Local Creators Who Put The "You" In Unique

Life at work may call for a certain uniformity, but at home and at play, why settle for IKEA or clothes from high-street fashion chains? Challenge highlights local craftspeople and artists who put the “personal” in personal belongings.

Charm and Craft

Clockwise from top left: A “midcentury modern” armchair upholstered with custom ’70s retro style prints, shelving and a TV console — all in solid teak.

Noticing that people were increasingly inspired by and purchasing furniture they see on the Internet, Sharifah Maznah Syed Omar founded Second Charm. By offering bespoke pieces, she also helps buyers avoid high shipping costs. You can choose from the type of wood used — solid teak, ashwood, oak or mahogany — to the finishing, and the fabrics for the upholstery. Prices range from $150 for a stool to $1,500 for a dining table. Restoration works for old pieces are also possible. Chances are, you’ve seen her work in hipster cafes here.

Take note!


Craft your own luxury notebooks at bookbinding atelier Bynd Artisan. You can choose your front and back covers, binding, paper type and from a range of embellishments, such as rubber band closures and leather straps. The craftsmen will put your notebook together in just 30 minutes. The customisation costs $20 — and for $10 more, you can even get your name hot-stamped onto the cover.

Heavy Metal

Clockwise from top left: A table with skateboard seat benches, an Edison light in a “cage” lamp housing and custom shelving for newlyweds.

Fancy the rugged industrial-chic look? Get your space customised by Peng Handcrafted. Peng, the founder, says he adds value by integrating features, such as lighting on a dining table or built-in power points, to give each piece a touch of quirk while serving practical needs. As a bonus, materials such as Chengal timber from scrapped lorries in Singapore and industrial pipes are often reused. Prices range from $480 for a dining bench to $1,100 for a bookshelf.

Scissors, Paper, Art


Decorate your walls with some cut paper art! Beatrice Ng, the artist behind DA MI (打米), specialises in paper cut-out art of local architecture. She has a fondness for old local buildings and heritage, which is why her designs feature traditional shophouses and the older high-rise HDB flats. These delightfully intricate art can come in the form of prints, postcards, stickers and even bookmarks — ranging from $45 for an A5-sized piece to $450 for an A1-sized piece.

Jars of clay


Inspired by their Christian faith and the beauty of nature, the husband-and-wife team behind Studio Asobi takes pride in customising delicate ceramic cups, plates, vases and other tableware to fit each client’s home. As an added benefit, 20% of their profits are donated to Mercy Centre to help the homeless in Singapore. Each commissioned project starts from about $200, depending on the complexity and number of items in each set.

Imitation of Life


Mural artist Yip Yew Chong believes that murals tell stories of the places they are in, adding life and character to each space. Armed with water-resistant emulsion paints and acrylics, he draws inspiration from memories of the past to create beautiful and realistic life-size scenery on walls. So if you’re wondering what to do with a blank garden wall facing the road, you know who to call. A wall of about 3 metres by 2 metres will cost $2,000 to $3,000.

Of mermaids and men

Ly’s art often features characters that resemble the people who commission her art or elements that are significant to them.

Jazz up your walls with a family portrait or a mural. Artist Ly Yeow has a distinctly whimsical style, inspired by the ocean and mermaids. While some portraits can be completed in just 20 minutes, more detailed pieces can take longer as she incorporates the personal stories of the people pictured. Prices depend on the complexity of the pieces.

In her shoes


If you have awkward-sized feet or general difficulty finding a comfy pair of shoes, Rosie Leong is the lady to meet. Sympathetic to different foot shapes and lifestyle needs, she customises each pair to fit your requirements. Each pair of shoes is made of sheep or calf leather, and meticulously sewn by experienced craftsmen. Prices range from $130 to $200.

Truly, madly, deeply


For a unique piece of jewellery like no other, visit private jewellers Maddy Barber (the radio DJ) and her team of designers. Working only with 18k gold and the finest grade gemstones, they transform your ideas into dazzling pieces of statement jewellery to suit your personal style and budget. The crafting process takes four to eight weeks and the price varies with each piece, so it can be as high, or perhaps as low, as you like.

Hard Rocks


The ready-made wire-art jewellery pieces by Hadasity are already one of a kind, but you can also choose to create an extra-special piece and let the wire-artists tell your story with eclectic colourful rings, necklaces, brooches and cuffs. Customising charges are added on top of the usual price of a ready-made piece and range from an additional $80 for a necklace to an extra $50 for everything else.

Beautiful Imperfection


FIN Crafted Goods specialises in the Boro technique, a Japanese method of repairing clothing by patching the worn out areas with scraps of fabric. The final piece is sometimes slightly rough and irregular — which, according to founder Fahmy Ishak, is a form of wabi-sabi, the Japanese concept for beauty through imperfection. The price of a boro tote bag could start from around $250, with the price varying based on the items upcycled.

Scents and sensibility

Purchasing perfume usually does not begin with a personality test, but at Je t’aime Perfumery, that’s exactly what you’ll do. After identifying your perfume category (citrus, fresh, floral, woody or oriental), you can then choose from more than 300 ingredients to create a scent that is uniquely yours. A private session goes at $125 per person for a 105ml bottle of personalised perfume.
    Sep 1, 2016
    Fiona Liaw
    Respective Business
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