In Singapore recently, I visited the Red Dot Museum on the Waterfront Promenade at Marina Bay where the permanent collection and changing exhibitions offer a unique and challenging perspective on design, past and present.

The Red Dot Museum is the physical embodiment of the annual international Red Dot Design Award, which is one of the world’s largest international design awards for product design, communication design and design concepts.

The recent “Human-Nature” exhibition explored how humans co-exist with robots, machine learning and big data. Among the more challenging questions it asked was do robots have souls?

In Japan, it seems, they do; robotic pets are beloved companions of some Japanese people, who believe that objects, as well as humans, have a spiritual self. But when a robotic Maestro called YuMi conducts the Lucca Philharmonic Orchestra in the Teatro Verdi in Pisa, does the famous aria from Rigoletto, La Donna è Mobile, sound any different?

The Red Dot Museum’s permanent collection includes fascinating insights into how design impacts everyday life, from lighting and glassware to mobile phone and speakers.

There is a gift shop, and the café serves the best coffee and cake the city has to offer.