Archive for the ‘Furniture’ Category

Pomelo in Chinatown

Sunday, 29 May 2011

UPDATE: We are now at Tan Boon Liat Building, 315 Outram Road, Unit #10-04.

It’s taken a long while, but we are now at our new showroom at 6 Teck Lim Road, right off Keong Saik Road, which is famous for…um, coffee and tze char.

It’s a bigger space, with some fantastic new brands—Established & Sons, Semigood, Mattiazzi, Emma Gardner—in addition to Modernica and Blu Dot.

Currently also available are Bold & Noble prints from the UK and WeWOOD watches.

In the coming months, we’ll be adding stuff to our store as we go along; so for (more) regular updates, news, new additions and arrivals, please add us to your Facebook “Likes”:

Come by the showroom! We’re open:

Tuesday–Friday 11:00am–7:00pm
Saturday–Sunday 11:00am–4:00pm

Phone: 6226-HOME (6226-4663)


Emeco “Nine-0” Chair by Ettore Sottsass

Sunday, 27 April 2008

(Update: Space at Millennia Walk, is now the Emeco distributor in Singapore.)

Emeco, unveiled the “Nine-0”, a new collection of chairs and stools by the Italian designer Ettore Sottsass on 16 April, at the 2008 Salone Internazionale del Mobile.

Nine-O Chairs

I love how the arms on the armchair are formed by the extension of  the leg piece. A simple, elegant solution.

Emeco \

Three versions of the chair/stool are available. (From left to right) 3-Bar Back (shown without arms), Open Back, and Soft Back.

From the press release:

Gregg Buchbinder, Emeco’s Chariman, met Mr. Sotsass eight years ago at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art. “The minute we met, Ettore told me he was an admirer of the Navy chair and in fact wished he had designed it. And we agreed, why not re-design it,” remembers Mr. Buchbinder. “I had seen Sottsass’ projects in which he had used our chair. Ettore was the first designer who took our chairs out of their typical environments—navy ships prisons, hospitals—and to use them in contemporary interior design projects. Through him Sir Terence Conran, Frank Gehry and Philippe Starck discovered the Emeco chair creating resurgence in the 1990’s.”

“A chair must be really important as an object, because my mother always told me to offer my chair to a lady,” Mr. Sottsass told the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in 1976.

Chris Redfern, the British architect who worked alongside Mr. Sottsass for the past 12 years recalls, “Ettore always had orange cushions fixed onto his navy chairs at home in Milan and our idea started there. We wanted to make the new chair soft, friendly and of course colorful.” Mixing Emeco’s expertise in aluminium construction with European technologies in polyurethane sculpting, the new designs feature a soft polyurethane seat and a wider base for a “growing population.”


A bit on Mr Sottsass:

Ettore Sottsass was born in 1917 in Innsbruck. Like his father, Mr. Sottsass studied architecture. He served in the Italian army, and after the war, established a practice in Turin, designing interiors, and domestic objects. He later moved to Milan as Italy embarked on post war reconstruction and collaborated with his father on social housing projects, as well as designing small craftsman-made domestic objects.

Mr. Sottsass spent a brief period in America, working for George Nelson, which gave his work a transatlantic dimension unusual in Italy.

In 1981, he helped establish the Memphis movement with a group of like minded designers who questioned the comfortable definitions of contemporary design. Memphis represented the most coherent attempt to apply post modernism to design. It created an alternative to the aesthetic of functionalism by exploring the emotional potential of design.

At the same time that Memphis exploded, Mr. Sottsass’ partnership, Sottsass Associati expanded rapidly to become Italy’s best-known design consultancy, working in architecture, graphics, interiors, products, and furniture all around the world.

These are the last chairs designed by Mr. Sottsass, who died on December 31, 2007 at the age of 90.



Nine-O Swivel Chairs

Seats: Integrally-coloured, soft polyurethane seat and back.

Colours available: green, blue, yellow, orange, red, and grey.

Daddy, how did I get my name?

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

We’re expecting our first child in mid-April, and we’re thrilled as pomeranians with new Hello Kitty chew toys. But six weeks until the bun is baked, and we’re struggling with names.

Our shortlist consists of exactly ONE English name, and ONE character for his Chinese name. Oh, yeah, it’s a boy!

Some people have no such problems. Angelina and Brad are great at naming kids: Maddox, Pax Thien, Shiloh, Zahara! But they probably have eight full-time staff coming up with them.

So, we’re enlisting the help of you, our friends, family, and readers to help us choose a name. Imagine, you get to name our son! But even better than bragging rights, if the name you propose is picked, we’ll give you a brand-new, Blu Dot Couchoid Studio sofa. (Download a pdf spec sheet here.)

Couchoid Studio Sofa

(If this sounds like some thinly-veiled publicity stunt for our store, that exploits an innocent, unborn child, I say to you, “Yes, it is!” But at least it’s better than naming your child “Brooklyn” just to get free pizza.)

Couchoid in-situ

Seriously, though, we just figured it might be nice if others could share in our big event. You know, the wisdom of crowds and all that. So here goes:

Our surname is “Quah” (“柯” in Mandarin). The one English name we like is “Kyle”.

The Chinese name we like is a lot “King” (“敬”) which means “respect”. Preferably, it would be used as the second name, i.e. “Quah King Something.” “King Kong” has already been thought of and rejected, thank you very much.

We also like “Khai” (“凯”) which means “triumphant” or “victorious.” But the problem with “Kyle Quah King Khai” is the alliteration—it’s just too much of a tongue-twister.

Some guidelines:

  • You can offer a Chinese name, or an alternate English name, or both.
  • One to five carefully considered names is plenty. We prefer not having to read a list of 300 names lifted off the internet.
  • We don’t mind if the name’s uncommon. We’re not keen on Michael, John, David or Andrew. (Apologies to readers with those names.) I personally like cowboy names. Cody, Jake, Wyatt, but the wife will have none of it, as according to her, they’re “too American.”
  • Chinese names can be in any dialect. Hokkien if at all possible, otherwise we’re not too fussed about it. The Chinese character should, naturally, be something meaningful.

Send your entry to:pomelobaby (at) gmail (dot) com

Good luck!

Raymond & Karina

The fine print: Contest closing date: 15 April 2008. Please include your name and a contact number in your entry. Prize eligible for readers residing in Singapore only, sorry. Sofa is not exchangeable for cash, currypuffs or anything else. If more than one person suggests the same name, the first person who emailed it in, wins. In the event that we go with a completely different name than any suggested, we will award the sofa to one person chosen at random. Winner will be announced on this blog soon after the delivery date.

Moooi Carbon Chair

Thursday, 6 September 2007

I went to Amsterdam last week for work, and managed to spend some time exploring the city.The Netherlands is home to a large number of world-class designers, running the entire gamut of fields—from furniture to architecture, textile making to ceramics, fashion to graphic design. Some Dutch design heavyweights that immediately come to mind are Hella Jongerius, Marcel Wanders, Viktor & Rolf and Rem Koolhaas.The Dutch design collective, Droog, alone has worked with over a hundred different designers. I dropped by their store, and saw this unbelievable table by Miriam van der Lubbe.Frog Table at Droog AmsterdamScenes from an Indonesian fairy tale about a Frog Prince were cut by laser into the walnut surface, then four Balinese craftsmen worked for two weeks, carving out half the tabletop into a spectacular relief of lily pads, tadpoles and frogs—in all stages of its life cycle.Frog Table at Droog AmsterdamThe table has to be seen to be believed. One half is precision-etched, with incisions barely a millimeter wide, and the other half is insanely hand-crafted. This juxtaposition was part of the artist’s intent; where countries would normally use cheap Indonesian labour to manufacture mass consumer goods, she used skilled artisans to produce a one-off masterpiece. (Ironically, perhaps, the labour cost was still probably fifty times cheaper than it would have cost to make in say, Italy.)I digress… more Amsterdam posts to come soon.One chair of Dutch design that I really love is Bertjan Pot’s Carbon Chair, designed in cooperation with Marcel Wanders, and produced by Moooi.Carbon ChairIt’s made from 100% carbon fibre, with no metal frame, and weighs an incredible, I don’t know, 3 micrograms, or some other ridiculously light weight. You can lift it with your little finger; it’s so light and feels really fragile, but yet, incredibly strong.The Carbon Chair was inspired by an experimental chair Pot created as an homage to Charles Eames’s DSR side chair with Eiffel base. Using carbon fiber and epoxy resin to “trace” the chair, the result was the “Carbon Copy”. (This chair was never produced, and remains only a prototype. Image from Bertjan Pot’s website.)Carbon CopyPot also designed the Random Light, which was his previous experiment with epoxy-soaked fibreglass strands. (He says on his website, “people who know me, know I like random.”) Originally hand-coiled around a large balloon, it took three years to perfect the mechanical process which allows it to retain its random, non-machine-made look. It’s now available in three sizes, the largest one slightly over a metre in diameter.Random LightCarbon ChairMaterial: Epoxy and carbon fibreColour: BlackDimensions: 75 x 46 x 50cm (H x W x D)Seating height: 45cmLIMITED AVAILABILITY DUE TO SHORTAGE OF CARBON FIBRE

George Nelson Bubble Lamps

Sunday, 12 August 2007

George Nelson (1908-1986) was, together with Charles and Ray Eames, one of the founders of American modernism. His best-known furniture designs have all become icons of mid-century modernism, and include the marshmallow sofa, coconut chair, and platform bench. He also created these boldly graphic wall clocks for Howard Miller:

George Nelson Ball Clock

George Nelson Sunflower Clock

Although he was trained as an architect at Yale, he became extremely well known as a graphic designer, an industrial designer, an interior designer and exhibition designer. He was the design director at Herman Miller from 1945–1972, where he also pioneered the practice of corporate image management, graphic programs and signage.

George Nelson Herman Miller Poster

In 1947, George also created the “Bubble Lamp” line. Inspired by a self webbing material used to mothball ships in New York, he was convinced it would be perfect for lighting. He made a metal frame, tracked down the source of the webbing material and by the next day he created a big glowing sphere and the Bubble Lamp was born.

Bubble Lamp Group
George Nelson Bubble Lamps made by Modernica. Available at Pomelo Home in Singapore.

Here’s a description from a 1968 Howard Miller sales brochure, that reads like it could’ve been written yesterday:

“Airy, lighthearted “Bubbles” designed by George Nelson, make lamps and lighting fixtures that are so effective and functional in today’s contemporary settings. Their pleasing shapes are fashioned in sturdy, light-weight steel and a special translucent white plastic. The “Bubbles” will always cast a soft, even light.”

Howard Miller manufactured the lamps from the early 1950s until the line was discontinued in 1979. But Modernica has faithfully re-issued the Bubble Lamps to the exact specifications using the original Howard Miller factory tooling.

The Nelson Bubble Lamps are now in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA).

George Nelson Bubble Lamps

The George Nelson Bubble Lamp collection comes in Saucer, Ball, Cigar, Apple, Pear, Criss Cross, Lantern and Propeller shapes, and includes table lamps, pendant lamps, sconce lamps and floor lamps. Materials: Steel skeleton, self-webbing soft plastic polymer. Made in USA.

(George never actually named the different lamp designs and they were simply given numbers by Howard Miller. A large Saucer lamp was simply sold under “Bubble Lamp H-727,” a large Ball lamp was sold under “Bubble Lamp H-725”.)

Sources: Wikipedia,, DWR, AIGA. Photo links to Flickr users Sweet Juniper, Hot Funk, Nailmaker.

Emeco Navy Chairs

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

(Update: Space at Millennia Walk, is now the Emeco distributor in Singapore.)

Some people dream of owning Lamborghinis, or other such fancy things. Me, I’ve wanted chairs. Specifically, the all-aluminum Emeco 1006 chair.

Emeco Navy Chair

Although it’s a bona fide design classic, the chair has achieved a somewhat anonymous ubiquity. By this, I mean that you’ve probably seen it a hundred times in your life without realizing that this was the chair. Try this: the next time you watch any movie about cops, or C.S.I, pay attention during the interrogation room scenes, and I’ll bet you’ll spot them there.

Part of their beauty lies in their indestructibility. The ten-oh-six “Navy” chair was designed by Wilton C. Dinges in 1944 for use on US Navy submarines and aircraft carriers. The task was to create a corrosion-resistant chair that was light and strong. Strong enough, legend has it, to survive a torpedo blast.

Not just taking their word for it, the folks at their ad agency, Weiden & Kennedy in London, put the chair to the test.

The chairs are made using a 77-step process, and the resulting chair is three times as strong as steel. Every one comes with a lifetime warranty, and you often find some of the original ones from the 50s being sold on eBay. They’re also 100% recyclable, although, you may have to wait for about 150 years before they wear out to do so.

Emeco Classic 10-06

Emeco makes other beautiful chairs, designed by luminaries such as Sir Norman Foster, Philippe Starck and Frank Gehry. But the Navy chair remains my favourite.

You can see the Navy chair and all the others at: