ON BOARD THE ORIENT EXPRESS
The fabled Orient Express is set to roll into Singapore in December - as a pop-up attraction called Once Upon A Time On The Orient Express at the West Lawn of Gardens by the Bay.
The luxury train inspired literary classics such as Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Stamboul Train by Graham Greene.
This is the first time the showcase of the luxury train is being seen outside of France.
The original Orient Express was inaugurated in 1883.
The exhibition will involve moving a locomotive built in France over a century ago, a 1930s sleeper car weighing close to 200 tonnes and more than 300 delicate items and documents; as well as restoring furnishings and displays in the carriages to their former glory.
Putting the attraction in place is a feat in itself as the exhibits are classified as historical monuments. They will showcase the legacy of the train as well as events that transformed the world and helped shape the European map.
Visitors will be able to temporarily put themselves in the shoes of Orient Express travellers at a reconstituted train platform and in an actual carriage from the train.
Info: Once Upon A Time On The Orient Express runs from Dec 12 till June 13 next year. Tickets are available from Sistic. A standard single ticket costs $25; family bundle tickets for two adults and two children are at $88.
CREATIVE GAMES FROM VENDING MACHINE
According to The National Vending Gallery, founded by Hans Tan Studio and co-presented by DesignSingapore Council, some of the answers to life's most pressing problems can be dispensed from a vending machine.
The National Vending Gallery, located at the National Design Centre, supplies merchandise to reflect the manifold influence of design in people's lives. It has embarked on a two-year project to create thematic showcases that unravel local design for the public, kicking off with the first of six topics last month.
You can choose one of 18 card or board games from a vending machine at the centre and play them with family or friends. The games, created by local designers, are designed to develop social awareness and emotional intelligence and help players gain specific skills and knowledge.
Take, for example, the card game Bye Bye Virus, designed by Yasmine Khater and Denise Lim. It features scenarios inspired by real-life pandemic situations and aims to encourage socially responsible behaviour.
Another game, Dream Catchers by Gabriel Leow, looks to create a safe space for kids, where players work together to give a child whimsical sweet dreams and ward off scary nightmares.
Info: Go to this website for more information and online purchases.
OKAMURA OPENS FIRST SINGAPORE STORE
Japanese home-office furniture company Okamura, started in 1945 by aircraft engineers, has set up shop here with a 5,000 sq ft store in Cecil Street.
Taking pride of place in the store is the 7m-high multi-storey "chair vending machine" that showcases 15 office chairs of every stripe and colour.
The unusual structure is another testament to the engineering prowess the company is known for.
Just last month, Okamura made headlines with its Telecube, a 13 sq ft portable office - around the size of a phone booth - which can be set up at train stations, airports and lobbies for city slickers on the go. More than 1,000 Telecubes are expected to be set up in Japan over the next three years.
Mr Shawn Eng, Okamura Singapore's regional business development director, says planning for the store started in 2018, after the company saw a rising trend where offices were designed with elements of the home and vice versa, and where ergonomics figured prominently.
"There is no longer a clear distinction between office and home furnishing as we move into a digitalised age and open society," he adds.
Info: Prices for made-in-Japan chairs range from $899 to $3,999. The store is located at 01-01/04 Hengda Building, 137 Cecil Street. Customers can call 6224-7995 to make an appointment.
FURNITURE FASHIONED OUT OF DISCARDED TIMBER
Viewport Studio, made up of architects and designers based in London and Singapore, has created a series of award-winning spaces and products that mix innovation and rigorous detail for clients such as Delta Air Lines, spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, pewter retailer Royal Selangor and luxury furniture company Walter Knoll.
Its new furniture line, Essential - made for Singapore-based furniture brand Industry+ - is sourced, developed and manufactured from discarded timber within a 16km radius of its production location.
The studio says the collection dramatically reduces the energy and resources required for producing domestic furniture, while still creating enduring sculptural pieces that are not only statement pieces but are also functional.
This article has been edited for clarity.