An artifact is an object of historical value. Likewise, Artifactt’s products are curated like art pieces where imperfections that come with handmade goods are celebrated. The Singapore-based brand was started in October 2021 by Chris Lee and his wife Annie Li after they noticed a gap in the local market for affordable artisanal tableware.
Lee is the founder of a multidisciplinary design studio known for work such as The Warehouse Hotel’s interior design and the National Gallery’s minimalist logo, while his wife’s day job is in sales and marketing; Li had also recently concluded an MBA and she was brainstorming for a side project.
“I always knew that I wanted to start something for myself,” she says, commenting on her entrepreneurial itch. The timing was perfect as people, stuck at home during the pandemic, were cooking more and paid greater attention to food presentation.
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Aside from products by designers such as Sergio Herman, Ann Demeulemeester and Roos Van de Velde under Belgium homewares brand Serax, many of the tableware and drinkware come from Japan. This is unsurprising as the idea was seeded there in 2018 when Lee participated in the KYO project, which partnered Singaporean designers with Japanese artisans to create relevant modern-day products.
“During the trip, I realised that many of these fifth or sixth generation artisans are finding it hard to survive because what they used to do for a living — for instance, making copper urns for temples — has decreased in demand and they don’t know how to reuse their skills in other ways,” he explains. Eventually, the couple hopes to collaborate with artisans to design their own pieces. While the brand only ships locally within Singapore at the moment, it hopes to ship its tableware to customers abroad soon.
Here, they tell us more about their products, plans ahead for the brand, and their secret to a good house party.
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