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Thread: One-stop designer concept shop

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    Default One-stop designer concept shop

    Published July 14, 2007

    One-stop designer concept shop

    By CHRISTOPHER LIM


    IF you like one-stop concept shops and you like local designers, then the new chain from Barang Barang and The Arts House might be up your alley.

    Called simply The Store, it features a wide range of products from over 20 local designers, running the gamut from apparel to home decor.

    Fans of the local design scene will recognise names like artist Sandra Lee, who held her first solo exhibition at the Esplanade in 2004, and potter Michael Lau.

    One name that stands out in particular is Artiris, which has become something of an institution at Far East Plaza's LevelOne basement, thriving for over a decade while shops have come and gone around it.

    Run by sisters Ivory and Emerald Seah, Artiris specialises in gorgeous hand-painted apparel. Fantasy art fans will find plenty to love in the whimsical fairies that adorn Artiris's dresses and shirts.

    But some people have never heard of Artiris, or Kumari Nahappan, Dot's Dolls, etc, which makes a consolidated location a great way for these designers to get the attention they deserve.

    'Through multiple platforms provided by The Shop, we believe that Singapore lifestyle designs and designers will be able to gain greater exposure and due recognition in the industry and hope to encourage more Singaporean talents to pursue their dreams in the arts,' Tan Tee Tong, arts enterprise director of The Arts House, says.

    Barang Barang managing director Lim Kok Hui adds: 'The launch of The Shop together with the opening of Barang Barang's new concept store at Central will enhance our design offerings and bolster our positioning as a lifestyle retailer. In addition, we offer our procurement networks to these local talents and can help them turn their unique ideas into commercialised products.'

    But this push won't end with The Store's local outlets at The Arts House, Central and Singapore Post Centre. Barang Barang and The Arts House plan to bring The Store to Malaysia and the United States.

    The Store comes on the heels of Earshot - The Art House's concept store to support local film, art and music. Hopefully, this concept store trend will continue to gain momentum since it's an effective and commercially-viable way to promote the local arts scene.

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    Default Re: One-stop designer concept shop

    July 14, 2007

    Homeaware

    At least five places here recognise that Singapore has design talents, and are showcasing their stylish products. TAY SUAN CHIANG reports



    HOME IN ON THESE: Home-decor items by local designers are sold alongside jewellery and apparel at The Shop's new outlet at Barang Barang @ Central. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO


    THE home decorating scene just got a lot closer to, well, home.

    Increasingly, more shops are springing up, flying the flag for home-grown talent in the lifestyle design field. They are selling stylish, contemporary lifestyle items and furniture made either by Singaporeans or based-in-Singapore designers.

    The latest on the scene is a new outlet of The Shop, which opened yesterday at Central near Clarke Quay, adding to its original store which opened at The Arts House in March.

    Both are a co-development between arts venue The Arts House and lifestyle retailer Barang Barang.

    And just last month, a 2,000 sq ft store called Designed In Singapore opened on the second floor of a shophouse in Mohamed Sultan Road.

    Its founder, Mr Marcus Chiang, 28, says: 'I wanted to show that Singaporeans do have a sense of design and creativity.'

    While Singaporeans are more familiar with foreign names such as Ikea for the budget-conscious, and high-end brands such as B&B Italia for those with deeper pockets, industry players say more people here are beginning to buy local designs.

    Home owner Tracy Wee, 28 is one. The tutor recently got married and decked out her three-bedroom apartment in East Coast with pieces from home-grown furniture brand Air Division at Park Mall.

    'The pieces are still affordable and they look trendy. Plus I'm supporting a local name, so why not,' she says.

    Life! looks at five places where you can buy local.

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    Default Re: One-stop designer concept shop

    July 14, 2007

    The Shop


    Inside Barang Barang @ Central,
    04-01, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street

    What: The Shop, a co-development by arts centre The Arts House and lifestyle retailer Barang Barang, started with an outlet at The Arts House in March.

    It opened its second outlet at Barang Barang @ Central yesterday, with an initial cash investment of $100,000.

    THE Shop at both locations sells home decor items and paintings, along with jewellery and apparel.

    There are items by over 20 designers including artist Andrew Yeo and potter Michael Lau. Prices range from $11 for a card-holder to $1,070 for a cream cushion sofa.

    There are also plans to set up outlets of The Shop next year in Malaysia and the United States through Barang Barang's international distribution network.

    Of the move to take local talent beyond these shores, Mr Tan Tee Tong (left), 40, director of arts enterprise at The Arts House, notes: 'Platforms to support Singapore artists should not just be confined to one location.'


    1 deg Off
    259 Lavender Street

    What: Founder Bacus Boo started his store selling furniture pieces and art works by local designers in 2005.

    'There aren't many venues for young designers and artists, hence this was started,' says Mr Boo, 39, a Temasek Design School graduate.

    MR BOO has a team of two in-house designers, and more than 20 designers, mostly design graduates from Lasalle College Of The Arts, Temasek Polytechnic and Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts, on a part-time basis.

    'The part-time designers have full-time jobs in other fields but still have a strong interest in design,' says Mr Boo, who invested about $50,000 of his savings in the store. Another $30,000 was invested by partner Tania Toh.

    Mr Boo works with the designers to create limited-edition pieces of furniture and art works. Paintings cost from $250 while furniture pieces, such as bookshelves and sofas, are made to order and cost below $2,000.

    Art works make up 60 per cent of what he has in the store, with 30 per cent being furniture and accessories and the rest, sculptures.

    The names of the artists and designers are listed on the items so as to 'give them recognition', adds Mr Boo.

    He says Singapore home owners are still 'quite reserved' about local designers, but he assures that 'the pieces done by locals meet international standards'.


    Market for Artists and Designers (Maad)
    red dot traffic, 28 Maxwell Road

    What: Maad celebrated its first anniversary last weekend. It was started as a platform to nurture artistic talent and cultivate designers' marketability, says its organiser Shannon Ong, 29.

    THE flea market - held every first weekend of the month - provides designers, most of whom are Singaporeans, a low-cost exhibition space to showcase their works for sale. Most items are fashion-related, such as clothes, accessories and bags.

    But home owners are also catered for. For example, there is Les Etoiles, a series of decorative lanterns in designs inspired by South-east Asian culture. They sell for $25 to $35.

    For those who live in homes where space is at a premium, there is Line, a portable acrylic laptop desk that can be used as a laptop tray on one side, and a breakfast tray on the other. It retails for $105.

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    Default Re: One-stop designer concept shop

    July 14, 2007

    Where to buy local

    Here are two more places if you are looking for home-decor pieces by home-grown designers


    Designed In Singapore (DIS)
    15A Mohamed Sultan Road

    What: DIS, which opened last month, is started by Mr Marcus Chiang, 28, a former student at Temasek Design School.

    THE shop stocks items by 48 designers, 90 per cent of whom are Singaporeans. They include those in the furniture and lighting industries, graffiti artists, interior designers and photographers.

    The designers are graduate design students from Temasek Polytechnic and the Nanyang Academy Of Fine Arts, professional designers and those who dabble in design on a part-time basis.

    Besides items for the home, DIS also stocks a range of apparel by local designers. Objects include ceramic pieces, art works and furniture. Prices range from $158 for a limited-edition handmade lace table lamp to $4,800 for a customised three-seater felt sofa.

    Mr Chiang hopes to have 100 designers under his label within the next few months. 'They should have their own identities and be able to design items that are not too commercialised,' he says.

    To start the project, he received about $66,000 in funding from Spring Singapore and his alma mater. He also invested $20,000 from his own savings.

    Pieces are sold in limited quantities. Depending on the item, there could just be one or up to 30 pieces.

    'Each item also comes with a serial number so buyers know which piece they are getting,' he says.

    The designers set the price for their items, with DIS taking a percentage.

    Mr Chiang hopes DIS will be a one-stop centre for anyone who wants to do up their homes, or for commercial places seeking a local touch. 'Hopefully, we will also be able to export local design out of Singapore.'


    Air Division
    Park Mall 01-18

    What: A pioneer of the local design furniture scene, Air Division was set up in 2000 by its design director, Mr Nathan Yong (right), 36. It now has three stores in Singapore. Two are under its other brands, Plank and Funkton. It will open its first overseas store in Jakarta in October.

    AIR Division has four in-house designers who have created some award-winning furniture pieces, such as its Tree table, which starred at this year's Furniture Design Award (FDA) organised by the Singapore Furniture Industries Council, and its Break stool which won at last year's FDA.

    The company carries a range of sofas and other furniture pieces, with prices for a three-seater starting at $1,500.

    It also carries a range of imported furniture from Italy, France and Britain.

    It counts both locals and expatriates as clients. Air Division's pieces have been exported overseas to places such as San Francisco, Britain and Morocco.

    Mr Yong says his company has received enquiries from Spanish, Belgian and British furniture manufacturers interested in buying its designs. He says: 'That is a testament that our design is international.'

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