Belinda Try, founder and executive director of apaiser, tell us about the strategic planning and objectives behind its first flagship in Singapore.
13 May, 2015
Top: Belinda Try. Photo: apaiser
Melbourne-based international bathware designer and manufacturer, apaiser, began its global expansion plan last year with its first showroom in Asia. Located in Singapore on Mosque Street, this strategic move is parallel to the brand’s strong presence in the local market, where its collections are the choice of several new luxury hotels and properties. Besides supporting contract clients, the apaiser showroom allows consumers to secure apaiser products directly.
The apaiser showroom at Mosque St, Singapore. Photo: apaiser
Founded in 2000, apaiser creates luxury bathware out of reclaimed marble sculpted through artisanal processes, which takes place at a 10,000 sqm factory located in Surabaya Java. Quite fittingly, the name, apaiser, derives from a French verb, meaning to calm or sooth, articulating its sensory appeal.
As a worldwide market seeking enjoyable bathroom experiences grows, apaiser opened its United Kingdom showroom in February, and is now gearing towards its exclusive boutique in Manhattan. In the second half of the year, apaiser will also launch a new designer range.
Why did apaiser locate its first Asia flagship in Singapore?
apaiser has long recognised the critical importance of Singapore in the interior design world with its large cluster of firms, many of whom design the world’s leading hotels and resorts. We have strong relationships with these firms developed over many years, and often felt the need for a venue to showcase new designs and material developments.
Before the opening of the showroom in the heart of the Central Business District, apaiser already had a presence in Singapore with examples from its exquisite stone bathware collections selected to feature in a number of Singapore-based luxury hotels, condominiums and private residences, including Pan Pacific, Parkroyal on Pickering, Crockford Towers at Resorts World Sentosa, The Marq and Hilltops. Besides these, we have a Sentosa range inspired by a luxurious resort on the island.
These recent successes, as well as the recognition of Singapore as a discerning market for apaiser’s products were key factors for us when we decided to begin our global retail expansion.
What are the objectives for this showroom?
This exciting space was the first step in our global rollout of apaiser showrooms. We plan to open strategic points of presence in New York, London, Singapore and Melbourne. These will enhance our ability to service the design community. The showroom also offers retail customers the chance to secure apaiser products directly for the first time. This sophisticated and engaging space is part of our objectives to further develop our retail arm and provide strong points of presence in key market locations.
How did you curate the Singapore showroom?
The showroom has over six shapes of baths and basins on display – both above counter and freestanding – integrated vanity units and shower bases. These represent our latest designs and developments.
The showroom itself is carefully created to be evocative and moody. It is a deliberate attempt to show that bathrooms can be engaging, sensual and not purely functional. The designs on display illustrate the full scope of apaiser’s capabilities from minimalist to complex, as well as showcase our colour range and texture capabilities.
How did the Sentosa range come about?
The Sentosa range was created in response to a specific design requirement for a luxury house on Sentosa. The client needed something that is organic but still highlights luxury. The range is responsive to this design requirement and offers the client a relaxed but contemporary solution, combining the natural elements of stone with a sophisticated modern look and feel.
apaiser maintains a sense of ‘understated luxury’. How does that translate to your marketing and branding strategy?
Capturing the sense of “sanctuary in stone”, our bathware evokes the essence of luxury and modern opulence in the bathroom. We offer our clients handcrafted stone bathware that will enable them to transform the art of bathing into a luxury ritual rather than a function.
And the artisanal making process and use of reclaimed materials make up the brand’s DNA.
Yes, these processes are certainly part of the apaiser DNA, but other elements are as important. All apaiser bathware is handcrafted using a moulding technique. Each unit is hand sanded to create a sculptural artisanal finish that is close to natural stone in look, feel and appeal. Manufactured from reclaimed marble, the bathware has minimal impact on the environment. The manual sanding and hand finishing results in a product that is more environmentally sensitive than competitive materials, allowing designers to create ‘eco sensitive’ bathrooms.
For all products, we use reclaimed marble and not recycled marble. It is a subtle but serious difference. Our marble come from quarries and is a by-product of waste generated in marble quarrying. We do not gather old marble and crush it. We recover what is wasted and clean it up for commercial use. If we don’t use this marble, it would be used as landfill or road fill.
Have you observed any differences in market demands in Asia, as compared to Australia or Western markets?
Asian designs tend to be influenced by a more organic aesthetic. Many of the designs that are minimalist and used in Europe or the United States for example, don’t lend themselves to the Asian environment and context. That is where apaiser is flexible and creative. Our customisation capability allows us to offer unique solutions for the global market. There are also size and design requirements in Asian urban settings that are very different to needs of the Northern Hemisphere.
Our focus on design and development is to constantly seek ways to define the bathing experience. In Asia, bathing is a more relaxed experience than say in New York. Thus we tailor the style of bathware we offer to each region in recognition of this.
Kelly Hoppen Interiors
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