition. There will be car parts floating above the dining to represent crashes in F1 racing. Using the representation and the stimulation of experience, the design will bring out the imaginary world of F1.
To enhance the experience, the selection of materials is also taken from the materials that are usually used in F1. The form is made from carbon fiber which is the material that is most used to make an F1 car. The flooring and wall covering material is from tar and rubber, which are usually used for circuit surface and tire.
Relate back to the hyperreal
In conclusion, globalisation has opened up
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