Sustainability is all the rage these days.
Whether it is eco-tourism or farm-to-fork food options, it’s no question that sustainability is the buzzword that’s here to stay. Hence, it should come as no surprise that an increasing number of companies are turning to upcycling furniture and homeware as well.
That can refer to two types in general: the first is when vintage furniture undergo refurbishments and restorative works, and the second is when homeware pieces are made from typically unused and discarded material. This process of transformation grants a new lease of life to the pieces, and add a storied touch to them in the process.
If you’re looking for interesting furnishings that echo the sustainability movement, we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best spots in Singapore to buy upcycled furniture and homeware.
It’s hard to walk out of Originals without buying or wanting to buy anything. (We know, we’ve been there.) The showroom is a scene of calm, with gorgeous, clean-lined furniture and decor pieces in a neutral colour palette arranged as you’d see in a stylish home. While Originals builds new furniture — from sustainable resources — they also recycle and customise the old to give them new life.
The family-run bespoke furniture brand, which counts an impressive clientele including Employees Only and PS.Cafe, William Grant & Sons, Mandai Park Development and The General Co, launched the Local Tree Project after discovering the sheer amount of abandoned logs stockpiled in sawmills here. The ethical furniture initiative salvages these unwanted trees to turn into furniture and other objects, with minimal wastage. Going further, the company also works with other local individuals and businesses that are focused on sustainability, such as a beekeeper who supplies beeswax to make a wood finish, and an artist who makes paint out of local wood from Roger&Sons.
Hock Siong & Co
They say one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Hock Siong & Co started as a karung guni (rag and bone) business in the ‘70s, and later pivoted to procuring and refurbishing second-hand furniture, operating equipment and antiquities from local hotels and residential households in the last two decades. Its massive retail space at Kampong Ampat is cluttered with a smorgasbord of stuff — a minimalist granite-top coffee table here, an old but well-preserved wedding cabinet there, and a whole lot of vintage knick-knacks everywhere — but that’s part of its charm. Most are one-off items, and will add plenty of character to your living space.
Artful House is all about the details. Its vintage and recycled wood furniture, which ranges from handcrafted consoles and tables to sideboards and mirrors, feature intricate carvings, mesmerising patterns and vibrant jewel tones, perfect for injecting a dose of traditional culture into your interiors.
Former interior designer Jackie Tan founded Triple Eyelid after five years of designing interiors that he only conceptualised, but never built himself. After putting aside his software in 2014, he has never looked back since. Now, his firm salvages industrial waste materials usually thrown out by other companies such as pallet wood and upcycles them into furniture and homeware pieces like stools, tables, nightstands and planters.
Besides creating furniture for customers, Triple Eyelind aims to broaden the skillsets of those who are interested in upcycling, and hosts regular workshops on woodworking as well.
Second Charm is perhaps one of the most popular upcycling stores in town. Here, stroll down memory lane with their range of vintage furniture and homeware, inclusive of styles that span mid-century modern, art deco and even Scandinavian.
A good 80 percent of their vintage chairs, coffee tables and home accessories have been refurbished for a second life in a new home. Those that have been re-upholstered even come with eclectic touches for a modern take on older pieces. In case you want a reproduction of certain items you can’t find elsewhere, Second Charm also takes custom orders.
Noden Collective was established in 2013 to offer customers a purchasing experience that runs counter to the detachment often found in the mass retailing industry. The independent store is known for its handpicked range of authentic and beautifully crafted vintage Scandinavian furniture that comes from the 1950s to 1970s, including a whole variety of Danish modern furniture.
Apart from furniture, Noden Collective is also home to interesting lighting and homeware pieces.
Most shops on this list cover an extensive range of upcycled furniture, but smaller, sustainable homeware pieces may be a little tougher to find. Enter Everyday Canoe, an online store that creates bespoke spoons, butterknives, wallflower houses and brooches from all the small pieces of wood that are usually thrown away during the line of production. These wares are lovingly hand-carved and made-to-order, so customisation is possible as well.
Miniwiz is the brainchild of architect and structural engineers Arthur Huang and Jarvis Liu, who founded the company with a mission to turn post-consumer waste into high-performance materials. With the headquarters in Taiwan, they’ve set up shop in Singapore’s Temasek Shophouse last year to change the upcycling game in Singapore.
Here, find anything from used Starbucks coffee cups made into a coffee table to bricks made from a combination of user-generated plastic waste and agro-waste. The goal for Miniwiz? To turn trash into more valuable and usable materials at the end of their lifecycle.
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.
(Main and featured image: Roger&Sons)