Design News: Orient Express pop-up, Okamura's first S'pore store, and more


The fabled Orient Express is set to roll into Singapore in December – as a pop-up attraction called Once Upon A Time On The Orient Express at the West Lawn of Gardens by the Bay.

This is the first time the luxury train, which inspired such literary classics as Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie and Stamboul Train by Graham Greene, is being seen outside of France. The original Orient Express was inaugurated in 1883.

The exhibition will involve moving a locomotive built in France over a century ago, a 1930s sleeper car weighing close to 200 tonnes and more than 300 delicate items and documents; as well as restoring furnishings and displays in the carriages to their former glory.

Putting the attraction in place is a feat in itself as the works are classified as historical monuments. They will showcase legacy of the train, as well as events that transformed the world and helped shape the European map.

Visitors will be able to temporarily put themselves in the shoes of Orient Express travellers at a reconstituted train platform and in an actual carriage from the train.

Info: Once Upon A Time On The Orient Express runs from Dec 12 till June 13, 2021. Tickets are available from Sistic. A standard single ticket costs $25; family bundle tickets for two adults and two children are at $88.


The National Vending Gallery located at the National Design Centre. PHOTO: NATIONAL VENDING GALLERY

According to The National Vending Gallery, founded by Hans Tan Studio and co-presented by DesignSingapore Council, some of the answers to life’s most pressing problems can be dispensed from a vending machine.

The National Vending Gallery, located at the National Design Centre, supplies topical merchandise to reflect the manifold influence of design in our lives.

It has embarked on a two-year project to create free tactile games for the public, kicking off with the first of six topics last month.

You can choose one of 18 card or board games from a vending machine at the National Design Centre and play them with family or friends.

The games, created by local designers, are designed to develop social awareness and emotional intelligence and help players gain specific skills and knowledge.

Take, for example, the card game Bye Bye Virus, designed by Yasmine Khater and Denise Lim. Itfeatures scenarios inspired by real-life pandemic situationsand aims to encourage socially responsible behaviour.

Another game, Dream Catchers by Gabriel Leow, looks to create a safe space for kids, where players work together to give a child whimsical sweet dreams and ward off scary nightmares.

Info: Visit this website for more information and online purchases.


Okamura’s 5,000 sq ft showroom in Cecil Street. PHOTO: OKAMURA SINGAPORE

Japanese home-office furniture company Okamura, started in 1945 by aircraft engineers, has set up shop here with a 5,000 sq ft store at Cecil Street.

Taking pride of place in the store is the 7m-high multi-storey “chair vending machine” that showcases 15 office chairs of every stripe and colour.

The unusual structure is another testament to the engineering prowess the company is known for.

Just last month, Okamura made the headlines with its Telecube, a 13 sq ft portable office – around the size of a phone booth – which can be set up at train stations, airports and lobbies for city slickers on the go. More than 1,000 Telecubes are expected to be set up in Japan over the next three years.

Mr Shawn Eng, Okamura Singapore’s regional business development director, says planning for the store started in 2018, after the company saw a rising trend where offices were designed with elements of the home and vice versa, and where ergonomics figured prominently.

“There is no longer a clear distinction between office and home furnishing as we move into digitalised age and open society,” he adds.

Info: Prices for made-in-Japan chairs range from $899 to $3,999. The store is located at 01-01/04 Hengda Building, 137 Cecil Street. Customers can also call 6224-7995 to make an appointment.


 Essential is retailing at Singapore furniture store Industryplus. PHOTO: BENJAMIN SWANSON

Viewport Studio, made up of architects and designers based in London and Singapore, has created a series of award-winning spaces and products that mix innovation and rigorous detail for clients such as Delta Air Lines, spaceflight company Virgin Galactic, pewter retailer Royal Selangor and luxury furniture company Walter Knoll.

Its new furniture line Essential – made for Singapore-based furniture brand Industry+ – is sourced, developed and manufactured from discarded timber within a 16km radius of its production location.

The studio says the collection dramatically reduces the energy and resources required for producing domestic furniture, while still creating enduring sculptural pieces that not only make statement pieces but are functional.

Info: Prices are on request: e-mail [email protected] Visit this website.

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