One-Seat Wonder: The Iconic Kopitiam Stool

The nondescript kopitiam plastic stool is a surprise find at a new exhibition to celebrate local design from the past five decades.
Who would have thought that the humble kopitiam plastic stool would join the ranks of iconic Singapore design? Fellow stars include Her World, the first English language women’s magazine published here in the 1960s, and Pearl Bank Apartments, built on a hill in Outram and once Singapore’s tallest residential building. Local company Singaplastics produced the UNICA plastic stool in the 1990s, in a tie-up with industrial designer Chew Moh-Jin. These lightweight yet sturdy stools were specially designed for kopitiams – at the end of the day, the stools can be stacked and secured with a chain through the hole in the centre of the seat. Today, these stools have gone from coffee shops and void decks to being used as architectural building blocks, in one of two winning designs for the 2014 ArchiFest Pavilion (pictured). In a show of versatility, 4,000 red and white stools were arranged to form the pavilion’s walls. So the next time you sit on this distinctive piece of product design, take a closer look and admire its features.
    Mar 18, 2015
    Siti Maziah Masramli
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