FOUNDERS OF BYND ARTISAN, CRAFT ATELIER
Meet James Quan and Winnie Chan, the husband-wife duo behind Bynd Artisan. Founded in 2014, their ateliers are an experiential retail concept that personalises paper and leather goods and is built upon the legacy of Winnie’s grandfather, who established Singapore’s oldest bookbindery in the 1940s.
More than just a space selling personalised stationery, Bynd Artisan has created a community of craftsmen and artisanal collaborators. They’ve done so through creating unique, immersive experiences within their ateliers and engaging in creative collaborations with Singaporean artistic talents like Erwin Lian and homegrown designer Larry Peh.
With five established stores across the island, this tireless couple aspires to make Bynd Artisan an iconic Singapore brand.
To James and Winnie, passion is centred on collaboration, tradition and embracing possibilities.
“A lot of young adults today expressed their intention of wanting to do something they’re passionate about, but have yet to discover their true passion. However, as they hone their skills, it sparks an interest within them and through continuous research and self-improvement, this interest translates into passion over time,” Winnie shares.
“That fervour, that spirit for excellence—that, is what I call passion and in essence, is the story of Bynd Artisan’s craftsmen—a whole lifetime spent learning and honing artisanal skills.”
From burgeoning creative communities to a neighbourhood that once housed the city’s oldest bookbindery, Singapore is where tradition lives on and the spirit of artisanal excellence endures.
Discover them with James and Winnie of Bynd Artisan.
Winnie’s grandfather first set up his bookbinding business along Mohamed Sultan Road; the district has since transformed into a vibrant nightlife and dining spot. “I remember playing around the area as a child,” Winnie reminisces. “[I have nostalgic memories of] the long, narrow shophouse and the smell of paper.”
Tang Plaza was a milestone for Bynd Artisan, marking their first foray into a retail space. This shopping mall, famous for supporting local brands, “was our first little hole in the wall, in November 2014,” James says. “We hit the ground running because it was Christmas time!” Since then, Bynd Artisan has moved from a counter in Tang Plaza to its own ateliers in both ION Orchard and Takashimaya.
“It has been a hectic four years since we started this new experiential concept and we haven’t had the time to savour the beauty of the nature that surrounds us,” Winnie shares. “I used to be a cross country runner when I was younger, so I have a lot of memories jogging along the trails within MacRitchie Reservoir. I would love to go there to spend an afternoon unwinding and find inspiration in the tranquil.”
Inspired by growth and possibilities, James is ever-mindful of potential spaces to house Singapore’s growing community of artisans. “Gillman Barracks has the potential to be the next big enclave,” he predicts of the creative cluster, with its wealth of art galleries and colonial architecture.
Let James Quan and Winnie Chan of Bynd Artisan take you across the various artists’ enclaves in Singapore.
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