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Meet the studio doing Toulouse-Lautrec-esque posters of Singapore's neighborhoods

Jurong, Bukit Timah, East Coast, they're all so charming you'll want the whole set.

By Mashyitah Binti Mustaffa | Jun 23, 2016

  • Meet the studio doing Toulouse-Lautrec-esque posters of Singapore's neighborhoods
    Left: Iconic Singapore architecture, right: East Coast vintage travel poster
  • Meet the studio doing Toulouse-Lautrec-esque posters of Singapore's neighborhoods
    Isabella Eckart
If you're an avid fan of minimalist and vintage prints, you'll love Eck&Art design studio. From fine art prints of iconic shop houses in Singapore and vintage-style travel posters featuring the neighborhood of Bukit Timah to personalized busrolls, designers Isabella Eckart present Singapore beyond the glass of the famed Marina Bay Sands. Here they tell us more about getting inspiration from taking walks around the neighborhood and the recent favorite prints among locals.
 
What triggered the fascination with prints related to Singapore?
 
As expats, we have grown to love Singapore, its landmarks and its quirks. Our prints are a unique way to connect with Singapore. It's a kind of emotional insider connection. We do this in different ways. Our typographic canvases can be fully customized with the words that are meaningful to our customers. Our minimalist architectural prints capture the essence of Singapore's unique architectural styles. And our vintage-style travel posters are a tongue-in-cheek homage to Singapore's insider destinations and the very popular travel posters of the early 1900s.
 

Southeast Asia fine art print
 
What inspired you to produce the Singapore architectural icon series?
 
We are big fans of architecture and minimalist designs. The inspiration came from many walks around Chinatown to see the beautiful shop houses, Mount Pleasant Road to catch a glimpse of hidden black & white bungalows and Tiong Bahru's distinctive streamline moderne style. 
 

Iconic Singapore architectural styles fine art print
 
How do you decide on the architectures and neighborhood icons to be featured in your prints?
 
We wanted to look beyond the glass and steel of Marina Bay to capture the essence of Singaporean architectural styles.  There are many prints that show Marina Bay Sands or the Singapore skyline. We wanted to be different. To complete our series, we added the "brutalist" style of the HDB housing blocks and the art deco style shophouse. It's great fun to spot the characteristics of the art deco style around town such as the flag poles on top of many shophouses.
 
What do you hope to express or capture in your vintage travel posters?
 
We want to capture "destinations" that Singapore-insiders will appreciate. You cannot get a vintage-style travel poster of Bukit Timah Road anywhere else. We want to express the emotions that are associated with the destination we capture. In our East Coast poster for instance, we tried to capture the dramatic skies, the tranquil cargo ships anchored offshore, the skyline in a distance and the SIA A380 returning home to Changi. 
 

East Coast vintage travel poster
 
Most of your works are vintage prints; why do you prefer this artistic style?
 
It's a big design trend. Interior design has become more eclectic in recent years allowing the old and the new to harmonise. Personally, I've always liked poster art. The saturated colors, the typography and the large size are lots of fun. Even as a kid I distinctly remember trying to copy Toulouse-Lautrec's famous Moulin Rouge poster of 1891.  
 
Is there any particular artistic style that you use in creating personalized artworks?
 
For our personalized canvases, we focus on a typographic style that is inspired by "busrolls". Before buses and trams had electronic displays, they used rolls of a type of cloth on which the destinations were printed and rolled to display as the bus drove along its route. Vintage-enthusiasts and clever interior designers discovered these rolls at antique markets and realised that when displayed on a wall, such rolls look very cool. With our personalized busrolls, our customers can define the "destinations" they want displayed. Many of our customers capture the places where they lived or their favourite vacation spots. We even made a design once as a gift for a customer's husband with a list of his favourite surf spots. 
 

Left: Bukit timah vintage travel poster, Right: Busroll personalized canvas
 
Which is the most popular or bestselling print you've done?
 
The last few weeks have been very good for us as many of our customers bought prints ahead of the summer holidays or for friends who are leaving Singapore. We had an overwhelming response to our vintage travel poster series. I would say the Bukit Timah print and the East Coast print have been most popular recently. Overall, our Southeast Asia map has been very popular. This is super motivating and fun! We have some new prints in the pipeline that we will release after the summer and we can't wait to hear what our customers think about them.

 

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