Dyson turns former St James Power Station party space into research lab


British technology company Dyson has planned to turn Saint James Power Station into its new Singapore headquarters, as part of its global expansion. Located near VivoCity, St James Power Station is known as a buzzing nightlife hub and ceased operations in September last year.

According to Dyson, the new HQ will include research laboratories and enable the company to double its pool of engineers and scientists in Singapore over the next five years. Dyson currently has 1,200 employees in Singapore, of whom more than 350 are engineers. With a focus on power electronics, energy storage, sensors, vision systems, embedded software, robotics, AI, machine learning and connected devices, the company aims to move in by 2021.

Mapletree will work in partnership with Dyson for restoration of St James Power Station and upgrading of facilities. Marketing has reached out to Dyson for additional information on its plan in Singapore.

Dyson's CEO Jim Rowan confirmed that the company's HQ will overtake the power station and this will be an "indication about Dyson's seriousness about laying deep roots within Singapore". Dyson's headquarters were previously in Britain and shifted to Singapore earlier this year in May.

"After 12 years of growth in Singapore, continuing expansion in the UK, and growing sales globally, we have outgrown our current technology centre in Singapore. The historic Saint James Power Station will be a most inspiring backdrop for Dyson’s people. It will be a hive for our research and development endeavours, as we focus on great technology breakthroughs," he said.

Tan Kong Hwee, assistant managing director of Economic Development Board said Dyson's expansion is also a testament to the quality of the engineering workforce here in Singapore, which will create opportunities in technology areas such as power electronics, energy storage, sensors, vision systems, embedded software and more.

Calling St James Power Station a "treasured and iconic national monument", Amy Ng, regional chief executive officer, Southeast Asia and Group Retail at Mapletree said Mapletree aims to revitalise the monument as part of the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront development. "From its origins as Singapore’s first coal-fired power station, Saint James Power Station will soon find a new lease of life as an innovation centre, generating exciting ideas and future technologies,” she added.

Meanwhile, Dyson recently said it is looking to hire in Singapore. According to CNA, the company is specifically looking for talents in areas of digital marketing skills. This came shortly after Dyson launched its first beauty lab at the revamped Funan Mall for product demonstration and named personal care as its fastest-growing sector.

While the number of new hires were not disclosed, the team’s expansion will likely take place over “the next few years”, said the CNA article. CEO Rowan told the news outlet that the importance of eCommerce is growing on the back of brick-and-mortar decline. The company therefore, has to build more channels to reach the new generation of shoppers, including websites and social media platforms such as WeChat.

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(Photo courtesy: Mapletree)