TUCKED UNDERNEATH A cosy HDB estate in Everton Park is a curious place where one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Barely a year old, this modest hole-in-the-wall store holds nooks and crannies filled with quirky, one-of-a-kind home pieces full of character and charm. Made from disused material, each product seems to come alive in the ingenious hands and minds of the ARTSYFACT trio, Casey Loh, Leon Lai and Aaron Koh.
We wanted to remind consumers of our past but also give history a whole new functionality.
What initially started as a quest to start up an advertising agency quickly morphed into the idea of creating a truly unique retail environment inspired by the concept of upcycling. Upcycling to them is “all about giving something a second chance at life” and this could possibly be the new ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. Unlike the 3Rs that society actively promotes, upcycling is the process of transforming unwanted junk into something useful and sustainable.
Potential discarded items are picked up from hidden, dejected areas of Singapore and around the region and from there, the brainstorming begins. The new design of an upcycled piece is wrapped around the iconic element of the piece of junk—for instance, the legs of an old sewing machine. Once the brief design is figured out, the three-man team behind ARTSYFACT restores the piece as much as humanly possible and starts constructing the final product. Any parts that require higher degrees of complexity and skill would be relocated to dedicated parties to complete before they get reassembled, tested and personally fine-tuned. Customers feeling rather artsy themselves can choose to be involved in the creative thinking and process of transforming their own junk into customized pieces.
Besides the witty and ironic names christened upon each item, such as Flat White for a chair constructed from a milk crate with a coffee sack seat, history is entrenched in the furnished pieces. Furniture from ARTSYFACT is sure to be the centre piece of the living room or any room in the house for that matter. Whether it is a coffee table made from an old broken door or a clock born out of the interesting combination of vinyl and lego blocks, each unique piece is sure to be a conversation starter amongst dinner guests.
It's reward enough to know that others are also inspired to try upcycling themselves.
Singapore may not be ready yet but we believe it is on the verge of being a hub for other designers to follow suit.
Pioneers of the upcycling movement in Singapore, the trio have made the local furniture scene more light-hearted. While most of Singapore is still caught up with embracing nostalgia and having an eye for all things retro and vintage, ARTSYFACT is hopeful that the country would come to adopt upcycling in due time. It is simply a natural progression for people to search for new innovative ways to breathe new life into old retired pieces.
“Rather than just displaying treasured finds, they can finally make it look completely fresh while retaining its memories and keeping it from looking too dated,” Casey of ARTSYFACT says.