At Goni Room, common items like stainless steel spoons or ceramic pots may go for $7-$20 each. More unique wares could be $13-$30 each.
In Singapore’s early days, most of us were poor. It was then that we had little, and recycling and upcycling were ways of life. Now that we are a ﬁrst-world nation, we have ﬁrst world problems like mass consumption, valuing only the new and the latest.
Local collective Goni Room, started in January this year by founders Souﬁ A’aliyah, 24, and Aﬁq Ayub, 33 (both pictured above), is trying to change that mindset.
“We started Goni Room to reconnect with the world,” says Souﬁ. “We want to discourage blind consumerism and encourage people to give thrown-aways a second look.”
Operating through Instagram account @goni_room, their tightly curated inventory of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is a vintage trove of the practical (unused matches, gold-hued heart-shaped spoons, bronze bottle openers with animal motifs, pots with angel wings) and the collectible (a melodica from Kyoto, a box of photo slides of other people’s memories) from different eras.
Unlike secondhand stores where products are altered or ﬁxed, Goni Room’s are sold in their original state – not a single scratch is buffed out and no dull silverware is polished – because Souﬁ and Aﬁq want you to like the item for what it is.
To keep things varied and unique, the duo spend most of their time combing void decks and beaches for “trash” and foraging yard sales and thrift stores for the super one-ofa-kind. Some of their ﬁnds come from as far away as Glasgow.
Aﬁq also runs woodworking lessons for turning all the driftwood they collect into wooden cutlery.
So far, millennials and vintage collectors have been keeping them busy, and they have to replenish their ﬁnds every three to four weeks.
“Goni Room will always be a home for rejects,” says Aﬁq. “Living in a city where things get replaced so fast, unique and handmade products have become overshadowed by mass-produced ones. We aspire to be the balance. We are determined to make SG a better place.” – HT
PHOTOGRAPHY VERONICA TAY STYLING SHAN