Mr James Teo, creative director, Ampulets Design Studio.
Mr James Teo and his wife used to love going to Kki, a cafe in Ann Siang Hill that sold Japanese- inspired cakes.
The 980 sq ft space, shared with The Little Drom Store, had about four tables. “It felt like a cosy home away from home,” says Mr Teo.
Over time, they became friends with Kki owners Kenneth Seah and Delphine Liau.
When Kki was moving to its new 1,200 sq ft premises at the School of the Arts last year, the owners applied for a grant from the DesignSingapore Council (Dsg).
This was to help pay Mr Teo’s company for design and branding consultancy services.
Mr Teo, 42, the creative director of design studio Ampulets, worked with interior design company Produce to maintain the original cafe’s sense of cosiness at the new premises.
As the owners were rolling out a new homeware line, called Kki Home, Mr Teo worked with them to enhance the retail experience through visual merchandising.
To draw passers-by into the cafe, he came up with a large full-glass window that provided a clear view of the products inside.
He also advised having space between each product so that every item would stand out, rather than be lost in a crowd.
A new logo was created for Kki Home, based on the idea of “a slice of home” and maintaining continuity with the cafe’s logo, based on a slice of cake.
Ampulets also conceptualised the design of two blue-and-white fine porcelain dishes that comprise the first series of Kki Home products.
The dishes are patterned with abstract faces, made up of the shapes of Kki cakes, such as circles and triangles.
The Dsg grant helped support prototyping for this line.
Mr Teo says: “It costs a few thousand dollars to make a single prototype.”
He says many small businesses find it challenging to work with designers because they do not know where to start.
The owners asked Ampulets to recommend local creatives Kki could work with, and were introduced to firms including woodworkers Everyday Canoe, which designed wooden table-number places in the shape of houses, and photographer Ernest Goh, who took their website images.
“All these small but important details add up to a cohesive retail experience for the customer,” says Mr Teo.
This article was first published in The Straits Times, 9 February 2015.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.
*The café has closed. The owners are taking a break from baking until further notice.