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Haus of Egg3
164 East Coast Road
Opening hours: Tues to Sun, 11am to 8pm
WHAT do people head out to the East Coast for? Katong laksa, old-school confectionery at Chin Mee Chin, cycling at East Coast Park? Now, you can add homeware shopping to the list.
Lifestyle brand Egg3 recently opened its new flagship store at East Coast Road, housed in a two-storey conservation shophouse. Founder Mike Tan has called the shop Haus of Egg3, and rightly so. Stepping into the space, is like entering someone's home. There are lots of items around, but with warm lighting, the cosiness of the space can clearly be felt. Mr Tan also kept the ceiling, flooring and wall tiles found in the house.
"I spend so much time here, I could be living here too," quips Mr Tan.
He also has three other Egg3 shops around Singapore. The first store at Erskine Road is more fashion-centric. The Orchard Central store leans towards fashion accessories, while the third at 112 Katong is an eclectic mix of fashion, homeware and gift accessories.
Haus of Egg3 carries the widest range of homeware of all its outlets. "Finally, we have a space to house the bigger items," says Mr Tan.
The front of Haus still carries a small range of local fashion labels such as Max.Tan, Ginlee, Weekend Sundries, Pearly Wong, AKA Wayward and shoes from Leather Lab and Walk & Rest.
The rest of the space is dedicated to all things for the home, such as a range of home fragrances from renowned Italian brand Culti.
There are two bedrooms upstairs, and one has been turned into a retail space that resembles an art gallery. Artworks adorn the walls, alongside casually placed stools, benches and standing lamps. It all looks very haphazardly placed but Mr Tan points out that a lot of thought went into displaying the products. "I want to make the space look like it belongs in a home, rather than the sterile feel of a typical furniture showroom," he says. "The display also gives shoppers ideas on how they can style their own homes."
Everything in the shophouse, down to the wall lights along the staircase and the display cabinets, is for sale.
In a second bedroom, Mr Tan displays goods from Danish brand Norrmade, which Egg3 distributes exclusively in Singapore. The range of products have clean lines, typical of Nordic design, and are highly functional. The Rake Hangar is one such example. It looks like the conventional garden tool, but when mounted on the wall, it becomes an offbeat hangar for scarfs and belts.
Another key piece is the Hang Sitt Stool. Not only is it comfortable to sit on when putting on shoes, but its stick-like back is handy for hanging jackets and bags.
At the back on the second storey is what Mr Tan calls the garden room filled with quirky home accessories, such as vases, moss balls and plenty of artificial flowers. Mr Tan often dresses up showflats for clients, and had trouble finding artificial flowers that looked pretty. "The ones that are in the market aren't that great, so I decided to bring my own instead," he says.
Most of the items in the shop are sourced from China and Thailand.
While Haus of Egg3 is a retail space, Mr Tan doesn't rule out working with creative folks on holding workshops. "A floral artist came in recently and bought a lot of the artificial flowers, and we tossed up the idea of having her hold a floral arrangement workshop here," he says.
Since its opening a week ago, Mr Tan has received feedback from his regulars who are pleased that Egg3 is back in the East. Mr Tan used to have a shop in Joo Chiat Road, amid karaoke joints, but closed after he found the location less than ideal.
"I'm excited about Egg3 being in the East Coast again. Hopefully, we will be able to provide a different experience in the area," he says.
By Tay Suan Chiang
Opening hours: Sun to Wed, 11am to 10pm, Thurs to Sat, 11am to 10.30pm
THE newly opened multi-brand lifestyle shop, WEEKENDS, is hard to miss. Its store facade is made up of numerous wooden apothecary drawers with vintage finishing. Step inside, and its multi-coloured range of products instantly grabs attention. It is the kind of store that you can browse in with no intention of buying, yet end up leaving with bags of cute and quirky items.
WEEKENDS is like the cousin of MONOYONO, the popular chain of lifestyle shop. But whereas MONOYONO caters to both male and female shoppers, as well as kids and adults, WEEKENDS is meant for women aged from 18 to 45. Benny Low, managing director of Trendspot, the company behind WEEKENDS and MONOYONO says, "this group of shoppers is our biggest market, and we want to have a shop that caters solely to them."
The name WEEKENDS, he says, is because "we are always looking forward to the weekend".
WEEKENDS brings together 14 international lifestyle brands from Europe and the United States, with items ranging from gifts and designer stationery, jewellery and accessories, fragrances, and soft home furnishings such as wall art and print, designer tableware and lights.
Out of 14 brands, 12 are new and exclusive to WEEKENDS. Brokis, from the Czech Republic, produces glass lighting made using traditional Bohemian glass-blowing methods. WEEKENDS sells its Memory Balloon lamps, which resemble balloons that have floated to the ceiling.
There is also Fiorelli, from the UK, which specialises in stylish costume jewellery pieces, such as statement necklaces and sparkly bracelets.
Also from the UK is Gary Birks Designs. A ceramic artist, Birks has worked with names such as Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Gordon Ramsay and Vera Wang. His passion for design and ceramics led him to create his own mug range. His Damn Good Mugs range are sold at WEEKENDS. "The mugs, in particular, the one that says, I'm So Damn Grumpy, is a bestseller," quips Mr Low.
With the trend in brides now wanting to do their wedding decorations themselves, WEEKENDS has also set aside a corner catering to them. Its range of fun and quirky wedding and party accessories are from UK brand Ginger Ray, such as its gold cake toppers, buntings, wedding flags and tissue paper pompoms. On the beauty front, there is Royal Apothic, one of the fastest growing beauty and fragrance brands in the US. Its range of perfumes, lip balms and scented hand creams are available here. "The perfumes have been selling very well," says Mr Low.
Just like at MONOYONO, WEEKENDS will also stock the Kate Spade New York range of stationery and gifts, as well as the Ban.do range of accessories, notebooks and pouches.
The floor space at WEEKENDS is not big but it sure packs in lots. "We want to create an inimitable retail space that encapsulates the state of excitement and joy associated with the anticipation of weekends," says Mr Low.
Judging by the number of happy shoppers that walked out of the store during our visit, no longer do we need to wait till the weekend to indulge in some good retail therapy.
112 Katong, #03-04/05 Tel 6443 0658
Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 11.30am to 9pm, Sat, Sun, and PH, 10.30am to 9pm
FROM sofa manufacturing and specialising in B2B sales, homegrown company HTL International has recently taken the plunge into the retail space with its first pop-up concept store HomesToLife Pop-Up. This 4,000-plus square foot space opened at 112 Katong earlier this month, and will stay until at least August this year, in anticipation of their flagship outlet opening at Mohamed Sultan.
The pop-up store carries at least 10 different brands including Fabbrica, Domicil and kokunn which are owned by parent company HTL International, as well as imported European brands such as Universo Positivo, Serax and Notre Monde.
Products on display range from a luxurious hand-embroided Domicil Alfred armchair (from S$10,280), to contemporary metal sculptures by Italian designer Antonino Sciortino of Serax (from S$69.95), to lightbulb-shaped vases that come in various sizes (from S$11.95).
Phua Bo Wen, senior manager of Trends Furniture Pte Ltd - the retail arm of the HTL Group, says: "Our products are targeted at customers who are graduating from knock-down furniture. They are homeowners looking for more serious but still affordable furniture pieces. So what we offer is a breadth of design and a range of prices." Walking into HomesToLife Pop-Up, you will notice that the store is bright and warm, plus the absence of a glass facade keeps it open and inviting. A small in-house cafe sits at the corner to serve a small but satisfactory menu of drinks and snacks meant for customers in need of a break in-between discussions over which grade of leather they want their new sofa to come in.
It's all focused on customer service and experience, says Mr Phua, who is the son of one of the company's three founders. He adds that this new HomesToLife concept is HTL's response to a need to evolve and stay relevant, by "having a retail presence (that) allows us to be closer to the customers."
Walking around the store, Mr Phua enthusiastically points out his favourite items on display, including a collection of stylish metal trays by Belgian company Notre Monde that are hung up as decorative wall pieces.
He says: "People like things that are versatile because they have limited space in their homes, so one piece of furniture needs to be in a variety of locations.
"You can display it as potential storage, part of a dining room set, or sitting in isolation by the window as a place for you to relax. Here, we try to show customers the different ways they can use our products."
By Rachel Loi
Barcelona Transgressive Designers
National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road
THE Spanish city of Barcelona is not only culturally rich, but has a lively design scene as well. An upcoming exhibition at the National Design Centre to showcase works by some of Barcelona's leading designers attests to that.
The works that will be featured cover a wide range from accessories, jewellery, and bags to decorative items and ceramics.
Art director and designer Eva Riu, who is also the show's curator says Barcelona has a long history of design and handcrafting. "Now there is a new generation that appreciates handmade and innovative design," she says. "I thought this is a very good concept to bring to Singapore. We should share our culture to enrich other cultures in order to create good design."
On the exhibition's title, Ms Riu says the word "transgressive" describes works that do not follow standard design trends.
She cites the example of the Vaho brand of bags, which are made from event banners hung on Barcelona's street lamps, which are now upcycled into new carriers.
To make the exhibition more appealing to the general public, many of the products shown in the exhibition will be available for sale at kapok, the lifestyle store inside the National Design Centre. "Design always has function and purpose as a foundation, and you can't fully experience design without experiencing function and purpose," says Ms Riu.
Some of the pieces that will be on sale include ceramics from Silbando Bajito, which come handpainted with vibrant colours and cute illustrations. There are also wooden plates from Mediodesign, a creative consultancy that combines design, craftsmanship, research and technology.
Fashion-wise, look out for handmade statement necklaces from jewellery designer Amalia Vermell, as well as pretty straw hats, by [eliurpi], a label founded by designer Elizabeth Urpi, whose pieces also have floral elements in them.
Ms Riu adds, "Making items available for anyone to buy, means making design available to everyone to experience fully."
By Tay Suan Chiang