Design collective Keepers finds home at National Design Centre

Keepers’ latest installation, Keepers XVI: Home Is Where The Heart Is, will feature Singapore-inspired works by eight local designers.
Keepers’ latest installation, Keepers XVI: Home Is Where The Heart Is, will feature Singapore-inspired works by eight local designers. PHOTO: SHADY REPUBLIC

The home-grown design collective's move to National Design Centre makes Singaporean products more accessible to customers

Local design collective Keepers has found a permanent home at the National Design Centre.

It previously occupied a pop-up space in Orchard Green, at the junction of Cairnhill and Orchard Road, for 16 months until January this year.

The collective's latest installation, Keepers XVI: Home Is Where The Heart Is, is set to debut at its new home tomorrow and will feature eight local designers, whose works are inspired by Singaporean culture.

Shoppers can expect vibrant scarves from Binary Style, which have scenes of Singapore including the Singapore Botanic Gardens, MacRitchie Reservoir and the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood printed on them.

Singapore's heritage, culture and places are also captured in design studio Onlewo's home furnishings and wallpaper products, while the iconic animal-themed playgrounds - such as The Dragon and The Pelican - have been re-packaged into wooden home accessories by furniture label Hinika.

Other featured brands in this installation are candle label A Dose of Something Good, spice paste company Batu Lesung, skincare brand Frank Skincare, small-batch chocolatier Demochoco and jewellery label Carrie K., which is founded by Ms Carolyn Kan, 43.

Keepers is her brainchild. She initiated the collective in 2011 with the aim of growing appreciation and value for independent designers, artists and artisans.

It has since gone through three pop-up stores and 15 installations.

At the permanent space, new themes and designers will be introduced every two months.

This way, visitors "will always discover someone and something new", says Ms Kan.

She adds that moving Keepers into the National Design Centre made "perfect sense".

"We did a Keepers pop-up here late last year and I loved the spirit of community," she says. "Bringing designers together in one central location not only makes our work accessible to customers, but is also a catalyst to collaboration."

Some of the designers in this installation are new to Keepers and are excited to be on board.

Demochoco's Lim Jialiang, 26, who sells his chocolate online, says he joined Keepers because he identifies with its passion in showcasing local craftsmen and makers.

In keeping with the installation's theme, Demochoco will offer three locally inspired flavours - Salted Egg Yolk and Cereal, which is a mash-up of local zichar obsessions; the Dulcey, a caramel spiked with Gula Melaka; and Sea Salt in a speculoos coating. The flavours are available only at Keepers.

The prices of the items on sale range from $6 for a pack of Batu Lesung Spice Company's paste to $2,500 for a Carrie K. ring with diamonds.

Apart from the retail section, the 1,400 sq ft space also consists of a design studio and a workshop area.

Keepers is open from Monday to Saturday, noon to 7pm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 26, 2016, with the headline 'Keepers finds new home'. Print Edition | Subscribe