Singapore + Wallpaper* Handmade Classics

A new exhibition at Gillman Barracks presents a ‘greatest hits’ of Wallpaper* Handmade’s collaborative designer-maker project – from rice cubes to bookish perfumes (and everything in-between)

Wooden boxes stacked in a tall thin structure
'Shoe Tree', by Beatrix Ong and Joined + Jointed, for Handmade 2016. 'Storing shoes is always somewhat challenging in terms of space and aesthetic,' explained Ong of her piece, conceiving a modular, totem-style design in American black walnut with marquetry joints
(Image credit: TBC)

Singapore is a design destination irrefutably on the up. A dynamic cultural hub, the bustling city-state’s creative spirit is in part driven by its small size – a mere 719 sq km of land accommodates 5.78 million people. To adapt to the constraints of high-density living, residents have embraced a wealth of micro-solutions.

This enlightened sense of creativity is channelled in ‘Singapore + Wallpaper* Handmade Classics’. Launched on 9 March as part of the fourth annual Singapore Design Week, the exhibition will present a selection of the finest designs from Wallpaper’s Handmade initiative. An annual project now in its eighth year, Wallpaper* Handmade sees the world’s foremost design magazine cherry-pick cutting-edge artists, makers and manufacturers from around the globe to create one-off pieces. From sleek industrial accessories to furniture, food, fashion and more, the works are presented each year as an exhibition at Milan’s Salone del Mobile and in a special edition of the magazine. It’s a profound enterprise, exploring the meeting of design and expert craftsmanship through ingenuity and customisation.

The overarching theme for ‘Singapore + Wallpaper* Handmade Classics’ is ‘MultipliCITY’ – a playful acknowledgement of Singapore’s heritage of adaptability, diversity and invention. The projects featured will delight through their aesthetics and execution, while many nod to the idiosyncrasies of the contemporary Singaporean lifestyle. All exemplify the skills and nous of designers and manufacturers at the vanguard of their respective industries.

Take Handmade 2012’s ‘Ricecube’, for example. A minimalist rice cooker conceived by Danish artist Michael Elmgreen (one half of art duo Elmgreen & Dragset) and Chris Hill (of the design development firm Solve 3D), it’s an ascetic, elegant reimagining of a familiar device; an understated object marrying form and function.

Similarly in tune with the space-saving ‘MultipliCITY’ remit is the ‘Shoe Tree’ of fashion designer Beatrix Ong and London-based furniture collective Joined + Jointed. A ‘piece that is both storage and display’, explains Ong, the rustic wooden mix of totem pole and shoebox sees a modular design that can be ‘grown’ as desired by the owner (hence the name). Revealed at Handmade 2016, it’s one of the newer designs on show.

Beautifully compact is the ‘Tasting Cabinet’, a mirrored, five-decanter minibar – rendered in clear and smoke-grey glass, and elegantly lit from below – created for Handmade 2013 by the German industrial designer Christian Haas, heritage German glassmaker Theresienthal and esteemed French Armagnac house Marquis de Montesquiou (which also devised a custom blend specially for the project).

Other designs selected include a carbon-fibre picnic basket from Neri & Hu and Jaguar; a perfume bottling the scent of freshly printed books, by nose Geza Schoen and publisher Lagerfeld, Steidl, Druckerei Verlag; and a pared-back electric toothbrush by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin’s Future Facility and Braun Oral-B.

Wallpaper* is invested in other parts of Singapore Design Week – specifically, the central 'Innovation by Design Conference', which presents an electrifying line-up of global design, business and public sector speakers. But by choosing Singapore as the inaugural location for ‘Wallpaper* Handmade Classics’, the world’s most important design authority explicitly celebrates the ascendant status of this most exciting of design cities. As with the pairings at the centre of every Handmade project, it’s an inspired and symbiotic melding of the best the design world has to offer – a match as towering as the Singapore skyline itself.

Male standing behind a large barbecue cooking

Barbecue and tools, by Alfredo Häberli and Kim Stahlmöbel, for Handmade 2012. This collaboration – between the internationally renowned Swiss Argentinian product designer and the prominent Swiss maker of metal furniture – reconstitutes the humble barbecue as a place for social interaction

(Image credit: TBC)

Kitchenware on wooden table

Copper barware, by Tomás Alonso and Lobmeyr, for Handmade 2013. Copper, Alonso discovered while researching this project, is popular as a material for drinking vessels because it's resilient to dissolving in water. Thus, he created this geometric copper barware set, featuring crystal glasses by Viennese glassmakers Lobmeyr

(Image credit: TBC)

Zipped bag of knives

Kitchen knives case, by laContrie and Perceval, for Handmade 2014. For 2014, Wallpaper* set up Parisian leather label laContrie – founded by Edwina de Charette in 2009 – and French knife-makers Perceval to create a set of kitchen tools (with handcrafted ebony handles) and an elegant calfskin and suede bag to hold them

(Image credit: TBC)

Sharp metal letter opener

Letter openers, by Hannah Martin, for Handmade 2011. Inspired by the British jeweller's 'Shaman's Triangle' collection, this powder-coated brass opener was handmade in Hatton Garden

(Image credit: TBC)

Metal and brown cocktail set

Martini cocktail set, by Miranda Watkins and Wentworth, for Handmade 2010. Legacy Sheffield pewter company Wentworth and interdisciplinary British designer Miranda Watkins created this three-piece set in response to our request for a travel cocktail kit with a contemporary edge

(Image credit: TBC)

Perfume in book like box

'Paper Passion' perfume, by Geza Schoen and Lagerfeld, Steidl, Druckerei Verlag, for Handmade 2011. A throwaway comment by publisher Gerhard Steidl – intimating that his favourite fragrance was a 'freshly printed book' – was enough to inspire this perfume, created by feted nose Geza Schoen, with packaging conceived by Karl Lagerfeld

(Image credit: TBC)

Rice cube cooker with two ready dishes on table

'Ricecube', by Michael Elmgreen and Solve 3D, for Handmade 2012. Danish artist Elmgreen – of '& Dragset' fame – and Chris Solve of British model prototypers Solve 3D were responsible for this pleasingly minimalist rice cooker

(Image credit: TBC)

Soap set on a wooden board/tray

'Rock Garden' soap set and tray, by Pelle and ER Butler & Co, for Handmade 2016. Inspired by the Japanese rock gardens of Isamu Noguchi, this topographic brass dish – manufactured by ER Butler & Co – was the perfect vehicle for husband and wife soapmaker Pelle's faceted, gem-like wares

(Image credit: TBC)

Yellow and black speakers and stand

'Audio Project', by Master & Dynamic and Steffen Kehrle, for Handmade 2015. After researching antique megaphones and gramophones, Munich-based industrial designer Kehrle created a cone-shaped speaker attached to a pair of Master & Dynamic headphones, merging sonic technologies old and new for an unparalleled audio experience

(Image credit: TBC)

Black framed glasses in white box and on white table

Spectacles, by Monika Sprüth and Mykita, for Handmade 2010. The creation of eyewear brand Mykita's two sets of frames – one in acetate, one in metal, both designed specifically for gallerist Sprüth – saw a canny alliance of two Berlin creative favourites

(Image credit: TBC)

Small suitcase with extendable handle on a wooden piece of furniture

'Kage' suitcase, by Tsatsas, for Handmade 2013. Neatly debossed with a Wallpaper* logo, German bag label Tsatsas' 'Kage' case was a superlative, small-scale design for seasoned business travellers

(Image credit: TBC)

Tasting cabinet with mirrored backing

Tasting cabinet, by Christian Haas, Marquis de Montesquiou and Theresienthal, for Handmade 2013. As well as the five immaculate decanters and an underlit mirrored box – conceived by German industrial designer Haas and created by the prestigious glassmakers Thereseinthal – this minibar also included an exclusive Armagnac blend devised specially for Handmade

(Image credit: TBC)

White USB toothbrush set and holder

'OH!' electric toothbrush, by Future Facility and Braun Oral-B, for Handmade 2016. The inaugural project by Sam Hecht and Kim Colin's Future Facility studio, this streamlined electric toothbrush combined analog practicality with impressive digital details (an extension that re-orders brush heads, for instance)

(Image credit: TBC)

Males wearing white with phases of moon printed on tshirts

'Calendar' overalls, by David Kohn Architects and Kinnasand, for Handmade 2016. London-based architect Kohn and Swedish textile brand Kinnasand's vision of staff uniforms were crafted in the latter's 'Yuki' fabric, and took inspiration from 17th century calendar houses: with a phase of the moon on the chest, seven buttons and 365 stitches on each

(Image credit: TBC)

Wooden transparent picnic basket

'Wild Feast' picnic basket, by Neri & Hu and Jaguar, for Handmade 2014. Shanghai's award-winning, multifaceted design practice Neri & Hu and the classic motoring brand came together to create a bold Chinese reimagining of the traditional British picnic basket

(Image credit: TBC)


‘Wallpaper* Handmade Classics’ is on view until 11 June. For more information on the Innovation by Design Conference, visit the website


Gillman Barracks
9 Lock Road
Singapore 108937