Peppered with East-Asian influences, blue and white chinoiserie style is a great way to spruce up your living spaces in a jiffy.
You’ve seen it everywhere: Those gorgeous shophouses in Chinatown, your favourite homewares store and even your mum’s kitchen cabinet. Chinoiserie has been around since the 17th century and even though this classic style is heavily influenced by East Asian heritage, the term itself is derived from France, as it was a popular trend in European homes back then.
Today, we take a closer look at this epitome of elegance but with a blue and white nudge. We’re talking lacquered accents, floral motifs, birds and landscapes, Peranakan designs and a whole lot of Ming-style porcelain and ceramic ware from our favourite local brands.
Scene Shang: 1818 Dragon’s Teeth Gate Linen Tea Towel
Everyone else: A gorgeous tea towel. For us: A touch of history. Yep, Scene Shang’s 1818 Collection is a chock full of fascinating stories about Singapore vibrant past. This tea towel depicts Swatow ware, a variation of Ming Dynasty ware for the Southeast Asian market that features hand-painted artworks of birds, animals, trees and flowers. Sweet!
Scene Shang: 1818 Dragon’s Teeth Gate Linen Tea Towel, $21.90, available online.
Shiva Designs: Bali Blue Bowerbird Ginger Jar
Bowerbird’s range of ceramics come in the form of gorgeous vases, bowls, platters and pots. You won’t find cookie-cutter designs here as each piece is created by Vietnamese artists who are specialised in hand-thrown ceramics. Ginger jars are the unofficial stars of the whole blue and white chinoiserie craze, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have one at home. Did you know that these were used for storing and transporting spices in ancient China?
Shiva Designs: Bali Blue Bowerbird Ginger Jar, $285, available online.
The Shophouse: Detailed Ceramic Covered Jars
These ceramic jars with Peranakan tile prints have us going yaaas. They’re great as decorative pieces for your living room but you can also kill two birds with one stone by popping in some Chinese New Year snacks when you have guests over.
The Shophouse: Detailed Ceramic Covered Jars, $229, available online.
East Inspirations: Ceramics, vases, tiles and beyond
Fair warning if you’re visiting East Inspirations in Chinatown. You may just go home with more than what you envisioned. Well, with a treasure trove of fine East-Asian antiques, ceramics, relics, vintage items and artefacts, you can’t really blame us for coveting. We want everything, but those ceramic bowls always take our breath away.
East Inspirations, 33 Pagoda Street, Singapore 059192; 233 South Bridge Road, Singapore 058782
Bungalow 55: Orient Cushion
If you don’t really want to commit to the whole chinoiserie game, start with a cushion. The designs at Bungalow 55 are simple yet slabbed with details. Pair the orient print cushion above with a simple blue or white piece. It also has lotsa variations to choose from if you’re ready to explore.
Bungalow 55: Orient Cushion, $115, available online.
Just Anthony: Melon Vase
This lamp from Just Anthony is giving us major chic vibes with its scallop shade and floral motifs. Pop the porcelain piece on a side table or foyer to spruce up the living room.
Just Anthony: MZ BW Melon Vase, $250, available online.
Ong Shunmugam: Suvarnabumi Tableware
In case you didn’t know, local fashion designer Ong Shunmugam has ventured into home decor. Her Suvarnabumi tableware collection brims with Southeast Asian culture, taking parts of Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Middle Eastern and Peranakan influences. Can we have everything, please?
Ong Shunmugam: Suvarnabumi Tableware, from $59, available online.
Supermama: Jewel Changi Airport Vortex and Kebaya Bleu Classic Gift Set
Yes, these aren’t necessarily chinoiserie but you can’t have a roundup of blue and white without Supermama. This local craft and design store blends traditional designs and Singapore heritage with everyday objects (or modern landmarks like Jewel Changi Airport). Supermama works with Kihara, a porcelain label in Japan, to produce the finest pieces.
Supermama, Jewel Changi Airport Vortex ($36) and Kebaya Bleu Classic Gift Set ($160), 265 Beach Road, Singapore 199544; #02-207, Jewel Changi Airport, 80 Airport Boulevard, Singapore 819642, also available online.