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Dream teams (Amended)
National Gallery Singapore and & Co
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew's Road
Opening Nov 24
WITH four industry heavyweights behind &Co, it wouldn't be wrong to think of this collective as a dream team. &Co is made up of Loh Lik Peng, founder of Unlisted Collection, Yu Yah-Leng and Arthur Chin from Foreign Policy Design and Alwyn Chong from Luxasia.
Together they bring with them several years of expertise in dining, design and culture, and retail respectively.
"Both Peng and Alwyn were clients and we have known and worked with them for many years, forming a solid, strong working relationship and friendship between us. We have mutual respect and trust for what each party is doing and we had been looking for opportunities to work together," says Ms Yu.
For example, her design firm collaborated with New Majestic Hotel, a hotel under Unlisted Collection on The Space Program - a part retail, part installation and part museum project. The firm also did the rebranding for Luxasia, a cosmetics and fragrance distributor.
&Co's first project is a cafe and museum shop for the National Gallery Singapore, called Gallery & Co, which will open on November 24.
Ms Yu explains that the gallery was looking for a design firm to conceptualise, design and run the space of what's to be Gallery & Co. "We quickly roped Peng and Alwyn in for a more robust combined sum in terms of design, hospitality and retail," she adds.
Taking inspiration from South-east Asia's art and culture, Gallery & Co fuses art and design into a curated retail experience featuring specially designed products for the museum, such as books, design collectibles and prints. The space spans the entire frontage of the City Hall Wing on the ground floor, overlooking the Padang.
There will also be a cafe and cafeteria on its premises, and its menu will be created by executive chef Sufian Zain from Restaurant Ember, which is part of Unlisted Collection. Mr Loh says the menu will be frequently updated and will also follow the exhibition themes of the museum. "So we might have Vietnamese or Thai and also a nice selection of dishes incorporating familiar Singapore flavours such as laksa and rendang," he says. "We are looking at something fun but familiar for our diners so you might expect to see a rendang scented lamb salad with couscous or a laksa broth with barramundi. Something with a familiar taste for Singaporeans but definitely with a nice twist."
Mr Loh adds that his contribution to this venture is looking after the F&B aspects. "It's something that I feel passionate about because this is part of the museum experience for visitors."
Visitors will always have some interaction with the gift shop and the cafeteria, even if they just pass by.
He adds: "I hope everyone who goes to the museum will drop by for a coffee at least and browse through our collection of gifts and souvenirs. We want this to be the go-to place to meet friends and just hang out and have a nice meal and drink."
Mr Chong, managing director of Luxasia, will set the retail direction for Gallery & Co. He will be picking out products for the museum shop. Some museum merchandise that will be for sale include umbrellas, notebooks, totebags and stationery. At Gallery & Co, the idea is to make art more approachable by infusing personal perspectives and interpretation into the products that is designed and produced for the store.
For example, the team will be producing an exclusive capsule collection for each exhibition in the Gallery and for the first collection, they are working with Singapore artisans to weave their own take on the artworks, through their creative mediums, into beautiful functional products that everyone can enjoy.
Another signature range for the National Gallery is inspired by the building's iconic neo-classical architecture and art deco motifs as well as the beautiful art works which tell the story of Singapore and South-east Asia.
Mr Chong says Gallery & Co is very much about collaborations and the creative process and, as such, "we will be partnering local and international brands to produce exclusive products to be sold only in the Gallery". One of the first brands they are collaborating with is Smile Q&Q, a Japanese watchmaker which has patented a new technology harnessing only solar energy to power its watches. They will be launching two limited-edition watch designs that creatively reference the Gallery's historical tiles.
&Co is also working with homegrown brand Matter on a series of textiles using an ancient and disappearing handprinting technique called "block printing", with artisans in India. They will be designing prints inspired by the artworks in the National Gallery.
"We all have strengths in our respective fields of retail, hospitality and design," says Mr Chong. "But more than our strengths is the unity in thought, the passion to create something of national value and pride that will make this a success."
Mr Chin says that his firm's contribution is spearheading the design department which includes conceptualising the space, the branding, the merchandise, the curation as well as working very closely with Mr Loh and Mr Chong in creating something that people would enjoy coming to and hanging out at.
"Most of all, all of us feel a strong national calling to create something that Singaporeans can be proud of. This is also one of the reasons we came together to work on the project. It is something pretty close to heart," he says.
Potato Head Folk and Neighborhood
36 Keong Saik Road Tel: 6327 1939
Opening hours: Tues to Sun, 11am to midnight
For Earn Chen, creative director at Potato Head Folk, PTT Family, customers snapping up the burgers at its hugely popular Three Buns restaurant at Keong Saik Road isn't enough for him.
Instead, PTT Family wants fans to bring a piece of Three Buns home with them, and they are doing this through an exclusive clothing line in collaboration with Neighborhood, the iconic Japanese streetwear label.
Titled Three Buns X Neighborhood, the collection will be launched on Saturday at the restaurant. This is the first time Neighborhood has collaborated with a hospitality/restaurant operator, following previous partnerships with the likes of Adidas, Converse, John Mayer and Coca Cola.
Established in 1994 by motorcycle enthusiast Shinsuke Takizawa, Neighborhood is known for its motorcycle and streetwear culture.
The Three Buns x Neighborhood collection is inspired by the tropical feel of South-east Asia, while in keeping with Neighborhood's motorcycle edge. The full range of merchandise includes T-shirts, an apron, Aloha shirt and shorts, jacket and cap. These will be sold in a month-long pop-up store located at the entrance to Three Buns. The store is set up like a black box, which is how Neighborhood stores in Japan look.
Mr Chen is familiar with the brand, which he used to stock in his multi-label menswear store Surrender back in 2004. He sold the store in 2013."Neighborhood and Three Buns both share the same DNA, which is about street culture, so why not collaborate with them," he says.
"Rather than have customers come to Three Buns and then leave after finishing their burgers, I want them to linger longer, and bring something from the restaurant with them when they leave," he says. The collaboration took a year to plan. The Aloha shirts come with prints of palm trees and a hammock, reflective of the laid back feel of Southeast Asia.
While the pop-up store will be open for a month, the Neighborhood X Three Buns clothing range will be available for sale at Three Buns till end November. The range will also be sold at Potato Head Beach Club in Bali from August 30 and Three Buns in Jakarta from September 9.
To pay homage to the Three Buns x Neighborhood collaboration, Potato Head Folk has created two tequila-based cocktails affectionately named "Neighborhood Shake" and "Barrio Cooler" as well as the Mexican-inspired "Neighborhood" burger - comprising a beef patty topped with triple jalapeno cheese, deconstructed tomato salsa, pickled chilli, and a mole mayonnaise made from cocoa, roasted almonds, coriander seeds, chilli and raisins sandwiched between a cornmeal brioche bun.
Adam Penney, Three Buns' executive chef says the idea for a Mexican-themed 'Neighborhood' burger came from Takizawa's well-known love of Mexican cuisine, as well as the desire to create the ultimate Mexican burger for Three Buns.
"Neighborhood is a popular label in this region and we are excited to see how Takizawa mixes streetwear with Potato Head Folk's signature playful and tropical style," says Mr Chen. "South-east Asia is a fashion-conscious region and we are bringing Potato Head Folk fans an opportunity to engage their style with us."
Amendment note: Earn Chen’s title is wrong, he is actually creative director at PTT Family, not Potato Head Folk.
Second paragraph - the man who’s also behind the hip Potato Head Beach Club in Bali – this isn’t factually correct as Earn, joined the PTT Family after the beach club launched
DESSERT BY THE BOOK
Bynd Artisan and Iggy's
44 Jalan Merah Saga #01-54 Tel:6475 1680
Opening hours: Mon to Thurs, 12 to 9pm, Fri & Sat, 10am to 9m, Sun, 10am to 8pm
HE is the owner of the award-winning restaurant Iggy's, while she is a champion for the art of bookbinding. The two worlds are coming together, as uncle and niece, Ignatius and Winnie Chan, are collaborating on a special dessert range, a range of petit fours that come packed in a box that resembles a book.
Iggy's X Bynd Artisan Petit Fours will be available from August 27, at the new Bynd Artisan Atelier at Chip Bee Gardens.
The atelier which opened earlier this month is the brand's fourth store, after its flagship store in Boon Lay and two shop-in-shops in Tangs at Tang Plaza and Vivocity.
"F&B was something we wanted to do in our Boon Lay atelier, but the zoning did not allow for that. As we are building a lifestyle concept where customers can come to participate in workshops or purchase gifts with customisation, it is important that they can also enjoy the space and have some refreshments while waiting for their items to be personalised," says Ms Chan. "We also wanted to create an environment that is conducive for personal reflection since Bynd Artisan is about going back to the traditional forms of pen and paper with the luxurious touch of leather."
Apart from a retail section, the atelier houses a cafe and a large workshop space.
On the decision to sell petit fours, Ms Chan says she wanted to start with a unique product that did not require too much handling as the craftsmen's expertise is in bookbinding and leather-crafting and they did not have prior F&B experience.
Over dinner with her uncle at where else but Iggy's, Ms Chan noticed the petit fours that were served over coffee. "The tiny bite-sized confectionery were delicious and it was then that Uncle Iggy had the idea to present the same items but with unique limited-edition Asian flavours that are not served in his restaurant for our collaboration," says Ms Chan.
Iggy's head chef Masahiro Isono and dessert chef Elena Perez created the special petit fours, which retail for S$30 per box of eight pieces. There is the Gado Gado macaron which is a delectable extension of chef Perez's fondness for the Indonesian salad. Chef Isono was inspired to create Umeshu Jelly made from homemade Japanese plums infused in vodka. The jelly has a delicate sweet and sour plum wine flavour. The Salted Egg Yolk and Black Truffle Macaron, Green Curry Macaron and Teh Halia Chocoalate are some of the other sweets in the range. Ms Chan says there are plans to roll out more food items in time to come, and they could be petit fours in new flavours or other savoury small bites. While uncle and niece often meet up over family celebrations and end up talking about their businesses, this is the first time they are working together. Ms Chan says the experience has been a nurturing one.
Mr Chan says working with his niece has given him "a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the heritage and history of the family's paper and bookbinding business". Mr Chan has always been in the F&B industry. "This collaboration with Bynd Artisan is especially meaningful for us as a family and for me as I bear witness to artisanal talents from different disciplines working together."
APPETITE FOR STYLE
In Good Company and Plain Vanilla Bakery
ION Orchard, #B1-06
Opening hours: 10.30am to 9.30pm daily
AT homegrown fashion label In Good Company's (IGC) new flagship store at Ion Orchard, not only can you shop for a new dress, but have lunch there as well.
The 3,300 sq ft store will have an in-store cafe, set up in partnership with Plain Vanilla Bakery. The store opened on Friday, but the cafe will open on August 28.
"We didn't want the store to just be about clothes. An IGC cafe extends the lifestyle element of the brand and creates an opportunity for the customer to dwell in the store," says Sven Tan, one of the four founders of the brand. The other three are Kane Tan, Julene Aw and Jaclyn Teo, all friends, who founded the label in 2012.
They were all fans of Plain Vanilla Bakery even before the collaboration, and approached the bakery to work together.
"Working with Plain Vanilla is good synergy for us as we share the same passion for our craft. We both wanted a deli-style concept where people can eat soulful food and exchange conversations at a communal table," says Mr Sven Tan, IGC's principal designer.
Plain Vanilla Bakery has two outlets in Holland Village and Tiong Bahru.
"Our collaboration with In Good Company allows us to showcase our extended offering on a different platform and we are privileged to have the opportunity to share our food philosophy with the IGC community," says founder Vanessa Kenchington.
"Both brands share profound similarities in philosophy and approach albeit in different industries. Our shared priorities in building a meaningful brand and community outreach has helped us achieve great synergy in this partnership." The 800 sq ft cafe sits 20 people comfortably around communal tables designed by Nathan Yong of furniture brands Grafunkt and Folks Furniture, together with the IGC design team. Envisioned as a little botanical oasis nestled in the heart of the store, the cafe is capped by lush ferns and greenery from local florist Triceratops.
The IGC cafe will introduce Plain Vanilla's first extended menu beyond their famous cupcakes and small bakes. This includes breakfast foods such as homemade granola, yogurt bowls with oven-baked crumble and agave nectar, speciality grilled sandwiches such as prosciutto and truffle on ciabatta, and watercress egg aioli on homemade brioche. The cafe will also serve Plain Vanilla's homemade ice cream.
Almost everything on the menu is made in small batches and made from scratch - from the artisanal breads to the aioli, tapenade, jam and chutney, to the cakes and pastries.
Cafe aside, the new store is also a chance for IGC to articulate a vision beyond just clothes.
The store will carry its full brand collections of women's wear, Mini Me for girls, aged three to eight, and accessories; offering wardrobe essentials and reinvented classics which the label is known for.
The retail space will also introduce a mix of independent creative brand products to add to the diversity of the store: curated magazine titles from Magpie, homegrown fiction and poems published by Math Paper Press, handcrafted bags by Hong Kong-based leathersmiths Hoiming, as well as fabric refresh sprays and laundry wash products from the independent Australian brand, Mr Black.
The brand philosophy and aesthetic that defines IGC is matched by the neomodern style and minimalist environment of the retail space. Something between a store and a gallery, a curvilinear granite facade and four glass pivot panels at the entrance opens up to a sweeping view of the store.
Designed in collaboration with award-winning interior design agency Traart, the store space utilises clean lines and bold geometry: black frame pivot racks make stark graphic lines against seamless white walls, while light wood and brutalist concrete act as a blank canvas. The wide-open space is only punctuated by low-level granite stone, dotted by large, reflective mirrors along the perimeters of the store.
With so much going for it, and by working with various partners who are known names in their fields, IGC has literally surrounded itself with good company.
Earn Chen’s title is wrong, he is actually creative director at PTT Family, not Potato Head Folk.
In the second paragraph, the man who’s also behind the hip Potato Head Beach Club in Bali – this isn’t factually correct as Earn, joined the PTT Family after the beach club launched.