Proudly housing items from all over Europe and US with direct prices, the 8,000sqft showroom is filled with lively furnishing accessories and furniture. Including big name brands like Muuto, Diesel, Skitsch, Donna Wilson, Gubi, Jonathan Adler, Haans Lifestyle and Ferm Living, it aims to offer the local market stylish home furnishing products at reasonable prices.
Jean Wee, Group Design Director and CEO of Marquis, was also looking to fill a gap in the local furnishing scene with items from independent designers. “While travelling around Europe, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet these enterprising designers who look after the whole process from design to production and even sales, on their own or with a small 2-3 man team.”
Literally named “cottage industry” due to its nature of operating from home as opposed to being factory-based, it is a burgeoning industry in Europe with potential for growth. The designs are not mass-produced and usually handmade, thus while only available in small quantities, they are unique and personal. Brands like eponymous Mariska Meijers or Ella Doran, and Woouf, are just some of the independent designers that are represented exclusively in Singapore at The Design Store.
“They produce items based on their passion, for instance, Mariska is a graphic artist who developed her projects into cushions. I think it is inspiring that regardless of any discipline one is in, you can use those ideas to formulate a product for end consumers”, Jean says.
On opening night, guests arrived to the beat of indie-rock music, popcorn, and beers as the sun was setting. It was shortly followed with the rumble of an entourage of 25 bikers on their Harley Davidsons, riding down the slope with headlights flashing an coming to an impressive halt at the entrance of The Design Store. Armed with studded leather jackets, gloves and aviators, it took many by surprise and awe.
Lawrence Yong, Business Development Manager for Lifestorey, and who put the showroom together from scratch, welcomed guests with a short speech, introducing guest-of-honour, Dan Takiar Peterson, International Sales Manager for Muuto, and various other partners. “After months of hard work, we are truly proud to be able to put together all these wonderful items. I don’t want people to just come into our store looking for a plate, and then buy a plate. I want them to come looking for a plate, and then discover plates with hand-painted cat whiskers, or plates with a baby’s face. It would be gratifying if their choices multiplied, and their perspective broadened,” he said.
Bringing together a wealth of styles in a kaleidoscopic fashion, the showroom proudly displays the colourful, the cheerful, and the expressive. Lively shapes, fruity pastel tones and romantic details that take on a modern look. Dream-like motifs featuring vegetables and fruit, drawings, embroidery and paintings are juxtaposed with graphically stylised patterns.
Signature pieces from key brand Diesel translated its rock ’n’ roll fashion outlook into furniture with studded belts looped around stools or used as a hanger for round mirrors, or coffee tables emblazoned with photo negatives of DJ turntables. Muuto, another key brand, melds their Nordic sensibility with classic design, striking a balance between the elegant and the rustic. Award-winning items like their wood lamp, split table or nerd chair choose recycled raw materials and reworked classic pieces, showcasing desires for quality and durability.
Hand-sewn vegetable shaped plushies and pastel painted plates of faces from Donna Wilson add a touch of whimsy, while Forestier lights made of cloth and shaped like lanterns illuminate from the ceilings; Stripes and Vichy checks adorn surfaces, perforation patterns, silhouettes, and little flowers exude a tongue-in-cheek charm, and all combine into a fantastical mixture of creativity.
Keeping to the evening’s theme of Colour Me Playful, Atlas displayed their latest Loewe TV sets of various bright colours around the store which matched the equally colourful furnishing items. One of the highlights of the evening was a fashion show from Bread&Butter presenting their latest Spring/Summer 2013 collections from international brands under their umbrella.
Throughout the evening, there was also a photo contest where guests were encouraged to snap pictures with any item in the store in a most creative way and post it onto Lifestorey’s facebook page. Many had a good laugh posing in various ways around the furniture settings while some guests also mingled outside to enjoy the food and beers.
Towards the end, prizes from Bread&Butter were given to the Top 3 best dressed, and $100 gift vouchers from The Design Store awarded to the 3 most creative photos. Some not only walked away with prizes but also purchases as there were also very attractive in-store specials only on opening night.
On the forefront of design, The Design Store by Lifestorey aims to inspire the modern homeowner when all things that are beautiful are put into place.