Stale & Co.

There is a subtle feeling — a whisper of a thrill — when you chance upon a brand that marries beautiful products with know-how and tradition. Such was the case when I chanced upon Stale & Co., a Singaporean label that specializes in handcrafted accessories that incorporate traditional metalsmith techniques.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.56.59 PMThe brand’s brass accessories, just like the Kenny Cuff Bracelet above, take on a whole new look as the wearer uses them over time, achieving a unique patina akin to a quality leather bag or raw denim jeans. This natural personalization process adds to the charm, ensuring that each item becomes an extension of yourself. In addition to brass, Stale & Co. also works with hardware, such as silver, and softer materials like yarn and glass beads, resulting in a balance that complements and harmonizes.

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 3.57.23 PMWith a roster of fine bracelets, cuffs, necklaces and rings, Stale & Co. also regularly adds on to its existing collection in order to provide choices that will complement a variety of personal styles. One of the newest additions is the Kurt Cuff Bracelet (pictured above), which boasts a solid feel and hammered asymmetrical ends. It’s a statement making piece that’ll finish off a simple outfit perfectly.

kapok Tools Opens at Robinsons Orchard

photo 8

I’m tremendously happy that one of my favourite multi-label boutiques from Hong Kong, kapok, is doing well in Singapore, a city where trends come and go extremely fast. On 8 November, the second kapok Tools branch opened at the new Robinsons Orchard, featuring a wide selection of niche brands from all around the world, adding another layer of excitement to Singapore’s vibrant retail landscape.

This time, expect a more premium selection of brands, which include modern classics like Common Projects, Mark McNairy, Mismo and Norse Projects. Alongside these labels are new arrivals into Singapore, such as Island Slippers from Hawaii, Aurlandskoen from Norway and Crash Baggage from Italy. Other kapok favourites like Kiel James Patrick, Seventy Eight Percent and Sandqvist bags are also available.

Make your way down to kapok Tools today and discover a refreshing way to shop!

photo 10

photo 7

Visit the new branch at Level 4, Robinsons Orchard, 260 Orchard Road, Singapore
Photographs courtesy of Working Unit

Haystakt — The Makers’ Marketplace

In case you haven’t noticed, there has been a shift in the shopping patterns of discerning individuals. From simply buying luxury goods, they now care about the stories behind the items they purchase; they want to know the provenance behind the materials used; and ultimately, take comfort in the fact that what they bought was made with pride and knowledge.

Enter Haystakt, a new global destination for people who care about the origins of products. The website houses carefully chosen, well-designed, quality goods from a wide network of independent makers around the globe — from Asia, Europe and the US. Notable labels include TIMO, ATEM, KEDAI BIKIN, Container and The Workshop Gallery.

Founder and Director Joel Leong, who hails from Singapore, started Haystakt in late 2012 with the ultimate goal of reintroducing a human touch to the marketplace. He shares, “What the Internet has done is to allow the niche to surface. Today, purchasing a product is about understanding the process and personalities behind it. Haystakt allows artisans to showcase their work and connect with people easily.”

On Haystakt, people interact with Makers by advocating or commenting on their work, sharing feedback on how their products are used, customised and owned. In addition, products come to life with videos and photos of the artisanal process, educating and inspiring consumers while fostering a virtual community spirit.

In order to create a more holistic experience, Haystakt introduces the inaugural issue of The Makers’ Journal, a monthly online-only publication that focuses on Making in Asia, as well as the people involved, products and processes. In this issue are interesting features that include designer profiles, a unique shopping destination in Bangkok, the tea drinking tradition and more.

Vanda Fine Clothing: Don’t Forget the Details

Some might say that guys get the short end of the style stick because of the limited amount of accessory options. Aside from footwear and belts, there are watches, the occasional bracelet, neck and bow ties, pocket squares and not much else. This may be a problem for gentlemen who have a penchant for peacocking, but for the understated male, it’s probably a relief.

Given the meager options in accoutrements, men can buy fewer pieces of the best quality options and use them time and again. This saves the hassle of constant and unnecessary purchasing. When it comes to neckties and pocket squares, Gerald and Diana of Vanda Fine Clothing know a thing or two about quality, as they source their fabrics from the best suppliers across Japan, the UK and Italy.

Handmade in Singapore, Vanda Fine Clothing products are crafted with a combination of traditional techniques and carefully selected materials. Wanting to create pieces that will last the test of time without the insane price tag was the impetus for starting the brand and almost two years later, the business has steadily picked up the pace.

However, it’s not just about picking up the first necktie or pocket square you see. Gerald shares, “Neckties and pocket squares are for complementing a look and they shouldn’t take over your entire ensemble. You wouldn’t want to be remembered as the paisley tie guy or the pink pocket square guy. Which is why when you buy either of the two, you want it to be as unobtrusive as possible — particularly when you’re a first time wearer. Once you’ve gotten used to them, that’s the time when you explore other colours, prints and materials.”

Diana adds, “When folding a pocket square, simply fold it neatly and have the edges peek out discreetly. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate pouf, which is commonly seen in some fashion magazines. You want it to look as if you didn’t try too hard.”

So if you’re starting to embrace the concept of smarter dressing, take into consideration the accessorizing tips shared by Gerald and Diana. At the end of the day, while accessory options are still limited, never underestimate the details. The best quality pieces that you can get your hands on have the power to pull your look together. (And don’t try too hard.)

Vanda Fine Clothing
Blk 1014, Geylang East Avenue 3
02-218, Singapore
+65 6842 2124
info@vandafineclothing.com

PasarBella Sunday

PasarBella (Pasar means ‘market’ in Malay, while Bella means ‘beautiful’ in Italian), located at The Grandstand on Turf Club Road, is the latest gastronomical hotspot in Singapore that everyone is visiting and talking about. Calling to mind Australian or European weekend markets, PasarBella is packed with food stalls that sell everything from paella and homemade pies to grilled meats and fresh seafood. Coffee, craft beers and wines are also plentiful, as well as fresh cut flowers, organic produce and more.

There’s over 30,000 square feet of market space, so go crazy over a dizzying assortment of desserts like piping hot pastries and refreshing fruit popsicles; fresh seafood, such as oysters and lobsters; and Australian wines and Belgian beers. Looking for something more filling? Opt for tasty ribs, chorizo sausage sandwiches or freshly cooked pastas.

The java from Dutch Colony Coffee Co. will wake you right up.

Guilt-free popsicles from Popaganda. Choose from flavours like lemon olive oil, mango coconut, ginger butternut squash, strawberry-orange-banana, avocado cacao nibs and more.

Order a glass or two (or a whole bottle) at Merchants Wine Cellar & Store. We settled for some riesling, rose and shiraz this afternoon.

You never know when you’ll need pink peppercorns or vanilla pods from Madagascar. Thank goodness Five & Spice Kitchen has ‘em.

PasarBella
The Grandstand Bukit Timah Singapore
200 Turf Club Road, Singapore 
Monday – Sunday
9:30
am – 7:30pm

Extra Virgin Pizza at United Square

I shouldn’t be complaining because Singapore has one of the most vibrant dining scenes in the world. But as an ardent pizza fanatic, I can’t help but lament the sad state of the pizza scene here. There are a lot of pizza chains around – both local and from the US – but neither of them hit the spot. They either taste like cardboard, are a little too greasy or are topped with the weirdest combination of ingredients you can imagine (Crabstick? Gross.).

However, Extra Virgin Pizza (EVP) has come to the rescue. I was recently invited to the media preview of the new United Square outlet at Novena and I can finally say I’ve found my happy pizza place.

EVP prides itself in the ingredients that they use – quality flour, tomatoes, cheeses and toppings. The pizzas are baked in brick ovens, giving them a unique shape, an irresistible charred crust and discernible freshness. Now, let me show you how to have one hell of a meal at EVP.

1. Perk your palate with mouthwatering starters. Here are my favourites:

The Cauliflower Romesco will make you swoon. It’s slathered with a piquant almond capsicum sauce and held together by gooey fontina cheese.

I couldn’t get enough of the Oven-fired Clams. Sweet, juicy, garlicky and rich. Tear off some of the garlic bread and mop up the white wine sauce.

2. Order a Peroni beer. Because nothing goes better with pizza than a Peroni.

3. Pizza time! Make sure you order the following:

The Spotted Pig is a definite crowd pleaser. A triple threat of spicy pepperoni, pork sausage and applewood smoked bacon. Garnish with a pinch of chili flakes and enjoy!

The Pistachio Pesto pizza has a pistachio pesto base, which is milder than your traditional pesto, topped with baby arugula and drizzled with a refreshing lemon vinaigrette that ties everything together. Who said vegetarian food had to be boring?

4. I don’t care if you’re full. There’s always room for dessert.

Dip your spoon in the tiramisu’s languid mixture of mascarpone, ladyfingers and espresso liqueur. As for the Nutella panna cotta, each bite will have you rolling your eyes in delight.

Extra Virgin Pizza
101 Thomson Road #01-14
United Square Shopping Mall
Singapore 307591
Sun-Thu: 11AM-10PM
Fri-Sat: 11AM-11PM

Design Undiscovered in Singapore

It was a design-filled Saturday afternoon, which started at TheLibrary at the SunnyHills boutique on the third floor of the Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade. This popup library has over 500 titles available for browsing, all dedicated to the creative fields of architecture, design, art and photography.

The book selection is curated by leading industry professionals, showcasing books that have influenced their creative pursuits. This initiative, led by Jing Quek of SUPER Studio, aims to raise the level of creativity and arts appreciation among Singaporeans by providing free access to these creative resources.

TheLibrary’s current location (until 31 May) at SunnyHills is the perfect setting for a relaxing afternoon. The shop’s interiors is beautifully designed, marrying rich wooden surfaces with minimalist lighting and shelves.

As soon as visitors step in, they are led to a comfortable spot and offered complimentary pineapple cakes from Taiwan and a soothing cup of oolong tea. Look for SunnyHills’ co-owner Regine who will gladly tell you about the brand’s history and gourmet pineapple cakes.

Next stop was the industrial area of Tai Seng. I was on the hunt for brass bookends or a statement chair at one of the secondhand furniture stores, but stumbled upon Grafunkt instead, an independent design brand established by Nathan Yong, ex-founder of Air Division and an award-winning furniture designer.

The showroom is housed in a rather nondescript building that’s easily overlooked. I worked in this area for two years and didn’t even know until yesterday that this place existed! As soon as you step out of the lift, you’ll find that every corner is filled with beautiful furniture and home accessories from local and international brands like Vitra, Folks, Nichemodern, Miniforms, Bludot and more. Displays were put together in a playful manner, sparking unique ideas on how to decorate your future home.

These two photos are great sources of inspiration for my future bedroom. I particularly love the leaning lamp and the green side table. It’s quite funny that even if none of the pieces match, they all work together harmoniously.

Good design doesn’t have to be taken too seriously. Can you spot the toys – particularly the Star Wars ones?

Designer bric-a-brac that proves clutter can be pretty. My personal favourite would have to be the concrete key holder/paperweight in mustard by Luca Nichetto. Its simplicity is captivating!

Looking for chairs? You’ve come to the right place. The Acapulco chairs above made popular in the 1950s are wonderfully nostalgic and modern at the same time. They’re made out of a coated steel frame and PVC cord, and are available in several colours.

Lighting can make or break any interior so choose wisely. Luckily, there’s a wide range of lamps and light fixtures at Grafunkt that double as conversation starters, such as the Wire Light by Decode London.

The next time you need a jolt of inspiration, drop by TheLibrary and Grafunkt and discover Singapore’s creative side. Since these places are tucked away in “undiscovered” parts of town, you’ll be able to avoid the crowds and enjoy browsing and shopping in peace.

 

TheLibrary
SunnyHills, 3rd Floor Raffles Hotel Shopping Arcade
Singapore
thelibrarysg@gmail.com

Grafunkt Flagship Store
Tong Yuan Ind. Bldg
85 Playfair Road, #02-01
Singapore