The best of SG50 designs, from playful to posh

Louis Vuitton is offering free trunk-painting services for Singapore's 50th birthday. There are six designs to choose from, such as the Singapore Sling.
Louis Vuitton is offering free trunk-painting services for Singapore's 50th birthday. There are six designs to choose from, such as the Singapore Sling.PHOTO: LOUIS VUITTON

From a rocker to fragrances to cushions, there are plenty of ways to show your love for Singapore as it celebrates its 50th year

With Singapore's 50th birthday around the corner, Singapore and international brands have put out fun and quirky items that celebrate what it means to be Singaporean.

From home fragrances that were inspired by the history of Orchard Road to posh handbags with a patriotic red border, Life checks out 15 uniquely Singapore products to ring in SG50 in style.

1 VALET CHAIR BY GRAFUNKT

What: This multi-purpose chair is award-winning local furniture designer Nathan Yong's Golden Jubilee product.

What is so Singaporean about this chinoiserie-style chair?

Well, it is practical and likes to multitask. With its high backrest, it can be placed near the bathroom to hang clothes or towels. There is also a small drawer to store knick- knacks. Needless to say, you can also sit on it.

There are only five chairs in the bright red version, though there are more in natural ash. The chairs will be launched on Aug 1.

Price: $500 for the red chair and $390 for the natural ash chair

Where: Grafunkt, 02-34/35/36 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, tel: 6336-6046


2 THE GARDEN CITY COLLECTION OF HOME FRAGRANCES

What: Lifestyle boutique Poetree conjures up images of Singapore's rich flora and fauna with three home fragrances it commissioned for SG50.

Singaporean master perfumer Martin Koh put together the trio of scents: Orchard, Rainforest and Island Bouquet inspired by his days in Singapore.

The London-based perfumer, who works for Firmenich S.A., a Swiss multinational corporation in the fragrance and flavours industry, created the Rainforest scent based on his experience walking to school in Upper Serangoon Road when he was young.

The row of towering Flame of the Forest trees, a riot of reds and greens when in bloom, gave off a refreshing scent after it rained. So he put in notes of red apple, tangerine, green violet leaves and Oakmoss musk.

Price: From $79 for a 150ml glass bottle fragrance, which includes two packs of six reeds. Aluminium can 100m refills cost $50 each

Where: HomesToLife Pop Up Store, 03-04/05 I12 Katong, 112 East Coast Road, tel: 6443-0658, from today. From Wednesday, it will also be available at 01-31 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive


3 HOME: 50 50-WORD STORIES TO CELEBRATE SINGAPORE'S 50TH BIRTHDAY

What: This has SG50 written all over it: 50 stories, 50 words each, by self-published author Andre Yeo, 43, about Singaporean experiences.

The stories revolve around topics such as doing national service, dealing with the haze and tales from the pioneer generation.

Yeo, who is an assistant editor at The New Paper, took about nine months to finish the stories last year.

Price: $15.90

Where: Books Kinokuniya, 04-20/ 20B/20C Ngee Ann City Takashimaya Shopping Centre, 391 Orchard Road, tel: 6737-5021; Times Bookstores, various outlets including 04-05, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, tel: 6336-8861, except The Centrepoint; and Naiise, go to naiise.com or 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street


4 THE SINGAPORE DECK

What: Play poker patriotically and in style with freelance industrial designer Joe Tan's special 52-card sets, which incorporate cheeky elements of the Singapore Story.

Early pioneers such as samsui women who built the city are featured in the Spades suit, while personalities such as Leticia Bongnino - the spoof character of a Filipino maid played by actress Michelle Chong - and famous local food can be spotted in the Hearts suit.

The Clubs cards tell the story of a Singaporean boy from childhood; the Diamonds cards go through the life of a Singaporean girl.

Price: $25

Where: Go to www.thesingaporedeck.com to pre-order the cards. The sets will also be on sale at Singapasar, a design-centric market, from July 31 to Aug 2 at the National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road


5 THE PLAYGROUND SERIES BY HINIKA

What: Children of the 1970s and 1980s will have fond memories of vintage, animal-themed playgrounds which were built all over Singapore neighbourhoods. Though few of these structures are still standing, they are having a nostalgic moment being remembered in other forms, such as badges and stationery.

Designer Jarrod Lim, 37, creative director of Hinika, a Singapore-based furniture company, is having a go at repackaging these animal motifs, this time into wooden home accessories.

The Dragon playground has become a rocker; The Pelican - the one in Dover Road was demolished in 2012 - has been turned into a candleholder; and The Elephant has transformed into a piggy bank.

Both The Pelican candleholder and The Dragon rocker come in small and large sizes.

Price: From $65 for the small version of The Pelican candleholder to $1,299 for the large version of The Dragon rocker

Where: Hinika, e-mail info@hinika.com to order or go to www.facebook.com/hinikadesign


6 SG50 SHIRTS AND TOTES

What: Wear your love for the nation loud and proud - preferably on a shirt or a tote bag.

Temasek Clothings' white Mari Kita shirt, featuring the words That's What Zubir Said (below), references the Singaporean composer who came up with the national anthem.

Uncle Ahn T creates a simple black tee option with Xinjiapo 65 (it means Singapore in Chinese) written on it.

Chapalang Tote Bag (above), designed by The Farm Store, cheekily prints the "typical" bag content of Singaporeans - wallet, watch, clothes, EZ-Link card and a NEWater bottle.

Meanwhile, the Yong Tau Foo Tote Bag by graphic designer Shu Han Lee will be a good guide for tourists who are intimidated by the complexities of ordering at a yong tau foo stall. She breaks down the process of picking your ingredients and choosing your noodles in an infographic printed on a thick cotton canvas bag.

Price: $30 for Mari Kita by Temasek Clothings; $30 for Xinjiapo 65 by Uncle Ahn T; $33 for the Chapalang Tote Bag; and $22.10 for the Yong Tau Foo Tote Bag

Where: Temasek Clothings, go to www.temasekclothings.com; Uncle Ahn T, go to www.facebook.com/UncleAhnT; The Farm Store, go to www.thefarmstore.sg; and Naiise, go to naiise.com or 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street


7 LOUIS VUITTON SG50 COLLECTION

What: French luxury house Louis Vuitton is going red for Singapore with a series of limited edition product launches splashed with the colours of the Singapore flag.

First is a special edition of the Petite Malle, the label's iconic hard-sided box clutch, which now comes with a red border (pictured, top), a homage to the Singapore flag.

French banker and photographer Albert Kahn - his custom-made luggage between 1911 and 1929 partly inspired the Petite Malle - has his three white "X" signature. There are only 38 pieces available.

Second is the Tambour Monogram 33mm watch, which features Louis Vuitton's iconic monogram pattern in red on the dial. Just 25 of these beauties are available.

For the jubilee, Louis Vuitton is offering free trunk-painting services. You can choose from six designs such as the well-loved Singapore Sling or the SG50 logo (centre and below).

It worked with students from the School of the Arts Singapore to create three out of the six motifs.

The free trunk-painting service is available at its Marina Bay Sands outlet. It takes between four and six weeks for the designs to be hand-painted with acrylic paint.

Price: $7,050 for the Petite Malle Monogram Rouge and $3,800 for the Tambour Monogram

Where: Louis Vuitton, B1-38/39 and B2-36/37/37A Crystal Pavilion North, 10 Bayfront Avenue; 01-20/24 and 02-12H/J/K/L Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Road; and 01-23 Ion Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, tel: 6788-3888


8 GRILLE TRIVET AND PERANAKAN TAPE BY ATAS

What: Local label Atas - it stands for All Things About Singapore - has miniaturised the local gate and turned it into a pot stand (top).

Do not worry about burning anything when you place hot ceramics or glassware on this product as it is made from heat-resistant silicone.

Atas has also come up with a series of quirky, cool items based on popular food and Singlish.

Products include notebooks with familiar prints such as army camouflage and Peranakan Tape (below), which takes the colourful tiles of such houses and turns them into a repetitive motif on decorative tape.

Price: $18 for the Grille Trivet, $15 for the Peranakan Tape and $54 for a set of three notebooks

Where: Atas, go to atas.sg, or Farmstore, go to www.thefarmstore.sg. The items will also be on sale at Singapasar, a design-centric market, from July 31 to Aug 2 at the National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road


9 LOVE SG ICON PAPER CLIPS

What: Jazz up your stationery stash with these creative paperclips, which have been fashioned into the outlines of local icons such as the Sir Stamford Raffles statue and the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay.

Price: $9.90

Where: Love SG, go to www.lovesg.sg; The Planet Collection, go to theplanetcollection.com; HipVan, go to www.hipvan.com; and Naiise, go to www.naiise.com or 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street


10 SG50 COAT COLOURS

What: Local nail colour brand Coat has released three Golden Jubilee shades, inspired by the Singapore flag and the general festive air. They are the shimmery gold Twinkling Stars top coat; Race-y Red shade; and Sugar & Spice confetti sparkle.

Price: $80 for the limited-edition set, which comes with three colours and Coat's Super-Dry Finish. Each colour costs $25

Where: Go to www.coatcolours.com


11 SOUVENIRS FROM SINGAPORE

What: Souvenirs are usually for tourists, but Supermama's super- cute SG50-themed products may tempt the most jaded Singaporean to get a piece of local culture or history for his home.

Drawing inspiration from local icons, the design outfit is rolling out 50 creative knick-knacks.

For example, you can "build" your own HDB block with stackable erasers (top) or hold your door back with doorstoppers modelled after the colourful nine-layer kueh or the dragon-head playground (centre).

Too many bits and pieces around the house? Throw them into a small dish (below), featuring the chess table print so often seen on cement tables in HDB void decks.

The first 10 items will be launched on Friday at Supermama's store while the 40 remaining items will be launched on National Day at the store.

Price: $10 or $20 depending on the size of the product

Where: Supermama Store @ Singapore Art Museum, 71 Bras Basah Road, e-mail info@supermama.sg


12 BAK CHANG BEAN BAG

What: Lie back and watch the National Day Parade on this comfy bean bag that is a larger-than-life take on the Chinese rice dumpling, or bak chang, a pyramid-shaped snack which is traditionally eaten on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month.

Designed by local design outfit Little Red Dot, it is made with canvas cotton.

Price: $149.90 for the large bean bag, without bean filling, and $179.90 for the large bean bag with bean filling

Where: Naiise, go to www.naiise.com or 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street


13 FOOD JEWELLERY BY MINIATURE ASIAN CHEF

What: Local food is turned into wearables by self-taught artist Juliana Fan, 29, who created the brand Miniature Asian Chef. Under the label, she creates tiny versions of local food.

The colourful layered Malay kueh lapis sagu is turned into earrings (top), while the popular wafer ice cream will not melt as it hangs as a necklace (below).

These accessories are not just for the girls.

Those iced gem nibbles - the snack with the biscuit bottom and icing sugar on top - have been turned into cufflinks.

Price: From $10 for a Pineapple Tart Hair Pin to $32 for the Ice Cream Wafer Necklace

Where: Naiise, go to naiise.com; 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street; or www.etsy.com/shop/MiniatureAsianChef?ref=pr_shop_more


14 MATS MATTER THIS IS HOME TRULY

What: A door mat printed with the words "This is home truly" will not just welcome you back into your humble abode, but also stir up memories of the iconic Dick Lee National Day song Home.

What is even more heartwarming will be knowing that part of the proceeds from the sale of this mat go towards buying homeless people here sleeping bags, thanks to the efforts by local non-profit organisation This Is Home Truly, which partnered e-retailer HipVan for the project.

Price: $28.40

Where: HipVan, go to www.hipvan.com


15 CHAR KWAY TEOW CUSHION COVER

What: Make your guests hungry with this Char Kway Teow stall cushion cover, which is designed like the old-school hawker stall signs, complete with prices printed on it.

Made with thick cotton linen, it measures about 30cm by 50cm.

Local label and accessories store Wheniwasfour also has other prints for cushion covers including signs for Katong Laksa, Hainanese chicken rice and local delights such as ice popsicles and ang ku kueh.

Price: $28

Where: Wheniwasfour, go to shop.wheniwasfour.com; and Naiise, go to naiise.com or 01-30 Westgate, 3 Gateway Drive; 02-12 Wheelock Place, 501 Orchard Road; and 02-23 Central, 6 Eu Tong Sen Street

PHOTOS: SUPERMAMA, LITTLE RED DOT, HIPVAN, MINIATURE ASIAN CHEF, WHENIWASFOUR

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 11, 2015, with the headline 'ROCK SG50 IN 15 WAYS'. Print Edition | Subscribe