Design this and that

THIS: the International Furniture Fair Singapore 2013 + 30th ASEAN Furniture Show is the fair I’ve regularly seen since 2007. This year was…quiet.

While Polish designer Piotr Saladra’s Artichoke pouf (below) joined the ranks of previous Furniture Design Award (FDA) winners — there was a retrospective of past winners like Kenneth Cobonpue, Nathan Yong, Anon Pairot, Jarrod Lim and Outofstock at Singaplural in Scape — in opening the four-day event with a burst of color, the fair itself seemed lackluster.

Few design highlights, like the FutureCraft showcase, made it to the Singapore expo (most of the newsy design events were at Scape).

Fortunately, some of the bigger exhibitors made an effort, like D-Bodhi, which is becoming a leading presence at IFFS, not only for its booth size, but for setting design trends among the other manufacturers (reclaimed teak was a much-repeated byword this year).
The packed-to-the-gills Dutch Design:20130312-144906.jpg

The edgy-on-the-outside Carezza:

(I really just liked the studded metal shell of the booth — here’s a closer look)

The go-big-or-go-home Villa Francaise:

The delightfully tactile and colorful Sharda, which was one of my favorite booths:

The quirky Sunbrella:

And then there the Singapore brands, with fortress-like booths so jealously guarded by wary staff (not everyone with a phone camera is a factory owner from China looking to knock off your designs…I get it — but you know, nobody in Milan behaves this way, even when the Salone del Mobile is swarmed with Chinese “buyers”).

And to add to the so-so reception, D-Space seemed diluted (perhaps, again, because some elements were transported to Singaplural at Scape). There was a Green Pavilion, with really interesting material like this cork fabric — but it wasn’t designed to look like a fair highlight (we miss those days when designers like Jarrod Lim were commissioned to make this space special).

Platform, which used to showcase up-and-coming designers, was very small.

So was the Mozaic designers collection

(Cici and Honfay of Ciliconfaytory seemed like Mozaic brands’ flavor of the year)

Here’s a couple more images from my favorite booths:


…and THAT:
Two new shops opened the same week that IFFS opened. Toto Kitchen on Bukit Timah Road:

And Timothy Oulton at Dempsey:


Fair Favorites

Can I just say? It was really fun seeing the International Furniture Fair Singapore and not having to report on it this year. We’ve been reporting year in and year out since we moved to Singapore (half a decade ago eek!), so it was a refreshing break for someone else to be covering the show. And for us to simply saunter in and out, and chat with our designer-friends as if we were some VIP buyer.

And now, apologies for the visual overload. If we had been able to photograph the booths, we would have more to show (D-Bodhi’s denim pieces! Bludot’s clean-lined designs! Habitat’s colored lamps! Actually, Habitat’s anything!). But anyway.

First up: the Furniture Design Awards.

One of the most interesting (although probably not very practical) finalists for the Student Category: Dear Deer Cabinet by Xin Tian Qi, which won a Merit Award in the Students Category. The facets with handles open up, and the prototype was quite well-made.

Sprout by Sharina Bi Abdual Rashid, won a Merit award in the Designers Category – I’m not sure if it was an Ikea hack of the Lack table, but the dimensions of this coffee table were spot on. The magazine (or thin book) holder is adorable.

Liseta bookcase by Samir Wadekar, won a Merit Award in the Students Category. Not a very practical use of space, but I wouldn’t mind having this for my favorite reads.

Grand award winner of  the Designers Category: Jerry Low’s Wind Screen. He did this under his own label, aBalcony, but it’s available at Air Furniture.

Doesn’t this Ostrich table remind you of this? Tsk, tsk, judges…

The show directory cover featured Gabriella Asztalos’ Hug Chair, which won a Merit Award in the Designers Category. I have no issue with that, after all, this category is open to international entries. But to put it on the cover of a Singapore show when there are so many talented and deserving Singapore designers? Really.

Yin Tzu-Chi’s Sheep chair won the grand award for the Students Category. Eh?

Nur Sabeela Binte Abdul Karim’s You’ve Got Mail won honorable mention in the Students Category. Cute, no?

Moving on. More of Jerry’s nice, clean-lined wood collection. Reminiscent of old-school Air, dontchathink?

What a useful bedside table by Lasalle student Felix Tanuwijaya:

I do like the aesthetic of architect-duo Poon and Yoon of Oon (I swear I did not make these names up). Their Centipede table (I hope it wasn’t inspired by the movie):

And Totem shelving system:
This quirky girl who is Pick Up Six was fawned over by our design team, and who can blame them? Her pieces had such a tongue-in-cheek sentimentality.

Like, can you believe this floor lamp?

Another cheeky designer, Russito, and his “Curiosity killed the…” collection. The side table is “…superstition”

Any guesses for the light?

Finally, the Design Inevitable showcase where local designers had workshopped with Naoto Fukasawa.

(Which probably explains the Fukasawa touch).
All images courtesy of the Singapore Furniture Industries Council’s Furniture Design DNA.