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5 Bespoke Shops in Singapore

Cookie-cutter pieces begone. GRACE MA uncovers bespoke buys in Singapore that will make your home look like a temple of modern art and design.

Published on Nov 29, 2016


BIG BRANDS MAY be stamping their mark in Singapore with flagship stores, but the real retail renegades are independent labels that have been capturing the hearts and wallets of savvy collectors with designs that reflect artisanal craftsmanship and a twist on traditional Asian motifs. Instead of items that shout out a social status, these pièces du jour tell stories of culture and tradition while showcasing techniques that have been revered through time. From Burmese-inspired leather bomber jackets to limited-edition ceramic plates imprinted with Singapore icons, here are five boutiques to check out for the next conversation starter in your wardrobe and home.



You'll have to help your dinner guests discern what is edible with Atomi's contemporary kitchen and tableware. Brass trivets, cocktail picks and bottle-openers take on the forms of onion cross-sections, apple stems and lotus-root slices so pretty that eating may have to wait until after all the Instagrams have abated. Spurred by a passion for Japanese artisanal craftsmanship and the desire to make everyday living "more comfortable, stylish and pleasant," Singaporean Andrew Tan and his Japanese wife Mitsuko curate items so unusual that you would be hard pressed to find some of them in even the quirkiest shops in Japan, Andrew says. 

A lotus-root bottle-opener from Atomi. Courtesy of Atomi.



Chin Chelliah Bottinelli hung up her advertising hat to chase a childhood dream of owning her own interior design business when she opened the 28-square-meter Asiatique Collection back in 1998, in then-emerging hipster 'hood Dempsey Hill. Her spot-on aesthetic instincts quickly made her a favorite among a well-traveled clientele. The store has now grown into a 465-square-meter treasure trove of mantelpiece stunners ranging from platinum and marble snake bookends to handcrafted malachite plates from Portugal. To elevate your next flower arrangement with a little Southeast Asian flavor, opt for the Pointillist Vessel (S$1,490) from Thailand, which replicates the texture of the native jackfruit in hand-cast bronze. 

Asiatique CollectionsJackfruit-inspired vase from Asiatique Collections. Courtesy of Asiatique Collections.



I am woman, hear me roar. There is nothing dainty in Singaporean street-luxe label Chi Chi Von Tang, by online independent label retailer Gnossem's founder Lisa Crosswhite. Her signature Warrior Bomber jackets silhouette is offered in sleek camo and bold prints of the traditional Chinese emperor jacket and the elegant cheongsam (S$475). Tribal designs, creamy cupro fabric, rustic-colored silks and highly textured linen rule the Fall/Winter 2016 Burma collection came to the store in August, reflecting the impact of Crosswhite's recent trip to the Kayah State of Burma with National Geographic photographers Noelia Madiedo and Jens Uwe Parkitny. "I was struck by how proud, open-hearted and strong the women were. I loved how they represented another concept of beauty and style." Go ahead, all you badass babes, be the bomb. 

Chi Chi Von Tang
Tribal jacket by Chi Chi Von Tang. Courtesy of Chi Chi Von Tang.



Carolyn Kan has focused on Singaporean designers and artisans under Keepers showcases and popup stores since September 2011, while developing her own playful creations for her Carrie K. Artisan Jewellery atelier. "I want to build a community that brings together independent designers, artists and artisans," she says, "with people who value unique design and time taken to make things well." In May 2016, Keepers found a permanent home in the National Design Centre as Keepers XVI: Home Is Where the Heart Is, where visitors can sample selected local brands and meet the brains behind the bronze…and silks and leathers and porcelains. Take home memories of iconic heritage 'hoods such as Chinatown and Little India encapsulated in labels Binary Style's limited-edition polyester and silk chiffon scarves (from S$65) and Onlewo's new fabric placemats (S$48 for two) and coasters (S$20 for a set of four).



Here's your quintessential store for products that pump with artisanal and patriotic pride. Industrial designer and owner Edwin Low came up with the name Supermama in an homage to his wife's unhesitating yes to the question of starting a business right after their second child was born, and adopted the logo from a midnight doodling session with his elder child. Low is personal friends with the designer behind each collection, and his talented social circle is the lifeblood powering this hub of contemporary Singaporean cultural gifts. The 2016 edition of the Singapore Architecture ceramic plate (S$24 for a 15-centimeter plate), which landed in stores in September 2016, is a sure-fire-hit souvenir.

A plate by Supermama shows iconic architecture along the Singapore River. Courtesy of Supermama.



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Supermama's flagship store on Beach Road. Courtesy of Supermama.
  • Supermama's flagship store on Beach Road. Courtesy of Supermama.
  • A scroll by calligraphy artist Suisen Nakatani, sold at Atomi. Courtesy of Atomi.
  • Brass apple stem cocktail picks from Atomi.
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