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DAY 1: CREATIVE COMMUNES

James Quan and Winnie Chan enjoying a day stroll in Chip Bee Gardens
1 Chip Bee Gardens

“We’re in an era where we’re looking at ourselves, becoming more design-centric, supporting local creators,” Winnie says. To fully understand the blossoming potential of Singapore’s design scene, make your first stop at Holland Village. A creative enclave and one of Singapore’s hippest neighbourhoods, this borough buzzes with the activity of designers, artists, and artisans.

Spend the morning with an ice cream from Sunday Folks in hand while exploring Chip Bee Gardens, which stretches along Lorong Merah Saga. The street is home to a range of contemporary restaurants, local fashion labels and art galleries.

Fashion lovers seeking to express their unique sensibilities with threads from a local label should definitely consider visiting Ong Shunmugam. Priscilla Shunmugam, the passionate founder of the label, collaborated with Winnie and James in 2016 on a pair of clutch bags, marrying the former’s discerning eye for textiles with Bynd Artisan’s knowledge of leatherworking tradition.

Shopfront of Bynd Artisan at Chip Bee Gardens
2 Bynd Artisan

Expand your artistic sensibilities at Bynd Artisan’s largest store in Chip Bee Gardens. This atelier is a haven for stationery lovers, who’ll be able to pick from a wide selection of handcrafted notebooks, peruse the leather products and stationery on display, and even take part in a variety of workshops. More than just goods, stationery lovers will walk away with a further understanding of both arts and craft of bookbinding.

Since it first launched in 2014, Bynd Artisan has frequent collaborations with other creative enterprises and individuals. So don’t be shy to ask the passionate staff for a tour around the store, and to tell you about the latest collaborations on display.

A labour of love for both James and Winnie, the passion on display at Bynd Artisan can be seen in all members of the organisation, from its founders to its service staff and craftsmen. “It has been very rewarding to see how the brand has grown and gained recognition in a short span of time. This has instilled a founder’s mentality within many employees and encouraged ourselves as founders to continue giving it our all,” James shared.

The interior of high fashion concept store, Dover Street Market
3 Dempsey Hill

Spend the afternoon hunting for a keepsake that best expresses your individuality at Dempsey Hill.

Nestled in lush greenery, Dempsey Hill is a great place for an artisanal shopping experience. Collectors of antiques should make a beeline for Woody Antique House—which stocks a range of Asian period pieces, furniture and curios—while the fashion-minded should browse the racks at high fashion concept store and multi-brand retailer, Dover Street Market. Lovers of artisanal wares are certain to hone their sense of aesthetics while perusing the inspired designer collections on display.

Art after Dark event in Gillman Barracks
4 Gillman Barracks

Pay a visit to Gillman Barracks, a visual arts cluster housed within a former military barracks that was first built in 1936. Art aficionados hoping to expand their collection or to gain insight into Singapore’s burgeoning art scene should explore the many galleries housed within the space. Gillman Barracks’ signature event, Art after Dark, is held in January and September, and in conjunction with Singapore Art Week during its run in January. This event features talented artists from Singapore and across the globe, art exhibitions, and craft markets for the discerning collector.

“Gillman [Barracks] could be the next big enclave for creative craftsmen,” James observes. “It’s such a big space, with these colonial buildings.”

Art lovers should also drop by FOST Gallery, named by Blouin Artinfo as one of Asia’s top galleries in 2013. Stephanie Fong, the owner of the gallery, is a friend of James and Winnie, and shares their love for showcasing and working with fellow Singaporean and Asian artists.

After an afternoon hunting for artisanal treasures and curios, you’ll be able to break for dinner at Naked Finn. One of Winnie’s favourite restaurants to eat at when she visits the area, the seafood establishment has won plaudits from various editorials and publications, ranging from Conde Nast Traveller to The Straits Times.

DAY 2: DIVERSE RETAIL EXPERIENCES

Wide selection of local poetry anthologies and novels at BooksActually
1 Tiong Bahru

One of Singapore’s oldest housing estates, the neighbourhood has transformed over the decades into a creative hub of hip cafes, fashion boutiques and local bookstores.

To beef up your book collection and refine your appreciation of literature, spend the morning browsing the selection of poetry anthologies and novels at BooksActually, a local bookstore that champions local writers. We recommend exploring the neighbourhood, and dropping by Creamier for their famous handcrafted ice cream which also comes with Asian flavours such as sea salt gula melaka (palm sugar) and milk tea.

A wide-angle shot of ION Orchard exterior, with Tang Plaza at the background.
2 Orchard Road

Located along the bustling shopping belt of Orchard Road, Tang Plaza is an iconic shopping destination that’s famous for curating a spectrum of Asian and international brands. Supporting local designers has always been a part of the brand’s DNA. You’ll be able to spend the afternoon perusing the works of local designers and fashion labels, and purchasing pieces of craftsmanship that express your individuality.

Tang Plaza marked Bynd Artisan’s first expansion into Orchard Road. Since then, Bynd Artisan has moved from a counter in Tang Plaza to its own ateliers in both ION Orchard and Takashimaya. “Tang Plaza remains the one-stop destination for visitors looking to discover new, up and coming local brands under one roof,” James shared.

 The night scene along Robertson Quay, in the Mohamed Sultan neighbourhood
3 Mohamed Sultan

Round off the evening at Mohamed Sultan, the neighbourhood where Winnie’s grandfather first set up his bookbinding business.

Best known for its eateries and bars, Mohamed Sultan has also gained a reputation for a range of furniture and home design establishments over the recent years. Homeowners looking to spruce up their abodes will be able to find everything from living room décor to fabrics for the bedroom.

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