Tenants at Tan Boon Liat Building organise block party

Expect discounts, collection launches, food tastings and giveaways at Tan Boon Liat Building's first block party

Get your festive shopping fix at Tan Boon Liat Building this weekend as the tenants have banded together for a special seasonal block party.

The two-day event, which starts today, features special offers, discounts, seasonal gift ideas, silent auctions, collection launches, food and wine tastings as well as gifts and prizes up for grabs.

The 15-storey building, located along Outram Road, has an eclectic mix of shops, including design studios, contemporary and antique furniture shops and health stores.

Twenty-one tenants are taking part in the block party, including furniture stores Journey East, which has storewide discounts, and Artful House, which has a Secret Santa giveaway.

The event was initiated by Ms Jenny Lewis, 56, who runs Bode, a fabrics, wallpaper and furnishings showroom on the fifth level. Originally from New Zealand, she is now a permanent resident here.

She was inspired by Paris Deco Off, an annual trade event in the French capital where textiles and furnishings showrooms and galleries throw open their doors for designers, buyers and the press.

She says: "Paris Deco Off is such a fun event, where people go from showroom to showroom to discover new things. I thought it would be a good idea to have something similar here."

The participants are a mix of long-time tenants such as Jehan Gallery, an Oriental carpet and rug store, and newer tenants such as Golden Teak, which specialises in teak furniture.

To check which tenant is participating in the event, look for lighted balls at the entrance of shops.

While the building is currently surrounded by construction for the Havelock MRT station on the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line, tenants say they have built up their customer base over the years.

Interior designer Barbara Fritschy, 39, who owns the three-year-old furniture and homeware store Make Room on the 11th floor, says: "Traffic increases every year. It's easy to get a parking spot and you can see so many decor styles and furniture all in one place."

Mr Christopher Looi, 53, owner of lighting store Gamut on the seventh floor, says more customers are frequenting his shop after Park Mall, another furniture hub in Dhoby Ghaut, closed last month.

Meanwhile, organiser Ms Lewis says if the block party goes well this weekend, she will think of organising another one. She adds: "Tan Boon Liat is like an Aladdin's cave. Everyone has something different to offer and you never know what you are going to find."

Highlights at the block party

Ethnicraft Online, 02-01

This four-year-old Singapore offshoot of Belgian furniture brand Ethnicraft will launch two products this weekend.

The first is the Notre Monde Tribal Quest collection (pictured), a series of handpainted trays featuring tribal prints and motifs. Prices start at $120 for a circular tray called Black Beads.

The other product is the Straight Extendable Dining Table. It comes in oak and a teak version will be available soon.

There are three sizes: The smallest version extends from 140cm to 220cm, while the biggest one can go from 180cm to 280cm, making them perfect for a space-strapped home. Prices start at $2,185.

Hassan's Carpets, 02-06

Previously located in Tanglin Shopping Centre, this carpet shop moved into Tan Boon Liat Building a year ago.

A family business that spans four generations, the shop sells carpets from Iran, India, Pakistan, Russia, Turkey, Afghanistan and the Caucasus. It also has bespoke hand-knotted carpets and rugs.

Owner Suliman Hamid, 68, will give two carpet appreciation talks (today at 11.30am and tomorrow at 2pm).

Besides speaking on how carpets are constructed and the type of materials used, he will also show precious pieces such as Iranian carpets and blankets and shawls from his personal collection.

There will be a silent auction on 15 carpets from India and Pakistan. The carpets will be hung up and shoppers can write down their bids. Mr Suliman will contact the highest bidders after the event.


Golden Teak, 04-03B

This teak furniture specialist will sell wood string art pieces made by The Upcycling Factory, a non-profit organisation that does eco-friendly projects.

Each piece costs $35 and part of the proceeds will be donated to women from Star Shelter, a crisis centre in Singapore.

All Golden Teak furniture will also be sold at a 50 per cent discount.

The Providore, 05-03

Stock up on Christmas goodies such as panettone, nougat, tea and chocolate at this gourmet grocer.

The Providore's seven themed gift hampers (pictured) will make impressive gifts. For example, the Tea Lover ($140) hamper is filled with various blends and comes with a teapot and strainer.

Those who love their bubbly will appreciate Champagne Opulence ($160), which has a fruity Dumangin Champagne Brut, two Rosette champagne glasses and jams.

Also available are jewellery by Singapore-based labels Liz B and Zebra & Jojo, and ethnic bags by fashion label Frankitas.

Bode and Vantage Concept, 05-10

Fabrics and furnishings store Bode sells cushions, scarves, tableware and lights.

You can also check out fabrics from around the world, including material from Santorus, a London luxury label with motifs inspired by the founders who are of Indian-Italian heritage.

There will be a 10 per cent discount on selected items and a cushions sale. Carpet retailer Vantage Concept shares the space with Bode and has items on sale too.

Bode's owner Jenny Lewis will give a talk today at 2pm on colour and pattern trends in interior design. And cyclists will love the limited-edition Lamborghini-BMC automatic bicycle ($5,600) on display.

Also, 10 shoppers will win prizes such as a deck chair and handmade books. Just take a picture of your favourite fabric and Instagram it with the hashtag #beautifulbode.

Arete Culture, 06-01/04

Drop by this interior design, bespoke furniture and decor store and you could end up with a free home makeover worth $3,000.

Just drop your name card into a bowl at the showroom and Arete Culture will pick a winner at the end of the block party weekend.

The store carries furniture and accessories from overseas brands such as candles from Vietnamese label Cochine and its in-house line of custom-made products. Shoppers get a $20 voucher for every $100 spent.

From 10am to noon today, artist Christina Jensen will conduct a free workshop on how to decorate your home for the festive season using items that you have.

If you have a balcony or outdoor space to decorate, pop into Arete Culture's new outdoor furniture showroom a few units away. There are set-ups in different styles to inspire the home owner, such as resort living, Moroccan and an all-white area.

Underground Wines, 07-04

Load up on booze for the party season at Underground Wines, which specialises in wines from boutique, family-run wineries from New Zealand. You can also pick up wine-pairing tips and sample some of the offerings.

There is a storewide 10 per cent discount on wines and bigger discounts on bigger orders.

Take part in a wine tasting, snap a picture, put it on Facebook or Instagram and stand a chance to win a 1.5-litre magnum of pinot noir if your picture is chosen.

Deer Industries, 07-05

Selling European children's furniture such as cribs, loft beds, decorations, rugs and wall paints sourced by Deer Industries' founder Joyce Coenraads, the 2,700 sq ft shop will have a 10 per cent discount storewide.

Selected items such as the Baby Dobber ($179), a floating chair for the pool, will be slashed up to 50 per cent.

Plain Vanilla Home, 08-06

Better known for its baked goods, Plain Vanilla has a small selection of homeware and lifestyle products in its shop in Tiong Bahru.

Now, the bakery's owner Vanessa Kenchington is taking her love of furniture and accessories to a new level by opening a new, permanent showroom in Tan Boon Liat Building today.

Opening today, the 700 sq ft showroom features brands such as Redecker, one of the last producers of handcrafted brushes from Germany; Savon Stories, an English company that makes handcrafted organic soaps; and Peg and Awl, an American company that makes products out of old things and abandoned materials.

Singapore furniture brands such as Hewn, which is known for its marble and wood products; and Scene Shang, which infuses a chinoiserie vibe into its products, are also sold here.

Two special pop-up booths will be at the store this weekend. The first is by scent label Candles Of Light, where visitors can craft their own linen spray scent; the second is by urban gardening outfit Super Farmers, where visitors can customise their own planters.

Make Room, 11-09B

Instead of a live tree, pick a recycled wooden tree for Christmas this year.

Make Room, a furniture and accessories store with an interior design studio, carries a selection of these environment-friendly trees. Prices start at $119 for a 80cm-tall version.

Make Room has received a new shipment of vintage furniture from Eastern European countries such as Poland and Hungary. The items, which include dining tables, benches, cabinets and wardrobes, were hand-picked by owner Barbara Fritschy.

Prices range from $50 for a stool to $1,499 for a 1.8m-tall cabinet.

Three other brands will set up pop-up booths in the showroom: Mase Jewelry, which offers handmade pieces; New Zealand scent company Ashley & Co, which carries room scents; and confectionery brand Hello Chocolate.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2016, with the headline 'Party as you shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe