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22 Kallang Avenue, #01-00, Hong Aik Building
Opening hours: 10.30am to 7pm daily
DAVID King, chairman of Australian furniture company King Living, likens his furniture to Lego sets. Afterall, the brand, started by his mother in 1977, is best known for its modular sofas. Depending on how you arrange the pieces, such as a two or three-seater sofa with an ottoman, you can get an L-shaped configuration, a U-shaped one, or even create a double bed.
Arms can be taken out and easily inserted into what the brand calls "plug points", and steel brackets come in different shapes, so that armrests can either be placed at an angle or upright. And if you want a deeper seat, simply push back the backrest on some models to create that.
"The configurations are quite endless," says Mr King.
This is the brand's first store in Asia. Its other showrooms are in Australia and New Zealand.
"Many of our pieces look large, and we were told that large pieces wouldn't be able to fit into homes in Singapore," says Mr King. "But since the showroom's soft opening in June, sales have been good, relying a lot on word-of-mouth recommendations. Singaporeans like the modular option."
The Jasper collection has been popular, and customers have a choice of seat configurations, arm cushions, as well as single or double-height shelves to be attached to the end of the sofa. A single height one works well as a side table, while the double-height ones work as a magazine shelf. Some models, such as the Delta Metro Storage also come with built-in storage space in the sofa, great for keeping blankets and pillows. The sofa can be configured into a double bed.
The brand prides itself not only on its modular system but also the details that go into making a sofa. For example, while most sofas are made of timber frames, King Living uses steel frames and a special seating system that supports the spine in its sofa. The system that King Living uses is similar to those used in Porsche and Rolls Royce cars, to deliver better support to users and durability to the sofa.
Inside the cushions, there are pocket springs to provide high levels of resilience and to create firmness, which means that even after years of use, your seat cushion doesn't sink in.
While some other brands may staple their fabric or leather coverings to the timber frame, King Living doesn't do that. Instead, all coverings are tailored and attached to the steel frames using velcro and can be completely removed for replacement.
But what has been winning customers over is also their TouchGlide Technology, built into some models, such as the King Cloud II. The controls are hidden away in between the arm rest and the seat cushions. To adjust the position of the sofa seat and headrest, the user simply swipes his hand over the controls.
Some sofas also come with built-in side pockets which can be used as storage space, or to add accessories, such as side tables. Even the side table is not an ordinary one. It comes with a built-in charger, which allows users to charge their smart devices simply by placing it on the table. The secret is in a wire running from the table which needs to be plugged in for the charger to work.
As each sofa is modular, there is little worry about it not being able to fit into lifts during delivery. All the components, from the head rest to the arm rest to the sofa frames, are packed in individual boxes and only assembled on location.
Prices for the sofas start from S$5,955 for the Delta Metro with storage.
With the sofas supported by a 25-year warranty, it appears that customers won't need to replace their sofas on a more frequent basis. "They can always opt to change the covers, and reconfiguring the pieces will always make things look new," says Mr King. "Getting a set that is long-lasting is also much friendlier to the environment."
By Tay Suan Chiang
Platform for art lovers
Also available from Google play and App Store
GOT some pre-loved art pieces, furniture or jewellery that you would like to sell off? Finding buyers just got easier with the newly launched Luxglove.com, a curated platform to buy and sell preloved items in the mid-range to luxury segments.
It is much like Carousell, but for more pricey and valuable items.
Talenia Phua Gajardo, founder and CEO of Luxglove.com, says the platform was started to fill a large gap in the market. Ms Phua Gajardo is also the CEO of online art gallery and consultancy The Artling.
"Within the team, we had individual and common interests in art, collectibles, watches, jewellery and furniture and, in our own way, had been struggling to find good quality secondary market items through other websites and garage sales. Even on existing online marketplaces, curation is often lacking and the discovery process can be tedious. We knew there had to be a better way," she says.
She adds that the team also knew of people who were art collectors who, after a while, had outgrown some of their pieces and wanted a quick and easy way to sell them to other like-minded collectors.
The items found on Luxglove.com fall under five categories - art, furniture, watches, collectibles and jewellery.
Ms Phua Gajardo notes that there are existing platforms out there for pre-loved fashion but there aren't many options for good quality lifestyle and collectible items.
"People often have beautiful, well-kept pieces at home that they have grown tired of, or they may want to clear space to make way for newer, different items. It is similar for watches and jewellery as tastes do change over time," she says.
"Our platform thus allows buyers and sellers to shop each other's collections and spaces, discover great pieces and get great bargains."
The items are sourced from private individuals/collectors and dealers/stores that may not have much of an online presence. She adds that the dealers/stores that they work with are typically established companies in Singapore which sell items within each of our categories.
"Most of them are more traditional brick-and-mortar stores and see the benefit of listing with us online, using Luxglove.com as an additional marketing and sales channel to reach new audiences," she says.
The team is strict about what goes on sale. For dealers/stores, the team visits all the stores personally and meet with the owners to understand their areas of expertise, and how they source for their items. Once the team has reviewed the dealers, the items the dealers upload on to the platform are mainly checked for item descriptions and photography quality.
Specifications or item descriptions and details have to be complete enough for the team to ensure that the item can be accurately described, so that potential buyers have a stronger sense of certainty about the item.
For branded and big ticket items, sellers are required to provide as much information as possible, for example, whether a watch has an accompanying original box and papers or not, so that the potential buyer can assess if the information is sufficient to make the purchase.
All listings are reviewed before they are uploaded to the website and app. "This ensures a certain level of quality control for the buyers, as well as gives sellers reassurance that their items will be presented in the best possible light - this is important to some sellers, to whom these items still hold sentimental value," explains Ms Phua Gajardo. Sellers pay a commission fee that varies between 3 and 15 per cent.
"We reserve the right to reject items where the images are of poor quality, or if we suspect that sellers are not being truthful about their items. All this is to ensure that buyers can make informed decisions before purchasing."
If your photography skills are not up to scratch, Luxglove.com offers a White Glove service, where they will even take photos of the products for sale for you. The White Glove service is currently free, for a limited time, for individuals or stores who have more than six items to list with Luxglove.com
The minimum price for anything sold on Luxglove.com is S$100, but the nature of the items for sale means many of them are going at five-figure prices.
Ms Phua Gajado is confident that customers are willing to buy expensive items online even without seeing them first.
"We are seeing major shifts in terms of online transaction levels and consumers ultimately have to trust the brand they are buying from. Items no longer need to be viewed in person," she says. "However, we do arrange for viewings if and when possible. Many times, our customers are short on time and would prefer to have the item delivered straight to their doorstep."
By Tay Suan Chiang
Makeover at a click
The Home Stylist
Tel: +852 2588 3536
THESE days, you can do pretty much anything without having to leave the house. What if we told you that you could even change the interiors of your home without needing to step outside?
Online consultancy service The Home Stylist started operations in Singapore earlier this month. What makes them different? Founder Alexandra Sheldon explains: "We go into peoples' homes and we work with what they already have. A lot of people don't know what they like, but they definitely know what they don't like. We help people style their houses with what they already have."
While she will be making trips to Singapore to conduct workshops and hold in-person meetings, the bulk of The Home Stylist's business will be carried out online. Clients seeking a change can snap a few photos of the offending rooms in their homes and send them via e-mail along with a questionnaire detailing their specific likes, and more importantly "concept words" to Ms Sheldon and her team.
She says: "We ask them to choose three to five concept words like 'comfortable', 'funky', or 'contemporary', and then based on those words, we send them a report with advice and suggestions quite quickly. It's then up to them when they want to implement it in their home. We find that it's a good approach for people living in places like Hong Kong and Singapore, where people lead very busy lives and don't want their personal space intruded upon."
If required, The Home Stylist will also consult over Skype or FaceTime so as to get a better feel of the place.
Ms Sheldon, a mother of three, started The Home Stylist in 2013 in Hong Kong. Having an extensive interior design background, she found herself inundated with pleas for help from her friends. "My friends would ask me to help them figure out what worked well in their homes, and being asked to do it numerous times showed me that there was obviously a market for it, and I decided to create an actual business," she says.
Having set up offices in Hong Kong and London, Ms Sheldon decided to expand her services to Singapore. She says: "I think the people in Singapore have similar problems with those in Hong Kong. They mainly rent property, and frequently move homes. It could be that they move five homes in a country with the same furniture over a period of time and they don't necessarily know how to place it, or how to update it to suit their new homes."
An army brat herself, Ms Sheldon has plenty of experience with relocating and the unavoidable organisational struggles that come with it.
The 47-year-old recalls: "When I was a child, we'd move house every two years from country to country. So it's not just my formal training in interior design that led me here. I think maybe because I was always in military housing, I learnt how to use the furniture again and again and make it work in different places."
In fact, she adds: "My sister's an interior designer too!"
By Avanti Nim