Bemoaning the predictability of the shopping experience in Singapore, three “tortured” architects Shing, Schirin and Josh, and design fan Wen, made it their mission to bring in products that they could not find locally.
Following a five-city shopping binge, they set up a store in Chinatown in 2008, called Strangelets, to house all their strange and beautiful finds.
Today, loyal customers are more than familiar with such products as the mysterious tableware from cult French brand Astier de Villatte, classic ceramics from England’s Burleigh, and handmade leather and paper goods by Postalco from Tokyo.
No surprise then that, having barely settled into their new location in Tiong Bahru’s Yong Siak Street, we were swiftly there to check things out!
First of all, why the name Strangelets?
A Strangelet is a theoretical particle that converts any other particle it touches into a Strangelet as well. We hope to change the way people shop… we want them to appreciate the artisan’s skill when it comes to handcrafted objects or the intelligence and simplistic beauty in design items. It’s not all about brand recognition.
What can we expect from the new store?
We’ll continue to stock an eclectic mix of products comprising design pieces, home furnishings and accessories, as well as tableware, jewellery and stationery. It’s not a boutique so much as a micro-department store for things you didn’t know you wanted
How do you choose which brands to bring in?
We look for designs by very clever young people and small-batch producers; objects that have a special approach to everyday problems or just make the world a little prettier. We generally like to bring in brands that are not already being sold in Singapore.
Where do you go to hunt for good design?
A number of our designers are from Brooklyn, New York; the amount of talent there is simply amazing! Los Angeles is also a good place to visit and there’s plenty of talent in London.
Which is your favourite product in the store right now?
We love Postalco – all 4 of us carry their wallets. Their items have a strong attention to detail as they’re handcrafted in Japan and the design is slightly American retro; the founder/designer Mike Abelson is an American living in Tokyo.