July 14, 2007

Let the fun begin

Home owners can now buy Philippe Starck's fun xO furniture in Singapore

By Tay Suan Chiang

WHAT'S FOR SALE: The Tooth ($405), which was originally created for the Saint Martin's Lane hotel in London; the Bubu 1er ($146) can be used as a stool, planter, storage bin, ice cooler or a side table; the Royalton Bar Stool ($3,326) is part of the furniture of the New York hotel with the same name.

FANS of renowned French designer Philippe Starck now have more choices when it comes to buying his products.

His range of furniture, under the xO brand, of which he is a co-founder, is now available in Singapore.

A 1,000 sq ft showroom has been set up at Bukit Merah, and is a tie-up between xO and local furniture systems firm, Celsus. While it is open to home owners, the showroom is more for interior designers and architects to shop for their clients.

xO - a cross and circle - was started in 1985 by Starck and French entrepreneur Gerard Mialet, 48.

Starck, 58, is responsible for most of the items in the brand, of which about five new pieces are introduced annually at the prestigious Milan Furniture Fair.

Well-known pieces include the Bubu 1er stools, which double as storage containers. When they are turned over, they become decorative 'crowns'.

The pieces bear Starck's fun touch and some, like the Dadada rocking stool, which resembles a saddle, come with whimsical names. Dada is French for hobbyhorse.

Prices in the xO collection start from $146 for the Bubu 1er stool to $3,326 for the Royalton stool.

Starck also designs for Italian furniture company Kartell and homeware company Alessi. The items are available here at LifeStorey and X-tra Living respectively.

Singapore is the first Asian country to have an xO store.

Mr Gilles Mangin, CEO of xO, says Singapore is a good platform as it has a regional reach. Celsus will be taking the xO brand to Seoul and Perth within this year.

Mr Mangin, 36, believes that xO will catch on with Singaporeans.

'After buying luxury products, Singaporeans are now into designer goods, plus they are also willing to do up their homes.'

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xO is available at Celsus, 16 Jalan Kilang Timor, 02-03 Redhill Forum, tel: 6376-2721. Opening hours: 9am to 5.30pm, Mondays to Fridays.