What to check out if you’re heading down to District Design Dialogue

Last weekend (Mar 10-11) saw the launch of Singapore Design Week’s inaugural District Design Dialogue (DDD)—an artsy, dynamic open house tour in Chip Bee Gardens. 10 vacant terrace houses were loaned for the event, painted on and fully transformed to house art, retail, food and music in a large-scale block party. If OH! Open House and last year’s New Majestic Hotel party were to have a baby, this would be it.

The self-guided tour takes you through the Jalan Kelabu Asap stretch, in an effort to bring more attention to the real-life, homegrown artists who live in the area. Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and DDD will run for one last time this weekend, Mar 17-18. If you’re itching to go down but want to minimize contact with humankind as much as possible, here are our five favorite houses to nip in and out of for the best of the tour.

House of Eyeyah

Conceptualized as a T-shirt exhibition for kids, the house more closely resembles a walk-in fantasy land dreamt up and doodled by cartoon prodigies. The walls and ceiling are covered with hyper-color imagery contributed by over 30 artists from around the world; if you like what you see, child-size T-shirts in the same prints are available to purchase. Still, the retail is a small part of the house; interactive exhibitions on both floors were designed in accordance with the theme “The Internet”—such as a smartphone jail cell, a multi-medium critique on children using smart devices, and a Where’s Waldo-esque VR experience. You will take pictures.

The Stage (Music House)

Glen Wee

Fans of homegrown music will appreciate this house, which has dedicated its entire first floor to a program of local musicians. Catch acoustic sessions by the likes of Glen Wee, Adia Tay, Abby Simone and DJ Zig Zach—or head upstairs, where an immersive installation by creative duo Ritz/Yang invites you to dine, while toying quite literally with the idea of having a taste for music. Make your reservation via DM at @thereservationsroom before they’re fully booked.

The Library (Literature House)

Flock here, book lovers! #BuySingLit may be over, but the literary fun continues with Sing Lit Station taking up residency at The Library. Specifically, Writer-in-Residence Daryl Yam (who committed to moving into a room upstairs) will be on-site 24/7 to start conversations, talk books, manage the pop-up retail bookshop of design and art books by Basheer Graphic Books; and just live, basically. Cushions make it a cozy place for bookworms to just browse, but if you like your literature more interactive, one poet/playwright a week will be invited onstage to read and perform. There’s Pooja Nansi, Helen Oyeyemi, Deborah Emmanuel—and only 10 available seats per session.

Sole Superior’s House Party

Forget the endless queues at the annual Sole Superior Zouk sales—the premier sneaker and streetwear convention comes to the Holland Village neighborhood for chilled out vibes and stress-free shopping. Sneakerhead co-founder Jonathan Fong and Dexter Tan will be selling pieces from their personal collection, along with coveted merchandise from Sole Superior collaborations, and other local labels. There might even be beer if you’re in luck.

The Kitchen (Food House)

On top of the pop-up F&B vendors scattered throughout the tour route, there’s The Kitchen, dishing up gourmet eats that shine a spotlight on design in food. If you’ve got the time, sign up for a workshop in tea appreciation or cocktail mixology; or sit down for a pop-up dinner by Blackwattle’s Joeri Timmermans (happening Mar 15, tickets here) or MasterChef Asia winner Woo Wai Leong. Food stations by Kabuke, Spatula & Whisk, Haagen-Dazs and Hendrick’s Gin will also be on hand to feed you before/during/after your arduous tour.

District Design Dialogue takes place Mar 17-18 at Jalan Kelabu Asap, Chip Bee Gardens. More information here