PLACEText: Soh Wee Ling

Step into Asylum and you instantly notice this is not any other typical store. Chandeliers and red-orangey birds flying in the air greet you as you enter while you get distracted by the bold black motifs on the wall towards your right, an eclectic collection of pretty things notwithstanding, from SGD 7 postcards to SGD 2,200 limited edition Adidas sneakers.

In fact, Asylum is more than just a stylish store, it is also a design studio and gallery all rolled into one. Says founder Chris Lee, 36, “The store is an experiment that has been working quite well. This is an outlet for us to do what we like and what we can’t do in commercial design work.”

Through the Asylum concept, Chris hopes to contribute back to the creative community by bringing the community together in conversations and dialogue, as well as promoting local artists and hopefully, inspiring them to create art pieces.

Asylum started out as a design studio in June 1999 and set up its retail arm in June 2005 under the same roof as the design studio, now located in the basement. To date, there are over 2,000 persons subscribed to its mailing list, looking forward to updates on new stock and events, in addition to curious passersby and tourists who step into the store from time to time.

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