Wok into the action

Tangs Orchard is whetting shoppers' appetite with a remodelled homeware section that offers interactive zones, fits more people and gives them a better view of cooking demonstrations.

Tangs Home, which opened last Friday, includes three thematic cooking areas - Modern, Retro and Asian - that sell corresponding products.

For example, the classic Smeg fridges in their candy pop colours are available in the Retro zone while the Asian section features woks and steamboat hotpots, among other things. The Modern zone sells products such as knives and cookware and appliances from brands such as German tableware- maker WMF and Danish label Scanpan.

The three zones, housed in the basement of the home-grown department store, have done away with narrow walkways and cramped cooking stations. Instead, proper stoves and mirrors above have been added so that shoppers can look up to catch the cooks in action without being blocked.

There are also interactive coffee, tea and baking zones, where customers can try coffee machines and juicers or sip a freshly brewed cup of speciality tea.

The new Tangs Home also sells bedding and household appliances such as washing machines and vacuum cleaners - segments it has retained from the old store, but increased the range of products.

The new basement area, which was closed off in stages for the renovation, is part of a $45-million facelift that started last year and is slated to be completed next year, when the fashion areas on Levels 2 and 3 are revamped.

Tangs' chief executive officer Foo Tiang Sooi, 60, says Tangs Home now occupies 33,000 sq ft, about 25 per cent more than its previous space, after taking over the former Firefly live music lounge at the Marriott Hotel. "Previously, this area was quite cramped and had the feel of a bazaar. But we updated the look and made the area more organised," he adds.

The emphasis on live demonstrations and niche areas for testing coffee machines and tea was prompted by changes in shopping habits. Mr Foo says: "Over the years, people started becoming hobbyist cooks and coffee connoisseurs who brewed their own coffee. "So we created specific spaces where they can talk to coffee specialists or tea brewers about what they should buy or have their coffee machines serviced."

Tangs Home now carries Coway from South Korea which sells a juicer called the Juicepresso; German label Zassenhaus, which offers coffee grinders and kitchen accessories; and Jia Inc, which has international designers and whose speciality is porcelain items. Other highlights include a steam bar by high-end kitchen specialist Miele from Germany, where customers can perch on bar stools and watch its steam ovens in action.

A new area called The New Heritage Shop has chic options for those looking for gifts with an Asian or local flavour, such as presents made from Peranakan tiles or vases from Malaysian pewter manufacturer Royal Selangor.

There will also be new offerings when the food section, Tangs Market, reopens next Friday. These include local favourites such as Kway Guan Huat Joo Chiat Original Popiah & Kueh Pie Tie; Peranakan restaurant PeraMakan, which has outlets at Keppel Club in Bukit Chermin Road and Santa Grand Hotel East Coast; and new kiosk concepts such as Ice Cream Junkie and The Mustard Incident, which sells gourmet sausages. Seating will be available too, a new feature for the area.

Ms Christine Tan, 42, who was at Tangs Home last Thursday afternoon, gave the new look the thumbs-up.

The housewife, who buys her cutlery and homeware such as plates and linen from Tangs Orchard, says: "The basement feels bigger and with more products, shoppers can have more options."


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