Reimagining a Classic: The Humble Kopitiam Chair

Reimagining a Classic: The Humble Kopitiam Chair

Anne Reagan
Oct 13, 2011

Before moving to Singapore I'd never heard the word "kopitiam." "Kopi" is a Malay word (adopted from the Portuguese) for "coffee" and "tiam" is a Hokkien word for "shop". In Singapore, and throughout the Malacca region, the kopitiam is a gathering place to socialize and discuss the topics of the day while enjoying hand-poured coffee and sweet kaya toast.

The kopitiam chair is ubiquitous here in Singapore. It's a traditional wooden chair with a round seat that Peranakans have cozied up to for decades. Congregating in coffee houses and discussing the politics of the day are as much a part of this culture today as they were in the past.

Recently, Singapore's Home & Decor magazine sponsored the exhibit, "Remaking An Icon" showcasing a modern take on a well-established design: the kopitiam chair. Five designers were invited to re-create this humble chair in the spirit of celebrating Singapore's National Day. The designs represented modern visions for the simple chair but also encompassed the designer's own vision for the future of Singapore. Lucky bidders brought home these one-of-a-kind designs. All proceeds benefited the Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund, which raises money for underprivileged children in Singapore.

Shown Above:
1. Belle Ipok by Felix Low
2. Fading Uniting by Grafunkt Studio
3. New Old East West by Kelly Cheng
4. Imprint Chair by Randy Chan
5. A Chair In A Picture by Kevin Teo

For more information please visit The Straits Times.

Images: Home & Decor<

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