With an emphasis on affordable luxury and nostalgia, Ipse Ipsa Ipsum brings a unique twist to the local furniture scene.
When store owner Saurabh Mangla first started running Ipse Ipsa Ipsum from a studio at the National Design Centre in 2016, he realised shortly after that he was going to need more space.
“We were in a compact studio, about 400 square feet, and when people came in to browse our collection, they had to view it on a projector,” recalls the brand’s Creative Head – who is also known as Sam from his furniture brand, Sam and Sara. "We needed a space to display these pieces in real life."
Fast forward to today, and Ipse Ipsa Ipsum (which is Latin for ‘himself, herself, itself’) now occupies a prized spot in local furniture shopping hot spot Tan Boon Liat Building.
Enter the 4,200 square foot store, and you will find an understated, black-and-grey retail space that (rightfully) puts the focus on a wide selection of glitzy pieces, from bespoke leather sofas to handcrafted bone inlaid sideboards.
But despite the upgrade, the brand’s founding philosophy of “Live the Ordinary Extraordinarily” remains steadfastly unchanged.
“The world is growing, and everyone is getting tired about buying mass-produced products, about owning the same thing. Ipse Ipsa Ipsum is for the people who want a point of difference in their homes,” says Saurabh.
“And what we offer to them are a play on nostalgia, an element of surprise, and also the option to customise; these are the three things from which the brand was conceived and continues to be grounded in today.”
A champion of traditional culture and affordable design
True to its values, Ipse Ipsa Ipsum’s offerings are indeed a rich blend of luxury, history, and professional design – all at a reasonable price.
Lavish materials like brass, marble, bone, leather as well as semiprecious stones feature strongly as customisable elements in Ipse Ipsa Ipsum’s pieces and can be handpicked from the Materials Library: a majestic, handcrafted bar counter at the heart of the store, which hides away finishing samples in its concealed shelves and drawers.
Says Saurabh: “We work with multiple materials that are at the higher end of the market. For instance, you can get a petrified wood dining table here at $6,500, admittedly pricey, but you’d be paying double or more than that elsewhere because of the material’s rarity… essentially, we are giving you a six-star experience for a three-star price, that’s our intention.”
Affordability aside, the store’s designs are also characterised by traits of Asian cultures. Take for example, the Nathan Yong Collection – Ipse ipsa Ipsum’s very first co-authored furniture line – which features curving silhouettes, inspired by the alcoves of the Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi.
Likewise, the Peranakan Moderne collection pays homage to Singapore’s rich Straits culture through an array of furniture and home accessories that incorporates elegant materials, such as bone, antique brass, and rose gold.
Working in conjunction with local designers, Jeremy Sun and Nicholas Paul, Saurabh found inspiration for all 10 of the collection’s pieces from artifacts on display at the Peranakan Museum, including floral print tiles as well as the traditional kebaya blouse-dress.
"Every collection has thought behind it, a philosophy, a story. So when people buy a piece from us, they bring a bit of that passion back it into their own homes and we hope that they can relate to that time and place it was inspired by," says Saurabh.
And that is what Ipse Ipsa Ipsum is all about: redefining today's living spaces with accessible, luxurious, and mindfully-designed furniture.
Ipse Ipsa Ipsum
315 Outram Road, #11-02 Tan Boon Liat Building, Singapore 169074