Custom dictates

Custom dictates

AS people become more houseproud, getting furniture off the shelf doesn't cut it anymore. Customisation is the latest decorating trend as homeowners work with interior designers to create bespoke pieces.

Cynics might dismiss bespoke as a euphemism for getting a carpenter to make you a chair in a certain size, but not quite.

Where you can custom design your home pieces

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    www.designintervention.com.sg
    Ms Hunt's bespoke pieces are all made in Singapore. She has tried, in the past to use cheaper suppliers in Indonesia or Malaysia but "I need to be present during the manufacturing process to check, guide and often to tweak the design," she says.

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    "By manufacturing in Singapore, there is better control of the process and assurance of the quality of the product."

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    The firm not only produces bespoke furniture and lights but can also specially design softer items such as rugs.
    "A rug can instantly transform a space by adding life, colour and pattern like no other element in a designer's arsenal," she says.

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    For a home in Sentosa, Ms Hunt designed a pair of wall lights, made from stainless steel.
    "The sea air can be corrosive and many materials will discolour under such extreme conditions," she says.

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    www.parishomeonline.com

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    Bespoke European styled furniture is hard to find in Singapore the owner of Paris Home says, explaining her business's success.
    "Most of the local craftsmen do carpentry work and if they do bespoke pieces, it is usually Oriental style," says Ms Wong.

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    Interested customers can either give her a picture of the furniture style they want, or pick from the many samples she has on the website.

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    She can draw up a new design, but "I'll still need a point of reference as a starting point." It can be as simple as the ornate carvings on a picture frame, which Ms Wong can translate onto the frame of an armchair.

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    Home owners who want to check out the furniture at Paris Home can make an appointment to visit owner Michelle Wong’s apartment, which houses about 100 furniture pieces.

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    She not only customises the pieces according to the client's sizes and colour selections, but is able to transform items as well.

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    "For example, if you see a picture of an armchair you like, but want it as a sofa, that can be done," she says. "Or if you like a side table, but want to turn that into a desk or a cupboard, it can be done too."

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    She draws up the pieces and then they are manufactured at a factory in Jepara in Central Java, a region known for its furniture industry, notably teak furniture.

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    Victorian style table

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    Victorian style stool

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    www.lanzavecchia-wai.com

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    A ping pong dining table with a Corian surface, adorned with computer-engraved French Rococo details filled in with gold lacquer. In the middle of the table, a long rectangular vase filled with dainty blossoms doubles as a game-net and a table floral arrangement. The table is designed for lifestyle concept brand Mein by Lanzavecchia + Wai, a collaboration between Italian Francesca Lanzavecchia and Singaporean Hunn Wai.

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    SINGAPOREAN designer Hunn Wai, one-half of Lanzavecchia + Wai will have you know that a bespoke piece of furniture is more than going to a carpenter and asking him to make a chair.

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    Mr Wai admits the firm has yet to design any bespoke pieces for local homeowners, but he assures he can do it.

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    www.sumisura.asia
    To better understand what clients want, creative director Ms Lim recommends that they provide reference images of the envisioned piece.
    She will then draw up a design, while amending the dimensions and improving the design of the piece to fit the given space.

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    www.spacesense.com.sg

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    FANCY a dining table shaped like a baby grand piano?
    For $2,800, interior and furniture designer Kelvin Teo can make it a reality. He recently did one for a client whose home was done up French style.

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    "The client works from home so instead of doing a round or square table, I designed something that is related to the theme," says Mr Teo.

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    Apart from the piano table, other bespoke pieces he has done include a bathroom mirror with a hole so that it can be hung, a leather sofa that resembles an outdoor bench, a dining table with asymmetrical legs, as well as more common items such as a bed frame or a bookcase.

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    Mr Teo favours wood or stainless steel. The award-winning designer prides himself on creating pieces that can be perceived as a piece of art or sculpture.
    One example is his Paper Fold, a rocking chair that looks like a strip of ribbon.

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    A dining table with asymmetrical legs designed by interior and furniture designer Kelvin Teo.

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    www.ciliconfaytory.com
    The duo have designed bespoke furniture pieces for commercial outfits as well as for private homes.
    "We believe in a design methodology rather than style when it comes to designing products. Understanding the client's need and the context are the two basic factors and usually we will shape the design according to the brief," says Mr Lui.

"Bespoke furniture entails customisation, but it also allows clients to work with a designer for his needs and wants," says Yang Tah Ching, founder of Studiorigins, an independent design studio providing product design services with a focus on furniture and interior accessories. "The resulting piece will be unique and personal."

Designers who offer bespoke furniture services are mostly in the interior design industry, so they are able to visualise how a bespoke piece will fit into the client's homes.

It is, however, a more tedious process than picking furniture in a store. Since they are one-of-a-kind, clients need to have some idea of the design they want and where they want to put it.

It also takes more time.

Mr Yang has designed a few bespoke pieces for his clients and says the process can sometimes take from three months to even a year.

Factors such as the time taken to confirm a design, creating a prototype, sourcing for materials and production will affect how soon a bespoke piece is completed.

And be prepared to pay a premium too.

Designers often charge a design fee for their services, depending on the complexity, and making it will cost more since the manufacturer is often producing just one piece.

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