The Design Store

What’s in store

From coasters to couches, The Design Store by Lifestorey is one shop you shouldn’t miss if you’re looking to deck out your home in quirky furnishings. Spread across this 8,000sqf design superstore is a plethora of brands and styles ranging from the subdued designs of Danish label Muuto, to the rock and roll-infused pieces of Diesel and Barcelona-based beanbag brand Woouf.

Although The Design Store is linked to established furniture shop Lifestorey, it is rather like the letter’s younger, more extroverted sister. While Lifestorey at Great World City stocks well-known Italian brands such as Kartell and Casamania, The Design Store represents many independent European designers. One of them is Mariska Meijers, a Dutch artist whose creative endeavours began with paintings, but is now better known for her designer pillows and trays printed in the same vibrant palettes as her canvases.

The team behind The Design Store scouted these designers by staying away from major design fairs in Europe and penetrating smaller design circles. According to business development manager Lawrence Yong, cottage industries (where craftsmen do their own small scale manufacturing at home) is burgeoning in the UK, Netherlands, and Australia, and he wanted to bring a taste of that here. «We wanted more individual brands rather than international labels,» says Lawrence.

Besides works from these small production designers, The Design Store also carries an attractive range of tableware from Donna Wilson, Bloomingville, and Ferm, many of which are adorned with delightful colours, patterns, and illustrations. Rounding up this wonderland of home accessories are furniture and lighting from bigger brands such as Skitsch, Gubi, and Slamp.

Who’s behind it

Most of the store is curated by Lawrence and Jean Wee, the group design director, who reveals that they didn’t set out with a specific concept for the shop. «We just brought in what we genuinely liked,» says Jean.

But Lawrence and Jean spoke most ardently about working with independent designers. As seasoned buyers, they were used to dealing with major brands. «We often work with sales representatives of major Italian brands and seldom have the chance to meet the designers,» Lawrence explains. «But with this store, we travelled to places about two or three hours away from the main cities to meet with home-based designers. They’re so passionate, and it was nice to work with artists who are in charge of all aspects of their business.» The result of the duo’s hard work is a store that not only houses designer furniture, but also has the vibe of a weekend artist market.

The Design Store is the latest addition to local furnishing group Nobel Design Holdings’ umbrella of brands. Nobel is also behind Marquis and OM, both of which have stores in the same building as The Design Store.

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