The Dispatch — Nº101, Singapore Design Week Special

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A special issue of The Dispatch to mark the return of Singapore Design Week. ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Design Antology
The Dispatch
Nº101, Singapore Design Week Special
In Partnership with FIND – Design Fair Asia and Singapore Design Week

Putting Asia on the global design circuit, FIND – Design Fair Asia is one of the anchor events of the brand new Singapore Design Week. Taking place from 22–24 September 2022 as a joint venture between dmg events and Fiera Milano, FIND will bring together interior brands, industry leaders, designers and media from across the globe for a three-day festival of exchanges, inspiration and networking between architects, interior designers, retailers, agents and design savvy consumers.

FIND – Design Fair Asia; Singapore Design Week
Welcome

Singapore holds a special place in our hearts. While it's relatively small, geographically speaking, it punches well above its weight in design, hospitality, infrastructure and so much more. We've had a strong connection to this place since Design Anthology launched, and with the return of Singapore Design Week, our team is on the ground to host events and talks, meet friends old and new and celebrate the accomplishments of not just the host city-state, but the entire region.

Of course, one of the highlights for us is EMERGE, a landmark exhibition curated by our editor-in-chief Suzy Annetta exploring contemporary material culture in Southeast Asia. EMERGE is part of FIND – Design Fair Asia, on at Marina Bay Sands Exhibition Centre until tomorrow evening.

In this special issue of The Dispatch, we bring you new stories from Singapore that will hopefully inspire you to add the Lion City to your own travel itinerary in 2023. If you're in town, we hope to see you at one of the many great events still taking place over the weekend.

Home
A Place to Call Home
Singapore

We take a look inside Takenouchi Webb's latest residential project in Singapore

At the heart of this Singapore apartment's living room is a Richard Misrach photograph of a couple adrift in the water, hand in hand, glistening and relaxed. It captures the owners' yen for guests in their home to feel welcomed and at ease. Hospitality is a big part of the young couple's lives, and their home responds to that. 

Designed by Takenouchi Webb, the interiors take on a neutral palette, incorporating a medley of natural materials like timber and marble. Firm co-founders Marc Webb and Naoko Takenouchi have imbued the home with a considered lightness, having picked elements and colours that let the sunshine stream in. The living and dining rooms are conceived as one, allowing guests to potter about freely, while curves — from the live-edge dining table to the arched alcove — further soften the space.

The openness of the common areas is sustained throughout the private areas. Takenouchi and Webb tore down a wall to create a capacious primary suite, and built sliding doors for both the master and study rooms to maximise corridor space. 'We wanted the couple to have the flexibility of opening everything up, allowing both chambers to feel connected to each other,' Webb explains. 

A highlight in the abode is the meditation room, which feels like a secret hideaway. Instead of sticking to the squarish layout common in Singapore condominiums, the designers smoothed the edges over to create a calming presence. Tatami mats ground anyone who enters, and a Yang Yongliang artwork (resembling a Chinese ink painting) and a recessed light help conjure a serene sense of place. 

In the muted, calming space, the powder room is a surprising touch, its elegant Bianco Carrara marble sink paired with Gucci's striking pink heron-print wallpaper for a splashy flourish. The pattern is the couple's way of injecting delight and playfulness into the nook.

Each room in this apartment possesses distinct qualities, yet it's the simplicity of materials that ties it all together. No one space is overly designed, and even though Takenouchi and Webb were given an 'open brief', the husband-and-wife team has artfully woven the clients' personalities and varied interests into the home, which is now one they can truly call their own.  

Text / Joseph Koh
Images / Studio Periphery

'We wanted the couple to have the flexibility of opening everything up, allowing both chambers to feel connected to each other'
Dossier
Handmade Essentials
Singapore

Homegrown ceramic brand ves.studio offers beautiful creations and space for teaching and learning

Ceramic artist Jeanette Adrienne Wee founded ves.studio with the intention of creating a homegrown ceramic brand and a space for teaching and learning around which a community could eventually grow. Located in Chip Bee Gardens, the studio offers pottery courses and workshops in addition to selling handmade ceramic art and functional wares.  

'Our work has evolved over the years, but we pride ourselves in creating pieces that are lightweight, minimalist and contemporary,' Wee says. 'We use unique food-safe glazes that are inspired by nature, which we develop in our studio and that can complement any home.'

From cups and mugs to sake sets, ves.studio's beautifully crafted ceramics stand out for their simple forms and subtle finishes. The studio recently collaborated with local leather products brand Bynd Artisan to create a series of five handmade vessels with tanned vegetable leather elements, a venture that highlights the studio's community-oriented and collaborative philosophy.

Text / Nina Milhaud

Conversation
Richard Hassell
Singapore

Richard Hassell is an Australian architect and the co-founding director of Singapore-based architecture practice WOHA. Here, Suzy Annetta talks to him about his experience designing in Singapore for the past three decades and the changes he's witnessed in the city's design landscape and approach towards sustainability over that time.

Suzy Annetta: You've been living in Singapore for the past 30 years. Can you tell us about the changes in the urban and natural landscape you've witnessed over that time?

Richard Hassell: I think as a design practitioner looking at the physical infrastructure of the city, back then there was a process of engaging very famous world architects to design some signature projects. I would say the local design industry was quite demoralised. There was an attitude that the developers were all about the budget and you just had to do what they said, and design wasn't really respected or valued. And that has changed a lot, I think. So a local design culture has emerged and I think as a country that has a general understanding of designers adding a lot of value, that attitude has spread. Even quite unsophisticated players in the market would still see designers as a core value. So I think that's been a really big change and it's quite obvious in the quality of projects generally. 

When you're getting around the city, looking at all of these structures that you've participated in creating, is it a reminder of things that you want to change, or does it give you a good feeling?

Both. Well, all kinds of feelings. I think a construction project is a very complex thing. People tend to see them as an object or a product that's just been placed there in the city. When you work on them, often it's eight or ten years of your life. So it's really bound up in your whole changing life story and you see it very much as a process and not a finite object. And then, of course, after you've finished, they continue to age or be compromised by insensitive additions or alterations. But it's very nice to see them in the city and to feel like you have in some way made an impact on the built environment and the built culture of the city. 

So much of your work revolves around your approach to sustainability and how holistically that's incorporated into a building, a town or a city. How much do you think people's attitudes have changed towards sustainability being incorporated into a building from the very beginning?

I know there's been a huge change, which is fantastic. When we started in the early nineties, it was really off everybody's radar. So we always had to sort of smuggle it in through the back door. We would frame a strategy as a lifestyle improvement, that's how we actually honed our skills in convincing people to do these things without even realising they were doing it. So now we find it obviously a lot easier because there's a common understanding that this is quite an urgent need. And so now it's more a matter of how and what it costs rather than whether it should be done at all.

Listen to the full conversation

This conversation is an excerpt from an episode of The Design Dialogues presented in partnership with Fifth Black

Travel
City Guide
Singapore

Anyone who's spent time here will know that Singapore's F&B scene is a major drawcard, as are its museums and some very good-looking accommodations. Here are a few of our favourite places to eat, drink and recharge — look out for the Design Anthology team around town.

Singapore's design-led restaurants and bars are testament to the adage that we 'eat first with our eyes'. We'll be heading straight to Le Bon Funk for small plates and orange wine before heading to 'progressive gastro wine bar' RVLT for another bottle or two and some great music.

Chef Julien Royer's Claudine is a striking French restaurant within a former chapel in Dempsey Hill, while his first solo restaurant Odette is always worth a visit. Also in Dempsey Hill is Hathaway, which offers up modern Asian dishes in a rattan-heavy space. Another religious space turned restaurant, Dough is an all-day cafe tucked away in lifestyle complex CHIJMES, which makes its home in what was once the Convent of the Holy Infant Jesus.

On Mohamed Sultan Road, ESORA is a 26-seater Japanese fine-dining restaurant by The Lo & Behold Group, and if you're a bit of a Japanophile, then head to Gather, a cafe and boutique with a curated selection of lifestyle products from established and emerging Japanese brands, as well as the petite GOHO Kaiseki & Bar.

Pasta lovers should make a beeline for The Cicheti Group and pasta maker Ben Fatto's new spot, Forma, an elevated trattoria designed by Takenouchi Webb. For coffee and a light bite, might we suggest Merci Marcel on Orchard Road, designed by Lim Siew Hui of Hui Designs, or Hui's other spots like Neptune in Katong and Atlas Coffeehouse in Bukit Timah. There's also the beloved Telok Ayer takeout spot Park Bench Deli, which has re-emerged with a vibrant redesign that encourages interaction with both locals and the local context.

For a tipple or two, we'll be checking out new bar Night Hawk, which is reportedly inspired by its namesake Edward Hopper painting, and heading to perennial favourites like the cheeky Nemesis, Ginza-style bar Live Twice (after dinner at nearby brasserie Clos Pasoh), locally flavoured NATIVE and beer and whiskey bar American Taproom.

When it comes to shopping, we'll always make a stop at tried and trusted favourites like Basheer Graphic Books, the ultra-cool Dover Street Market (after brunch in Dempsey Hill),  slow fashion labels GINLEE Studio and In Good Company and vintage Scandinavian furniture store Noden.

Arts and culture must-visits include the Asian Civilisations Museum of antiquities and decorative, Gillman Barracks, a former British military camp that's now a destination for contemporary art, the National Gallery in the restored national monuments of City Hall and the former Supreme Court, and Singapore Art Museum.

And finally, you'll need a suitably stylish accomodation for rest and respite. Our go-tos include Hotel Mono, which spans six heritage shophouses in Singapore's Chinatown, the Philippe Starck-designed M Social at Robertson Quay, Oasia Hotel Downtown, with its exteriors designed by Singaporean firm WOHA and interiors by Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola, the iconic Warehouse Hotel, which takes over a triple-peaked riverfront godown revived by The Lo & Behold Group and design studio Asylum, and of course, the grandest dame of them all, Raffles Hotel.

Text / Simone Schultz

Learn more about Singapore's design world in these episodes of The Design Dialogues:

Soo Khian Chan
Kelley Cheng

Colin Seah
Gabriel Tan

Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai
Takenouchi Webb

Nathan Yong
Calendar
FIND – Design Fair Asia
22–24 September 2022
Singapore
EMERGE
22–24 September 2022
Singapore
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