Singaporean Alvin Tan has launched a design web shop that offers shipping of home accessories, furnishings and furniture items to customers in Southeast Asia, including a selection of Scandinavian brands. Applicata, Architectmade, danskina, Kvadrat, Menu, Normann Copenhagen, and Pappelina are Scandinavian brands in the selection.
The focus is set on selling a range of thoughtfully curated and well-designed items from regional and international brands, including home décor accessories, tableware, textiles, lighting and lifestyle objects (furniture limited to smaller items such as chairs for now).
The Bibliotek Design Store also has a name with a Scandinavian touch; ‘Bibliotek’, meaning Library in English.
“Just like people going to the library to find a particular book, we want anyone looking for a particular brand of home accessories or furniture to visit our web store,” said owner Alvin Tan, who left behind a career as a government officer to realise his dream project. “And even more so we wanted a term that reflects accessibility in terms of how a library allows you to access information. Giving accessibility can be on two fronts; to let the visitor understand what brands are available and secondly to understand the inspiration behind those.”
So, this web store also allows customers to understand the story behind the products.
“We believe that for each item the designer behind it is really important. The consumer can get insider details to understand how an item is being designed, what’s the thinking behind it. Because only through that we believe the consumer will be able to fully appreciate it,” says owner Alvin.
He is not really into mass market selling and really wants to introduce things to consumers in this region. Many international brands are introduced for the consumers in the region for the first time and others are for the first time available online.
“Some of the brands are already here but not widely distributed. These are the brands we would like to take on and promote in a bigger way as well.”
Bibliotek Design Store is intended to reflect elegant simplicity, quiet excellence and fine craftsmanship while aspiring to be a space and platform to introduce high quality, curated home accessories, furnishings and furniture from around the world.
Making everyday living better through good design is the vision, where intelligent functionality and considered design is of fundamental importance.
Also, this design store business’ philosophy of sustainability, fine craftsmanship, and considered design motivates them to continuously search for such products and those that can become future design icons.
Bibliotek.co aims to introduce such a handpicked selection of products to a new generation of savvy and conscious consumers.
Taking Applicata and Architectmade as examples, Alvin describes these Danish brands as renowned for their fine craftsmanship
“We are looking more for homeware accessories that could fit in to local homes here. And we think that these two fits the brand’s story as well. We push quite a few but it’s a mixture of finding the right time and filling the gap that we identified, combined with my personal interest.”
It was when Alvin was furnishing and decorating his own house that he found that many items could not be bought in Singapore and that shipping would be very costly. So he set out to bring those brands to the local market.
The reason for staking on online instead of a physical store the Singaporean explains as follows: “In this region web shops is a relatively new form. And we recognised that there was a scarcity in any online store providing a good range of homeware and furniture for customers. Also, with the web store we want to transfer the cost savings we get and pass on to our consumers, so our prices are transparent and competitive as well.”
Alvin describes that in the last five years consumer behaviour has really changed in Singapore, with online shopping now being commonplace. And bricks and mortar are opening their online stores, he adds.
“We don’t have a showroom but we are looking into the option of having that going forward as well; pop-up store definitely!”
In the pipeline is also to offer a visualizer, enabling customers, through digital technology, to take an item and imagine it in their own respective homes. Virtual and Augmented Reality are the tools for this.
“We are looking to bridge the gap between online and the physical space; giving the customer the total experience when they go shopping for a certain item.”