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The Prodigious Savant
Scotts Square, #03-11
Exhibition on till Oct 2, opening hours: Mon to Thurs, 11.30am to 8.30pm, Fri to Sun, 11am to 8.30pm
IN 2014, British autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire went on a helicopter ride over the Singapore CBD, and then reproduced what he saw based on his photographic memory. The 4m-by-1m canvas of the Singapore skyline is now on permanent display at the Urban Redevelopment Authority's Singapore City Gallery.
The work was commissioned by Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) as part of the See The Big Picture project to mark its 30th anniversary in 2014, and as a gift to Singapore for the nation's 50th birthday last year.
Fans of Mr Wiltshire will now be able to view and purchase drawings that he has done of other landmarks in Singapore, in an exhibition curated by design firm Kinetic Singapore at their K+ gallery.
The drawings are done in Mr Wiltshire's instantly recognisable, inimitable style. Carolyn Teo, co-founder of Kinetic Singapore says, "The first time Stephen came to Singapore in 2014, he drew our city from above. This time, we want his unique perspective on buildings significant to us - a more up-close and intimate portrait of Singapore architecture."
Ms Teo says her team gave Mr Wiltshire 20 places in Singapore for him to consider drawing. "His sister showed him our deck which contained photo references and left him to draw from what he saw," says Ms Teo. For his new Singapore landmark series, Mr Wiltshire drew Reflections at Keppel Bay condominium, National Gallery Singapore, Raffles Hotel, Victoria Theatre, Chijmes and Fullerton Hotel. These pieces are all for sale for from S$12,800.
The Marina Bay skyline must have left a big impression on Mr Wiltshire for him to draw it once more for this new exhibition, based on the memory of his helicopter ride. The Marina Bay skyline piece is retailing for S$85,000.
The exhibition also features Mr Wiltshire's works of other cities such as Manhattan, Shanghai, Las Vegas and Detroit. These pieces are also for sale from S$8,000.
"Stephen is not just an extraordinary artist, his personal story is just as remarkable," says Ms Teo. ""To us, the exhibition is not only a showcase of his phenomenal talent, it shows just how much we can achieve and overcome if we are passionate about something."
Eck&Art Design Studio
WHAT do you notice when you drive along Bukit Timah Road? Most people would be too busy watching the traffic ahead. But for Swiss expatriate Isabella Eckart, it is the hexagon-shaped glass on the overhead bridge at Tan Kah Kee Station that always catches her eye.
So fascinated is she by the distinctive design that she even created a poster of it. Depicting the bridge with the words "Visit Bukit Timah Road", it's one of many Singapore-centric posters designed by the founder of Eck&Art Design Studio.
The mother of three young children says that Eck&Art grew organically. She started with typographic canvases that customers could personalise with their choice of words.
Besides the personalised canvases, she also produces three types of posters: Vintage-style travel posters, minimalist architectural styles and other Singapore-themed prints. These prints retail from S$69.
Apart from the Bukit Timah Road poster, she has also designed one for the Bayfront area, East Coast, Jurong and Orchard Road. "Our travel poster prints come about quite spontaneously. It depends on what idea comes to mind," she says. The process involves her visiting a particular spot and taking photographs, before she does a sketch. The illustration is then refined into a poster.
For her architectural series, she's designed posters that show Singapore's iconic buildings, such as black-and-white houses and shophouses. "I've always been interested in design, mostly fashion design and photography," says Ms Eckart, although her background is in management consulting, marketing and branding.
Her vintage-style travel posters have been most popular, in particular, the East Coast and Bukit Timah prints. "I want to provide something that communicates an emotion," says Ms Eckart.
"Many customers buy these prints for sentimental value because it reminds them of a place or experience in Singapore. Many of our expat customers buy them as presents for themselves or others."
Having lived in Singapore for six years, Ms Eckart says she has a special connection with her adopted home. "Life in a city like Singapore becomes more normal for people like me who were raised in a more rural part of the world. But I definitely love being in a city which is vibrant and where everything is close by," she says.
"Singapore is definitely a very special city and I love the fact that even if I might move some time again, I will always have a connection with Singapore and I can't wait to see what great things the Little Red Dot will achieve in the future."
Metro Meets Japan
Metro, The Centrepoint
Till Oct 2
FROM now till Oct 2, it'll be hard to tell if you're shopping in Metro Singapore or a department store in Ginza.
Across all six floors of Metro Centrepoint, there is an unending display of Japanese products ranging from food and toys to cosmetics, kimonos and even furniture.
Over the next three weekends, shoppers get to indulge in sake tastings, tea and origami workshops held in the store.
Metro Meets Japan is a collaboration between the store and IPPIN to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Japan and Singapore. IPPIN is a group that supports Japanese SMEs which are keen to export their products to South-east Asia.
"Our products are from SMEs which are rarely seen or talked about in Singapore," says Ayumi Fujishiro, marketing manager of IPPIN.
They include a one-of-a-kind Uchikake kimono, which is a formal kimono worn by a bride or for a stage performance. The heavy brocade Uchikake is worn like a coat. The kimono is on sale for S$23,250.
If that seems a tad impractical, you can settle for an Uchikake partition for a mere S$11,907. On the food front, IPPIN will tempt you with quirky snacks like Bread in a Can, which is literally just that. Sake fans can also purchase fruit and yogurt sakes.
Erwin Oei, head of business analytics at Metro explains that this campaign will expose more shoppers to gain insights into Japan and its rich traditions. "At the same time, we want to also reach out to the Japanese population and let them know that Metro is now a go-to spot for their Japanese buys."
Besides IPPIN, lifestyle products from atomi will be on sale at Metro. atomi, a specialist boutique dedicated to Japanese designs is a natural choice to showcase its products for this event, says its founder Andrew Tan.
For Metro meets Japan, atomi will retail everything from vintage stationery and calligraphy-inspired artworks to old-fashioned whisky glasses. Mr Tan says that these items have been specially curated to showcase the strong collaborations between Singapore, through retailers such as itself and Metro, and brands from Japan, such as Nissin, Hirota and HideTide. Over on Level 5, Actus furniture makes a comeback in Singapore through atomi.
"We believe Metro Meets Japan will provide a wider reach for atomi. In turn, shoppers get to experience something new and unique," says Mr Tan.
Supermama Porcelain Festival
Supermama Gillman Barracks, 47 Malan Road
Supermama Flagship store, 265 Beach Road
From Sept 16 to Oct 31
FOR most Asians, porcelain ware - as in the everyday household kind - has a functional appeal to it. You eat from it, use it, but nobody really goes gaga about the craftsmanship behind it. At least, not like the Japanese, who pride themselves on just about everything they make and do. And when it comes to porcelain, it can be a near spiritual art form.
Over the years, Singapore-based crafts store, Supermama, has tried to bridge the gap, with its series of Singapore Icons plates with Japanese ceramics company Kihara Inc. The tableware series featured familiar motifs such as Housing Board flats, the Tembusu tree and the Merlion. Now, it is organising the first Supermama Porcelain Festival. Edwin Low, founder of Supermama, was so inspired by the annual Arita Ceramic Festival that he decided on a Singapore version. During the Arita Ceramic Featival in Japan, tens of thousands of Japanese from all over the country throng the town in Nishimatsuura District, Saga Prefecture, just for porcelain homeware. "I hope to create that same craze in Singapore," he says. "I want to create a platform where ceramists, or designers who work with ceramics, can come together and launch a collection and showcase their works to a bigger audience."
The festival will also give Singaporeans a chance to see the works of renowned porcelain-makers from Arita, which has a 400-year history of producing porcelain. To celebrate its anniversary, works from seven kilns representing the regions of Arita, Imari and Ureshino will be presented at the festival.
In addition, there will also be works presented by Singaporean and Asian ceramic artists, including Weekend Worker, Pottery Jungle and Monkey and Donkey.
A special exhibition of the festival is Vessels, curated by design firm &Larry. Vessels is a collaboration between five Singaporean designers and Kihara. Besides &Larry, the other participating designers are Holycrap, Koh Hong Teng, Phunk Studio and Theseus Chan.
Larry Peh, founder of &Larry, says the brief to the designers was an open one, and he encouraged them to push boundaries. For Holycrap, which comprises creative personality Pann Lim and his family, their creation is not quite your run-of-the-mill pretty vase.
The family drew inspiration from a note that daughter Aira wrote, which said: "This is stupidity, why this horrible fate, humanity? The answer to this question is we have doomed ourselves. Oh Mother Nature, grateful for what glorious greenery but look at how we are repaying you."
Their vase, titled Men's Debt, has a crying face on it, with the letters RIP.
Mr Lim says that vases have always been viewed as a container of sorts for beautiful objects such as flowers, or on its own, as a vessel of exquisite beauty.
"With the vessel as a symbol of Mother Earth, our kids, Renn and Aira have painted her as a despairing and sorrowful mother, decaying and forlorn. And within holds earth's remains, turning the once beautiful vessel into an urn," he says.
Only 10 of these vases have been made, and they are retailing from S$6,000.
ARTISANAL SWEET SPOT
Marou & Co Chocolates
Gallery & Co, 1 St Andrew's Rd, National Gallery
WHO buys chocolate from an art gallery gift shop? You would, if they're made by Marou & Co, which are certainly a level or two ahead of your garden variety Cadbury bar.
Sold at Gallery & Co - the retail store at the National Gallery Singapore - the chocolates are a collaboration between three companies across two countries: Gallery & Co; Rice Creative, a multi-disciplinary creative agency based in Saigon; and Marou Faiseurs de Chocolat, a Vietnam-based French chocolate company that uses handpicked beans grown by small Vietnamese farms.
These exclusive chocolate bars come with packing inspired by the architectural elements of the Gallery.
The artisanal chocolates come in a pack of three, and each bar is packaged in wrappers that are meticulously crafted using the traditional Vietnamese technique of Dong Ho printing, where organic paints are first applied on engraved woodblocks and later hand-pressed on paper to imprint the elaborate designs.
The chocolates come in three flavours and designs, but all have 65 per cent single origin dark chocolate as their base. The packaging on the Signature bar was inspired by the square tiles that are distinctive of the Gallery.
The Chili bar has a spicy hit that complements the bitterness of the chocolate. The packaging here has red tree trunks on it, inspired by the tree-like structures found in the Gallery.
Sea salt flavours the third bar, which has tiny flakes added to accentuate the rich chocolate flavour. The packaging for this bar has prints of blue and white ovals on it, meant to mimic the dappled rays of sunlight that run across the atrium of the Gallery. Kola Luu, director of partnership development at the Gallery says: "This 'delectable' project is a perfect marriage between the art and heritage of our Gallery and the creative ingenuity of Rice Creative and Marou Chocolate in Vietnam." He adds that the artisanal chocolates - from its bespoke ingredients to its locally sourced design packaging - is a reflection of what the Gallery embodies and represents in its collection, that of South-east Asia.