Is your furniture a fake And why should you even care Zero-reno makeover Give your home an instant style boost Objects of greatness Can good design change your life?
THE DESIGN ISSUE
Your exclusive look at the homes of interior designers, stylists and an architect
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STAYCAY IN STYLE Need a break from everyday life? Here are 3 hip hotels that are worth checking out for their kooky interiors, awesome architecture and ultra cool amenities.
Embrace history Converted from an 1895 warehouse along the Singapore River, The Warehouse Hotel is the ideal location for those with a penchant for restored historical buildings. Designed by architects Zarch Collaboratives and homegrown agency Asylum, this 37-room boutique hotel retains many of the godownâ€™s original features like its ceiling beams and peaked roofs. Local heritage and culture is also an important feature, with the hotelâ€™s artwork, bicycles, books and drinks all locally sourced for an authentic Singapore flavour. The Warehouse Hotel is located on 320 Havelock Road, www.thewarehousehotel.com
Industrial inspiration Located on the top floor, the River View Suite not only boasts of a great view, but also a spacious interior with a standalone bathtub.
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Get in line If you love minimalist black and white interiors, Hotel Mono is straight up your alley. Conceptualised as a hip retreat for design-savvy guests, the hotel occupies a row of six shophouses and makes a statement with its bold use of lines and colour. Inside every room, a seamless metal bar traverses the space like a line drawn in air, functioning as a light fixture, coat hanger and sculpture. Owing to the architecture of conservation shophouses, each of the 46 rooms in this property has its own unique layout.
TA K E L E AV E !
Here are some long weekends for 2017 which you might want to take advantage of: New Year’s Day Sunday 1 January Chinese New Year Saturday 28 January Sunday 29 January Public holiday on Monday Good Friday Friday 14 April Labour Day
Hotel Mono is located on 18 Mosque Street,
Monday 1 May
www.hotelmono.com Hari Raya Puasa Sunday 25 June Public holiday on Monday Hari Raya Haji Monochrome love
Friday 1 September
Some of the unique room concepts include the Loft (top) and the Studio Room (left).
Be social While in town to talk about his inspiration and ideas for M Social Singapore, designer Philippe Starck describes this millennial-centric hotel as a “love shack”. Each room in the 293room designer hotel may be unusually petite for a local hotel but its location overlooking the vibrant Robertson Quay precinct makes it perfect for a romantic night or relaxing getaway. M Social Singapore is located on 90 Robertson Quay, www.msocial.com.sg
Private oasis The Alcove Terrace Room offers an outdoor space for guests to relax in.
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BRING YOUR HOME TO LIFE Shop for all your furnishing and decorating needs — or pick up some styling tips and ideas — at the HomesToLife flagship store. TEXT JOSEPH LIM
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When shopping for furniture, we’re always looking for ease and convenience while being spoilt for choice. With such busy lives, everyone appreciates going to a one-stopshop that can satiate our whims and preferences. To meet this demand for quality and convenience, HomesToLife has opened its four-storey flagship store at Mohamed Sultan Road. Spanning 45,000 square feet, HomesToLife is packed with furniture, lighting and home décor, as well as ideas and inspiration for your interior design. There are four levels to explore, each one housing a carefully styled “sphere” that depict real-life areas in your home. Walk through many zones such as bedrooms, living rooms and
shelving spaces, and pick up a styling tip or two while you shop. The expansive, well-appointed store carries more than 20 brands offering pieces to equip and decorate your living, dining and bedroom with panache and punch. Key brands include Muse, Fabbrica, Domicil, Bloomingville, House Doctor and Serax. Need a break from the shopping experience? HomesToLife has a café, kid’s playground and reading areas where you can take a breather.
HomesToLife flagship store is located at 65 Mohamed Sultan Road. www.homestolife.com
Up-close with general manager of HomesToLife, Phua Bo Wen. What makes HomesToLife
Tell us more about the four
different from other furniture
The “Inspire” Sphere on level
HomesToLife is designed to
one offers an arresting design-
create an inspirational shopping
themed showcase with the
experience filled with fun and
latest trends in home interiors,
discovery. We stand out in
that will inspire customers to
diversity in styles and price
create their own living spaces.
points, aiming to appeal to a wide
The “Artisan” Sphere, otherwise
range of shoppers’ preferences
known as The Atelier for Domicil,
and purchasing power. In
can be found on level two.
addition, there are also in-store
Domicil is one of Germany’s
style advisors to provide styling
top premium home furnishings
ideas and services.
brands, renowned for their clean aesthetics and European
What are some of the special
craftsmanship. Customers can
areas in the flagship store?
customise their furniture as well,
With a thematic sphere located
a service exclusively available
on each of its four levels,
here. The “Design” Sphere on
HomesToLife is designed to
level three presents an extended
turn shopping into a stress-free
selection of the design-themed
experience. From a tasting Bar
furniture on level one. Customers
at level one where shoppers can
can witness first-hand, a gamut
enjoy finely brewed coffee, to
of designs such as European
the kids’ playground known as
chic, Scandinavian simplicity or
Monkey’s Trail, to The Library
smart urban charm. The “Dream”
areas on level four where families
Sphere, located on level four, is
can relax, these zones highlight
designed to emulate a bedroom
the importance of customer
sanctuary featuring an exclusive
experience. We strive to provide
Kokünn (in collaboration with
services for customers to relax
King Koil) mattress range.
and help them understand more
Customers are encouraged to
about the products before they
rest on the mattresses for a ‘real’
make a decision.
Anil decor animals
Gio wire bowl
This 2.5 seater fabric sofa has all the hallmarks of a
These brass beauties can be your very own quirky
Made from blue iron, this large bowl is 31cm wide
future classic: roomy seats, sleek good looks and a
companion at home.
and 21cm tall; large enough to give a nice home to
wide range of fabrics to choose from.
all your cushions and throws.
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WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT DESIGNER FURNITURE? At a time when replicas of classic designer furniture are flooding the market, we look at why you should even care about good design from iconic designers. TEXT JOSEPH LIM
While buying originals is the best means to respect the furniture designer and the brand that manufactures it, in today’s reality, one can easily acquire replicas of designer furniture in shops or online stores, or purchase pieces “inspired” by the great classics. The designs by Charles and Ray Eames are some of the most copied around the world. Like the Eameses, many design greats, as well as other independent and standalone designers, have had to battle the challenges of having their hard work copied by companies. Time and money has had to be spent on lawyers to try and stop the reproductions. The appeal of buying a replica stems from the fact that the pieces look similar but cost a fraction of the price. In truth, however, not much thought goes into these reproductions since profit is the main priority. One should expect the pieces to be made from low quality materials that don’t offer the rigidity, stability or
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durability of the original. In addition, replicas are often fraught with incorrect dimensions, which ultimately impact their performance. There’s a really good reason why the originals that were designed decades ago are still being produced and revered today. They are well made and guarantee longevity and value. Your design piece follows you as you move from home to home, and you can pass it down to the next generation to enjoy. These pieces are designed to age gracefully, bringing vintage appeal as time passes. For example, an old leather Knoll Wassily chair may sport distressed leather seats, but this simply adds character and charm, eventually increasing its value in the second-hand market. The decision however, is yours. It’s not technically illegal to buy these replicas, but it’s not unlike buying a knockoff Rolex watch or toting a replica Louis Vuitton handbag.
M E E T S O M E O F T H E G R E AT D E S I G N E R S I N T H E F U R N I T U R E I N D U S T R Y, A N D F I N D O U T WHY THEIR WORKS WILL ADD CHAR ACTER A ND LEGACY TO YOUR HOME.
Maralunga sofa, designed by Vico Magistretti for Cassina in 1979 “I could never imagine designing furniture or anything that wouldn’t last long – it’s just something I couldn’t do. I have never made cardboard furniture or anything else that was designed to deteriorate. I think a good design should not be finite, but go in and out of vogue over long time spans, retaining its potency even after a hundred years.” Indeed, these are famous words to live by! Vico Magistretti is a design great because he designs with the purest forms with attention to practicality. This stylish sofa still carries relevance in today’s living context. Its moveable headrest and armrest are injected with polyurethane foam and polyester padding and covered in a choice of fabric or leather options. Cassina is available at Space Furniture www.spacefurniture.com.sg
Plywood lounge chair, designed by Charles and Ray Eames for Herman Miller in 1946 This iconic chair has been relentlessly copied and reproduced since it was designed in 1946 by the husband-and-wife duo. The moulded plywood chair is elegant, timeless, light and comfortable, and has been recognised as ‘The Best Design of the 20th Century’ by Time magazine. Today, it’s known as the Lounge Chair Wood (or LCW for short) and remains as one of the most recognisable furniture pieces in the world. Herman Miller is available at Xtra www.xtra.com.sg
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Driade Costes chair, designed by Philippe Starck in 1985 Philippe Starck is arguably one of the modern world’s most respected designers with a vast body of work. Back when he was just beginning to make a name for himself, he made waves with the Costes armchair in 1985. This iconic piece is made from a fusion of steel and bent plywood, but what makes it truly stand out is the fact that it only has three legs. Driade is available at Inhabitant www.inhabitant.sg
Joy shelf, designed by Achille Castiglioni for Zanotta in 1989 This exceptional rotating shelf puts the ‘fun’ in functionality, and is a statementmaker in any room you place it in. Preeminent designer Achille Castiglioni wanted to bring joy to the mundane (something that manufacturers of replicas aren’t concerned with), allowing users to create cascading shelves and adaptable shapes.
There’s a really good reason why the originals that were designed decades ago are still being produced and revered today. They are well made and guarantee longevity and value.
Zanotta is available at W.Atelier www.watlier.com
Diamond chair, designed by Harry Bertoia for Knoll in 1952 This perennial favourite celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 with the launch of a gold-plated edition (pictured here). Harry Bertoia’s fascination with metal sculpting helped him in the creation of this classic lounge chair with its undulating armrest and lumbarapproving backrest. Replicas abound, but none can match the original’s level of comfort. Knoll is available at Dream www.dream.com.sg
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D.555.1 round table, designed by Gio Ponti for Molteni & C in 1954 When it was designed in the period of 1954 to 1955, the D.555.1 definitely turned heads. In fact, it continues to do so today with a striking design composed of metal legs, hand-painted metal grids and a clear, crystal top. Molteni & C is available at P5 www.p5.com.sg
Thinking Man’s Chair, designed by Jasper Morrison for Cappellini in 1986 This easy chair can be spotted in many posh homes and stylish hospitality environments. Although it looks cold and uncomfortable – it’s constructed from a lacquered metal frame – the chair is deceptively comfortable to lounge on. Used for both outdoors or indoors, it has become an undisputed classic. Cappellini is available at Dream www.dream.com.sg
PH lamp, designed by Poul Henningsen for Louis Poulsen in 1958 The PH series of lamps has inspired many imitations and reproductions. Its concept of a three-shade system provides glare-free illumination that directs light downwards. When the design was first conceived in 1958, designer Poul Henningsen was truly on to something futuristic looking. Today, the lamps are instantly recognisable classics that make a bold statement. Louis Poulsen is available at P5 www.p5.com.sg
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THE EXPERIMENTAL HOME The founders of interior design firm Wee Studio have designed their own HDB flat, completely transforming their space with glamourous details and experimental ideas. This is no mad scientist lab however, as the results clearly show. TEXT JASMINE GOH
PHOTOGRAPHY WONG WEILIANG
ART DIRECTION BETTY WONG
s the creative force behind interior design firm Wee Studio, Yeo See Wee and JJ Yip have spent years designing and building homes for others. Their designs are always highly appreciated, but the husband and wife duo sometimes find that they’re not able to truly implement all their creative ideas. So when it was time to renovate their own home, the newlyweds jumped at the opportunity to explore, experiment and finally see their ideas come to life. “I have always wanted to build an island counter combined with a TV console, but haven’t had the opportunity to do so,” says See Wee, referring to the beautiful black marble counter that now sits in his living room. It’s one of the many ideas that he had previously proposed to past clients but was consequently rejected. Since See Wee and JJ had agreed not to have a dining table in their new home, See Wee saw the perfect opportunity to incorporate his idea of an island counter into the layout. The mirrored ceiling is another idea that See Wee has finally managed to realise in his own home. Commonly seen in grand hotel lobbies, this design
I N D E TA I L Home: 5-room resale HDB flat | Floor area: 1,184 sqft | Who lives here: A married couple who are both interior designers | Where: Sengkang
Facing page: With a mental vault of creative ideas accumulated from their years of designing homes, interior designers See Wee and JJ were excited to do up their own place. One of their ideas was to have a mirrored ceiling which would help to create the illusion of expanded space and light. As seen here, their mirrored ceiling visually opens up the living room upwards.
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“My parents and family live nearby. JJ and I decided that we could go all out in our design since we will be living here for a long time. Many things in our new place fulfil our wish list.” – Yeo See Wee, interior designer and homeowner
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“We modified the entire layout of the house but the kitchen went through the biggest modification. It looks completely different from the original.” – Yeo See Wee, interior designer and homeowner
D E S I G N N OT E S Oversized handpainted tiles cover the entire length of the kitchen wall, creating a beautiful feature wall that functions as the focal point in this space.
Top left: The unusual T-shaped kitchen layout is ideal for the couple when they host friends and visitors. Custom-built to fit the space, the bottom cabinets consist not just multiple storage units but also conceal a refrigerator and a washing machine. Bottom left: Even the adjoining bathroom maintains the luxe atmosphere, with full-height mirrored walls and customdesigned fittings in matt black. It’s clear that See Wee and JJ were meticulous in ensuring a consistent design language throughout the entire apartment. Facing page: At the other end of the island counter, See Wee designed it to function as a TV console with customised storage units for the entertainment system and other electronics. Handpainted tiles from Italy were selected for the flooring, adding a graphic touch to the space. 76 | LOOKBOXLIVING.COM.SG
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Facing page: In the guest bedroom, See Wee and JJ made sure that it was fully functional by having sufficient wardrobe space, storage shelves, a TV and even a study desk. Constructed to blend into the space, the desk extends out into a bench that could be used for sitting. Above: Two bedrooms were combined to create a huge master bedroom for the couple. The monochromatic palette applied in this space was deftly used to result in a soothing, restful atmosphere that oozes with sophistication.
feature isn’t commonly seen in local living rooms for fear of looking dated. See Wee explains that if not installed and maintained properly, the large mirror panels may even risk detaching from the ceiling. The couple however, are confident in their company’s installation methods, and pulled off the look with great finesse. Large mirror panels cover the entire stretch of the ceiling above the sofa and coffee table, instantly injecting a shot of glamour into this space. Despite the apparent glitz and glamour in this space, the design was not simply based on their individual whims and fancies. Functionality played a huge role in the way they planned out the layout of the apartment. Since the island counter is meant as the place for guests to gather, See Wee situated it right in the middle of the living room and dedicated the entire wall behind it to storage. While the cabinets nearer to the main door are designed for shoes and household items, the storage units in the middle are meant for the couple to have quick access to dining sets and
other entertaining essentials. It also houses a built-in refrigerator so that drinks and snacks are within reach from the island counter. At the end of this massive storage system are enclosed shelving units for the couple’s personal items. With storage needs met, the rest of the home could take on a more relaxed and spacious look. In the kitchen, the counter is set in a unique T-shape layout with a sink, cooktop and a round island hood. “My parents live in the same block. JJ and I are there most of the time, so we don’t do much heavy cooking in our new place,” says See Wee, explaining their decision to have more space for entertaining instead of cooking and washing. Nevertheless, don’t be fooled by the seemingly simple appearance of the kitchen. Even though the kitchen counter appears to accommodate standard cabinets, it actually houses a refrigerator, a washing machine, a slide-out rack for spices and sauces, and multiple drawers to keep cooking utensils. There’s no
D E S I G N N OT E S A clear glass top allows for convenient scanning. At a glance, the couple is able to see what they have. Top: The other part of the room is designed as the dressing area, with an island display counter for the coupleâ€™s jewellery and accessories. A widened entrance to the attached bathroom helps to make the bedroom feel more spacious. Bottom left: The swing door that encloses the bathroom functions as a full-length mirror and as a clothes rack. It has been designed with hooks that can be kept flush within the door itself, so that they do not protrude when not needed, and can be easily pulled out when needed.
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doubt that See Wee and JJ have efficiently maximised the space for all bulky appliances to be concealed neatly within the counter. As this 5-room flat is home to only See Wee and JJ at the moment, the couple decided that they did not need to keep all three bedrooms. The original master bedroom and one other bedroom were thus combined to create a new and larger master bedroom with ample space for relaxation. Equipped with a mini fridge, a coffee machine and a small pantry counter, the master bedroom also comprises a dressing area and stand-alone jewellery display counter. At the other side of the bedroom, a study desk is built into the design so that whenever there are any urgent projects to complete, there is a proper place in the bedroom for them to work. The various amenities built into this room make it truly a self-sufficient space for the husband and wife to hang out in, be it night or day. However, the question remains. Since couples each have their own preferences and tastes when renovating their home, how did See Wee and JJ – both creative individuals with plenty of ideas – come to an agreement on this very personal project? “He’s the designer, I’m the client,” answers JJ with a laugh. Grinning knowingly, See Wee nods in agreement and adds, “Happy wife, happy life!”
Wee Studio email@example.com
I N S I D E A D E S I G N E R’S H O M E Interior designers Yeo See Wee and JJ Yip from Wee Studio reveal their insider tips when it comes to renovating their own home. • Designing their own home
• The designers also learnt
gave the newlyweds a rare
some valuable lessons while
opportunity to experiment and
working on this pet project.
implement their creative ideas.
For example, certain laminates
“There are many things that
are not suitable when used on
we’ve always wanted to try,
larger expanses of walls.
but never had the opportunity to. Designing our own home
• Now completed, this designer
allowed us to try out some
home can also double as a
of the more unconventional
showroom that See Wee
ideas,” says See Wee.
and JJ can invite potential clients to.
• Some of the design elements include the mirrored ceiling in the living room, luxurious allblack fittings in the bathrooms, hand-painted monochrome tiles on the floors, and a marble-topped island counter that houses the television.
“There are some things that I really wanted and some things that See Wee really wanted. But I think, he’s the designer and I’m the client.” – JJ Yip, interior designer and homeowner
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BRINGING TEXTURE AND DEPTH TO AN ALL-WHITE HOME
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SHOWCASE – THREE-D CONCEPTWERKE
Having an all-white home can be somewhat safe and predictable but in the hands of the Three-d Conceptwerke design team, this common colour takes a life of its own. This resale flat unit has a bright and spacious ambience – a look that was requested by the homeowners. The crisp white palette fills the completely overhauled space with an easy-going flair and the designers injected simple but characterful design details to play up the aesthetics. TEXT DISA TAN
Project type: 4-room Model A HDB | Floor area: 1,070 sqft
White on white It’s not easy making an all-white interior look like it’s visually interesting and has perspective and depth. In this dining area, the designers worked hand-inhand with the homeowners to layer white on white, to great effect. Although stark in its minimalism, the room is rich in details. The sheer curtains, striking lamps and well-appointed furniture and accessories come together harmoniously to present a room that’s soothing to the senses.
Relaxed mode It’s all about a purity and simplicity in this cosy haven for two. The homeowners and designers worked in sync to create a laidback style that is unique and can stand the test of time. Whitewashed walls and ceiling become the perfect canvas for the creative collaboration which encourages daylight and greenery. Texture from the woven furnishings, woodgrain finishes and potted plants also usher in warmth for a relaxed ambience.
Eye candy A beautiful shock of blue greets you in the kitchen. It sets a nice contrast from the rest of the home, and is further accentuated by the chevron pattern of the white subway tiles. The galley layout works well in this home, allowing the colour and texture of the materials to take centre stage. The homeowner’s penchant for accessorising is also reflected in this kitchen: warmer tones are represented by the copper and wood kitchen essentials.
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Another dimension As with the rest of the home, the bathroom has an all-white outlook, characterised by the subway tiles on the walls. The prominent grouting prevents the space from looking bland, while the addition of copper pipes and fittings truly brings out its character. “The homeowners are really into copper and bronze finishes,” explain the designers. “These warm metallic additions really pop in an all-white space.”
Softer touch Rather than utilise the usual doors for the wardrobe, the designers opted for curtains as a more casual alternative to conceal the pole system wardrobe. “This very much fulfils the free-flowing, pure style that we were gunning for,” say the designers. “A lot of people describe the look as Scandinavian, or Santorini inspired, but we were aiming for a simpler and more natural approach to designing an interior.”
“Even with sheer curtains, the home is perpetually bathed in natural light. That, and the greenery seen outside the windows, led us to take on a pure design style to best complement the existing design.”
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Green inside out This low-level unit is surrounded by lush greenery that peeks in from the windows. To fully utilise this tranquil view, the designers pushed the bed in the master bedroom under the window. This allows the exterior view to become part of this home’s design. “It was quite an unconventional decision to place the bed under the window,” say the designers. “It actually frames the scenery well. The homeowners then brought in potted plants and this helps to extend the greenery into the home.”
SHOWCASE – THREE-D CONCEPTWERKE
THE BRIEF The best renovation results usually come from a collaborative working style between homeowners and designers. In this home, the two parties worked hand-in-hand to come up with a cohesive look that wouldn’t compromise the home’s functionality. The design team created a clean and pure design plan, and the homeowners sourced for furniture and accessories that further refine the look with their personalised touches. It’s a good idea to take stock of the surroundings while working on the interior design. In this lowlevel HDB flat, the neighbouring trees and foliage heavily influenced the look and style of the home. Following their gut feeling worked out well in the end as the flat has a natural yet distinctive style that blends well with its surroundings. Versatility and flexibility play important roles in the renovation process. Loose pieces of furniture work better for this “pure style” interior. Bulky built-ins can restrict the flow of space and air, and can even go so far as to diminish the visual size of the space.
Three-D Conceptwerke Pte Ltd 24 Eng Hoon Street Singapore 169774 T (65) 6293 8001 F (65) 6294 8001 firstname.lastname@example.org www.three-d-conceptwerke.com LOOKBOXLIVING.COM.SG | 123