Design Saturday*

March 9th officially opened the International Furniture Fair Asia (IFFS) at the Changi Expo, with fringe design event Singaplural at Scape, but alphabeticalife and Sleepwalking had a different “Design Saturday” of their own in mind, and they let me tag along.

First stop was The Library x Sunny Hills, a pop-up design books-library initiated by Jing Quek and graciously hosted by cult Taiwanese pineapple tart specialist Sunny Hills.

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Nourished with pineapple tart and oolong tea, we took the MRT circle line to industrial district Tai Seng / Macpherson for what we thought would be an afternoon of antiquing at Oddysey and Hock Siong.

Oddysey is a little shop selling vintage curio and refurbished furniture.

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Hock Siong is a warehouse where furniture, furnishing accessories, and even mattresses discarded during hotel renovations and post-showflat-use go to find a new lease on life.

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Alphabeticalife had hoped to score a pair of bookends from Oddysey or Hock Siong, but someone had already bought it. Since we were in the area, I suggested 85 Playfair Road, home of lifestyle shop Egg3 and local furniture’s design doyen Nathan Yong’s Grafunkt.

At Egg3, alphabeticalife found something to buy.
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At Grafunkt, we all found something to want.
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Like these pendant lights.
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I have also been wanting this desk-sound system since forever.
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I really like Nathan’s aesthetic.
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(fortress of solitude, anyone?)
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These made an appearance at the IFFS Design Space:
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We ended the afternoon with authentic Italian gelato. Fitting, because the last time my feet ached so much from walking up, down and all around an industrial area was at Zona Tortona during last year’s Salone in Milan.
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You know you watch too much TV when…

You can name the design icons featured in a series. And give their provenance.

One of my favorite chairs, for example, appears on CSI, NCIS and other procedurals. More popularly known as the Navy chair, Emeco’s 1006 was originally designed in 1944 by the company’s founder Witton Dinges for the US Navy. Handcrafted out of recycled aluminum, it was lightweight yet incredibly durable, perfect for use in submarines. We met current chairman and CEO Gregg Buchbinder when he was in Singapore last month – on his watch, the recycled aluminum chair was iterated in colored plastic extruded from recycled soda bottles (a collaboration with Coca-cola).

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Another iconic mid-century modern design that made its way to television was Eero Saarinen’s Tulip chair, which appeared in the original Star Trek series.

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The Tulip stools and the pedestal table also made their way into hit TV series Mad Men: Roger Sterling’s office in particular (of course, Mad Men shouldn’t really count, being set in that period). Roger’s mod office was considered forward-thinking, and too hip. Hence the futuristic Saarinen, I guess.

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This blog Ecosalon lists everything, including the Nesso table lamp by Giancarlo Mattioli from Artemide, inside Roger’s office.

And then there’s Once Upon A Time, where the mayor/evil queen’s home-office looks like a Barbara Barry setting gone goth. I thought the wallpaper was Woods by Cole & Son, but this blog says it’s Seabrook. Close enough. I’m certain the oval-back chairs are not Barbara Barry, but then again this modernized Louis pendant chair is produced by many brands.

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I can’t say for sure because the cantilevered chair is also commonly manufactured, but Harvey Specter’s office in Suits seems to have Mies Van Der Rohe’s BRNO chair (see Mike Ross sitting on one?). There’s a Saarinen side table there, too.

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Speaking of Mies Van Der Rohe, I once saw a pair of Barcelona chairs in CSI Catherine Willows’ office. It costs over SGD5,000 now, so I don’t know how they could afford to furnish a civil servant’s office with a pair…unless those were originals stuck there from the mid-1900s…or those were fakes. Or Catherine finally used some of her casino-mogul-bastard-father’s money. And yeah, yeah, that’s TV, where the improbable is possible.

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The Big C

Make the Red Dot Museum your date night or hangout destination this Friday night, June 1st.

Why? To see the fab chairs of Chairity, and show your support for the Singapore Cancer Society. Whether your life or the life of someone you love has been touched by cancer or not, this exhibit is worth a visit not only for the touching stories behind each chair, but for the things you’ll learn about the disease that kills one in four Singaporeans.

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Chairity, http://www.simplygiving.com/Chairity, is on exhibit as part of MAAD (Market of Artists and Designers) on June 1st, 5pm to midnight, at the Red Dot Museum.

Diary: Milan Design Week (part 3)

This is the last installment, pardon the delay – lots of visiting designers and design events to cover the past week.

Day 5 was a lovely, sunny day, so I did some city exploring on my way to the Museo del Novecento.
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Even outside the museum, Fuorisalone had some attention-grabbing, er, “design people”.
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Day 6: The Brera district, where upmarket brands intersect with the Academy of Arts. Right out of the Moscova metro was Valcucine.
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The most pleasant surprise was Shigeru Ban’s modular wall cladding for Hermes.
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Outside the Arts & Crafts in Brera’s Ex Chiesa di San Carpoforo
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And inside
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At the Accademia’s Orto Botanico, where the Barovier&Toso installation of blue caves was set up:
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What is everyone looking at inside those caves?
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Barovier&Toso chandeliers
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Sharing the same garden, Zaha Hadid’s marble installation
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Went inside the Academy…
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Day 7: Tried to catch Design Dance at the Triennale Museum with my cousin Milcah, but they weren’t letting even early birds in anymore. Luckily there was a Vitra Design Museum show inside, too.
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Since we had extra time, we headed over to 10 Corso Como.
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And then I ran out of days. Didn’t get to see Ventura Lambrate, but that’s ok. It means there’s something new to see next year!

Diary: Milan Design Week (part 2)

Day 3: Milan Fairgrounds, Rho. Back to finish the design halls, then Eurocucine.

Happy Britto chairs by Infiniti

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Roche Bobois
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Gufram’s iconic chairs, like the Bocca by Salvador Dali, were wired with counters to see which got sat on the most
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BD Barcelona
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BD Barcelona included Antoni Gaudi’s mirror

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See-through His and Her chairs by Fabio Novembre at Casamania
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Snuggie chair, anyone? Also at Casamania
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Opinion Ciatti
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Miele
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Snaidero
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Alessi
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This dude wouldn’t get out of frame…when I finally took my shot, he asked me to take his picture with the tableware.

“Barrels: The Third Life of Wood” was an exhibit of furniture developed from used wine barrels.
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Day 4: The cold, cold spring finally caught up with me, so I only had the energy to go back to MOST.
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I wanted to see La Cura by Studio Fay Too Good, where I was able to take a picture of the performance art before they announced that we shouldn’t (isn’t ignorance bliss?). We were supposed to taste, but because they didn’t explain what they were serving, I only sniffed the tiny spoonful of something in a white little cup. It smelled like chocolate. Then we were given blobs of cool, white clay to play with. Again, they didn’t explain what we were supposed to do, so most of us kept balling it between our palms. At the end of the performance, they collected our “creations” and added them to the installation.
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On my way out to explore more of MOST, guess who I found shooting a video:
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Yes, the Tom Dixon.

At MOST, La Chance
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Searching for Cassiopeia, designed by Fabrica for the Italian Chair District
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MOST had a designers’ market…
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…and a listening lounge
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From MOST I headed to nearby Spazio Rosanna Orlandi, to be wowed by the sumptuousness.
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Diary: Milan Design Week (part 1)

Day 1: Press preview day. Met SH, a Milan Fair veteran, in luxury furniture brand B&B Italia’s flagship store on Via Durini. I shadowed her as much as I can so I wouldn’t get lost.

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From Via Durini we headed towards Corso Europa, stopping by KME for a little education on copper cladding.

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The window displays at Cerruti Baleri caught our eye, so we slipped in to ogle the Maison Martin Margiela installation. There were other designers on show, too, but that was the name that you left the store remembering.

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Finally on Corso Europa, where SH shot Molteni & C’s settings with her SLR, and I shot with my iPhone (ha!).

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Then we walked to Artemide to see the Issey Miyake lamps.

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We spent some time at Skitsch, where we fell in love with the packed lunch. “It’s so nice for them to feed us poor journalists,” SH remarked as we figured out how to get to our next destination.

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We took the Metro to Via Olona and got semi-lost walking to see MOST by Tom Dixon at the Museo Nazionale Della Scienza e Della Tecnologia. SH had an appointment with Moooi, so she left me here.

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From MOST I took the Metro to get to Via Tortona, got lost (again) looking for Design Village, and stumbled into Superstudio Piu at the Temporary Museum for New Design.

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Day 2: Milan Fairgrounds, Rho. On my own at the fair, picked up my press materials and devised my game plan in the press lounge. Today was all about the design halls, and as many CD-Rs and USBs as I can get from the brands we work with.

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Bonaldo
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Poliform
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Gervasoni (so far, my favorite booth)
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Meritalia
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Ligne Roset
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Porada
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Adrenalina
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Dedon
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Emu
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Riva
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Vitra
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Kartell
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Zanotta
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SaloneSatellite
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Met SH for coffee at the press lounge around 4pm, so we could go find Design Village featuring Cappellini, Cassina and Poltrona Frau.
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Part of Poltrona Frau’s centennial celebration was a competition for emerging designers to redefine its iconic armchair. Juliet is the winning chair.
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I liked it in blue.
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And I wasn’t the only one.
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Poltrona Frau played with color for its iconic pieces.
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And showed off a classic that was nearly as old as the brand.
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After Design Village, we went to Established&Sons and Bisazza Bagno.
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Marcel Wanders had a chandelier shower in his Bisazza collection.
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I liked these by Jaime Hayon, but I don’t know what they are.
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Last stop before dinner was Paola Navone’s pop-up shop, Merci.
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Choices, choices!

What color to get?

We’re in the market for a new study chair. Space Furniture’s Emeco 111 Navy shipment is coming in. We’re torn between a classic Coke red (and what better way to remind ourselves that the chair is recycled from Coke bottles), a white that will go with everything we have, and a no-maintenance black…and, ooh, the green looks so yummy, too!