Tuesday, September 20

Stunning Singapore Shophouses

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I have a soft corner for small urban buildings, specially the row house typology that includes the shophouse, townhouse, Brownstone and terraced houses. These tightly packed buildings add so much character to urban areas. They tell us about the history of a neighbourhood and how people lived in the past. One of my favourite activities is walking along streets in Cambridge such as Oxford and Richmond Road, which have beautiful old terraced houses. If I just ignore the rows of parked cars, I can almost make myself believe that I am back in the 1880’s. With lace curtains fluttering from the windows and a woman sweeping her tiled walkway. 

These remind me of the shophouses in Singapore, which are heritage buildings from the 19th and early 20th century. They are typically narrow, two or three stories high and characterized by intricate arches and use of pastel colors on their facades. Originally, the shophouse had a work space on the ground floor and residential quarters on the upper levels. The ones that exist in Singapore can be found in areas such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam, Emerald Hill and Little India. Some of these have been lovingly restored and converted into modern residences. Here have a look at a selection of five houses designed by one of South-East Asia's leading architectural firms ONG&ONG

31 Blair Road

55 Blair Road 

59 Blair Road

149, Neil Road

Project R

All images via ONG&ONG

Monday, September 5

Something to cheer up your Monday

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After graduating from art school, the French designer and entrepreneur Zoe de Las Cases set up shop in Paris and online. Her products are whimsical creations - all inspired by her unconventional childhood in the beautiful Aubrac region of France. 

Zoe draws upon these memories, vintage photographs and domestic imagery from the 1950s. She picks up old photographs of nostalgic scenes - smiling children on a beach holiday, three serious sisters on a picnic, a pensive housewife pegging out her laundry - then adds splashes of bright colour and pattern to the monochrome prints to give them a modern twist before printing the designs onto cushions. The results are kitsch and fabulous. 

It's a strange but fun mix and very original; offerings include miniature cardboard kitchen kits, cushions in the shape of colanders and fox masks. She's not afraid to break the rules. Her cushions are irregularly shaped, as if a child has cut around the outlines of the people with a pair of scissors. 

The poster collection at Zoe de Las Cases is a delight, too, and as totally bonkers as the rest of the shop. In most of the collage-like prints, colourful pigeons perch on children's heads. It's crazy and bizarre, but I love the playfulness and fun she brings to her products.

View more of Zoe's wacky products here.

Sunday, September 4

Go ahead have fun with your house!

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I saw this house featured on Jules' lovely blog - 'A Diversion project' and did not think much of it at first. But then I realized that it's special because a house like this reminds us to let go, forget about trends and fashions, pay no heed to what people might think and just have fun with our home. For a home is an extension of who we are, it should grow with us and contain things that we pick up along the way. Each item has a story behind it being there and that is the secret ingredient that adds personality to our homes.   

As Jules says "they clearly have a soft spot for mid century pieces and colourful art, but they haven't let that sway their love of old tapestries, Persian rugs or antique timber pieces either".

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