As the nation celebrates the 52nd anniversary of its independence, it’s a good time to find out what Singapore style is. We ask six talented local designers to share their unique interpretations of these familiar objects.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

As the nation celebrates the 52nd anniversary of its independence, it’s a good time to find out what Singapore style is. We ask six talented local designers to share their unique interpretations of these familiar objects.

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Working closely with many Singapore designers and Japanese craft facilities, Supermama is a gallery shop that curates, collects and produces giftware representing contemporary Singapore culture.

Souvenirs From Singapore (SS) is a label by Supermama designed for people who are living in or visiting Singapore. The collection from SS seeks to encapsulate one’s experience in Singapore, and its designs make it hard to resist bringing home a piece. This cup and saucer brings back memories of old HDB flats. While sipping coffee, spot the many things that Singaporeans place outside the apartment blocks’ long corridors!

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David Tham is the founder and creative director of Studio Norm Design Consultants, a firm that creates authentic and refined designs inspired by everyday living.

“As I contemplated the theme of ‘Creating the SG style’, it seemed that looking at magnificent architecture and structures, or cultures and characters of local living, were obvious sources of inspiration. But I wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on and appreciate what has laid the foundation for all of the above to prosper. 

“This design pays tribute to Singapore’s late founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew; using the black ribbon and its symbolism of remembrance and mourning, as a material to be applied to the structure of a lampshade with a weaving technique. The four main weaved strips contain per forations of Mr Lee’s four pillars of ideals in words. When light passes through, the words are cast onto the surface behind it.

“The lampshade and light’s overarching placement in a room serves as a metaphor of Mr Lee’s influence, presence and guidance. Happy National Day, and thank you, Mr Lee.”

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Local designer Mark Tay creates uniquely Singaporean pieces and is the founder of Onlewo and contemporary art space Flaneur Gallery. His work is often inspired by his personal experiences.

“Stirring up sweet memories of childhood, this design combines a dancing kueh pattern with the very popular tingkat, which my family used to collect kueh-kueh in for tea breaks. Inspired by the food heritage in Singapore, I created this design with my brilliant intern, Amelia Han from Lasalle College of the Arts, to wish our country another year of ‘abundance’ and ‘joy’!”

For readers who wish to own this piece of “ joy”, the limited-edition cushion cover is available for $85 per cover and is limited to 30 pieces. The fabric used on the front is linen cotton and a poly mix fabric in blue was used for the back. The cover measures 40cm by 65cm and has a five-week waiting time from placement of order.

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A multidisciplinary artist who is actively involved in the Singapore and international design scene, Casey Chen creates pieces with a story to tell, betting on novelty and fresh ideas.

“The design of the ‘Singlish Only A True Blue Singaporean Will Know’ thermoflask stems from wanting a more direct translation between the designs and how I see Singapore and Singaporeans. Not ever yone speaks Singlish, but being the author of two Singlish books led me to realise that it is widely known all over the world as a unique “language”. Hence, it brings a lot of laughter and joy in sharing and teasing at the same time. Enjoy, lah!”

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Growing up with diverse cultural influences, Jarrod Lim has worked for several big design houses worldwide and is the creative director of Hinika, where he creates personality-filled furnishings.

“I call my creation ‘the most treasured chair’. Cafe culture has changed worldwide. Whereas, previously, cafes were a place to have a cup of coffee and chat or read the newspaper, they are now used as external offices, facilitating meetings, blog updates, or for catching up on homework.

“And the most treasured seat in most cafes? It’s the one with a power point nearby. Local coffee shops have been less affected by this evolution, remaining much the same as they have over several decades. But even for people who cherish the atmosphere and traditions provided by the local kopitiam, the fear of a low batter y remains real.”

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Having created stage and graphic designs for 10 years, Mark Yong founded interior design firm Principles of Intelligent Urbanism (PIU Design), which also creates bespoke furnishings, with a vision of “form and function are one”.

“The iconic kopitiam chair is reinterpreted here as a bench that can be used in public spaces (like Orchard Road). The bench has a backrest that is taken from the kopitiam chair and is placed randomly to give it a modern ar tistic spin.

“For a fun, humorous touch, I added a graphic print of a tissue paper packet with the word “chope” on it, to reflect how Singaporeans have made ‘chope-ing” a uniquely Singapore culture – as a way to reser ve seats by placing tissue paper packets on tables or seats before ordering food.”