Here are Singapore’s best luxury experiences

Singapore is a sovereign city state Southeast Asia that  is increasingly becoming one of the most important global hubs for the luxury tourism for many reasons. It has gained important distinctions: as the most technological nation, world’s smartest city, as one of the world’s safest and cleanest countries,  and third largest financial center with the third-highest GDP per capita worldwide. This makes it one of the  most appreciated places to spend a vacation. So what are the most luxurious things that you can’t miss in Singapore?

1. Hotellerie

Regarding the hotellerie you can’t miss the opportunity to stay at Marina Bay Sands Hotel, on the Bay of Singapore. It was designed by architect Moshe Safdie and is the most expensive resort ever built,  at a cost of 8 billion Singapore dollars. With a casino, more than 300 retail stores and more than 80 restaurants ( including top chefs such as the Gordon Ramsey and Wolfgang Puck) it represents the perfect hotel for the shopping- and food-addicted. What makes the hotel special is the world’s largest rooftop infinity pool at the 57th floor where you can swim at a height of 200 meters and relax in the shade of a palm tree.



2. Dining

If you would like to have a dining experience outside the box you should go to Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice & Noodle Hawker stand in Singapore.

Here you will have the opportunity of eating a luxury food but in a traditional contest such as the hawker center. A hawker center is an open air complex housing many stalls that sell a variety of inexpensive food, starting from $1 with a maximum of $25. What makes this stall special is the fact that it sells cheap food, and in 2016 had received a Michelin star.  Here you can taste just one dish, a chicken with rice and soya sauce, with a price of 2 Singapore dollars (3 Euro).  During the years the recipe has always remained the same, handed down from father to daughter. 



3. Shopping

Orchard Road is the perfect location for shopping in Singapore, a two-kilometres stretch of road named after the fruit orchards or the plantations that were common in this area in the 19th century. With thousands of shops, the most important mall is Tangs, founded in 1934 and established on Orchard Road in the 1950s. Orchard Central is a mall with an exterior featuring local artist Matthew Ngui’s digital art membrane. 




Eataly CEO Farinetti’s TEDx talk examines a new definition of luxury

TEDx is an independent program connected to  TED TALKS (Acronym for Technology, Entertainment and Design), a non-profit organization that started in California over 30 years ago. These talks are a diverse way to express new ideas in smaller cities or to share them to small groups of people. The main aim is to inspire and motivate discussions about a specific topic, with each talk lasting a maximum of eighteen minutes.


Last November 10th, my hometown Treviso was given the opportunity to host a Tedx. The main topic of the event was rediscovering humanity in a period marked by technological discoveries: Psyche versus  Technè. Psyche represented emotions and the nature of humanity (human feelings), whereas Technè represented art, a production of the spirit and human intelligence, strictly linked to technology (Inventions). The main objective of the talks was to convince the audience to start asking themselves about life and feel emotions once again, especially considering the era in which we live where everything is affected by technology and we no longer think for ourselves.

One of the most important speakers  was Oscar Farinetti,  CEO of Eataly. Farinetti is known for having created the first luxury supermarket to promote the excellence of  Italian product s worldwide. In the last  ten years he had opened more than 40 sales points, 22 in Italy and 18 abroad (including Seoul, San Paolo, the United States, Japan, Dubai, Moscow, Istanbul and Monaco). Today, he is trying to go public on the stock exchange. From the old format of promoting cuisine via for example the food hall, he ventured out to a more innovative showplace for Italian food and wine. Farinetti’s  main point  was the ability to copy – the ability to copy from a great idea. It made me understand  how all the important luxury companies, such as Gucci, are really only copying from the old  archives of the past (for  example,   Alessandro Michele of Gucci with the Richard Ginori archives). Old archives where  human emotions are  strongly linked to the product, in an era when it was  difficult to do things due to lack of  technology.


According to Farinetti “We all have a biodiversity that we didn’t decide to have. We didn’t decide where to be born, when and into which family and this is the magnificence of our imperfection.”  I believe  this is what brought about Farinetti ‘s success, his ability to think outside the box and not obsess over perfection. What surprised me most was this different perception of luxury, the example of a new luxury. As he said in an interview: “Luxury, as most people think of it, is a concept that bores me.  But Eataly can be considered a luxury experience, if you look at it from two different perspectives — respect and time — which to me represents the new frontier of luxury.” With the term respect, he means in terms of our relationship with the planet. “As for the other element-time — this is the biggest luxury there is. The idea of being able to use your time as you please.”

A Luxury Crowdfunding experience in Kickstarter

A unique example of Luxury experience business for me was the Crowdfunding. “Crowdfunding is a way of raising money to finance projects and businesses. It enables fundraisers to collect money from a large number of people via online platforms”. This system brings together a variety of backers/investors and entrepreneurs who want to sponsor the product. In this manner, a person who would like to sponsor his/her product has the chance to look for many investors on a single platform and to earn a few dollars or thousands of dollars, depending on how much the product is valued.


One of the most popular and famous crowdfunding websites is Kickstarter. The company was created in 2008 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler and the motto for their website was and still is: “Help bring creative projects to life”. Nowadays, more than 141,036 projects have been successfully funded with pledges of more than 3.5 billion dollars, and 14,382,333 million total backers have sponsored the products.
With crowdfunding we can discuss a unique example of e-commerce because any one person can buy or sponsor his/her own product simultaneously, which is not possible if we think about the most famous e-commerce websites such as Amazon. On these websites a person can only buy a product. I have personally felt the effect of e-commerce from the creation of my product called Eskak. Eskak is the first Luxury model of modular 3d-assembled chess pieces which were developed by myself and my business partner. The chessboard and pawns are made of natural plywood, and have been carved using the latest generation laser machine and then refined through a process of filing and elimination of the excess wood.


By placing it in Kickstarter, we were suddenly face-to-face with the many rules and regulations which inhabit the e-commerce/crowdfunding world. On the website, a person who would like to get their product sponsored must first choose their funding goal. The funding goal consists of the amount of money that a creator needs to successfully complete their product. Secondly, the person must choose the time limit for acquiring this money (from 1 to 60 days). The creators of the website suggest choosing the “30 day” option because the fewer the days, the more likelihood of achieving the desired goal. 


What makes Kickstarter a particularly catchy platform is its functioning method. Kickstarter is based on the rule of all or nothing. If a project does not reach the pre-established goal, the funds do not get collected and the backers will not receive the product. In this manner both parties are protected, and the risks are minimized.


In this commercial chain, there are two different parties: the backers who pledge the money in order to allow the creation and the sale of the product, and the creator who is the person behind the specific product. The creator also decides the funding goal and the rewards that he/she will sell. The rewards are the representation of sharing a piece of a product with the backers. Similar to the arrangements of a website such as Amazon, the rewards are usually limited editions to entice buyers to acquire a product that they will only find on this platform for a short period of time. As all the websites that offer these opportunities, Kickstarter applies a fee: a 5% fee for the collected funds and approximately 3-5% for the fees to process the payment.

Francesco De Leo


Picture 1,2,3,4: Francesco De Leo

Artemest gives luxury artisans a global platform

Artemest is an Italian e-commerce website for handmade luxury items, the first Italian online marketplace to curate and sell design products made by local artisans. In 2018 the company was awarded recognition as “Innovator of the year” by advertising agency WPP. This startup provides a global platform for the excellence of Italian craftsmanship and Made in Italy luxury items. Through this website an Italian artisan can sponsor their product and gain much greater commercial visibility.

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The company was created by Ippolita Rostagno (Creative director) and Marco Credendino (Executive director). They have built a platform connecting more than four hundred artisans and with new customers, for an average website monetary transaction of 1600 dollars. The website highlights the skills and talent of the artisans, assimilated over years of studying and experimentation, a history that has been passed down in families from generation to generation.

Ippolita was born in Florence. When she was young she lived in an artistic environment, thus having first hand-experience of the often difficult reality of the Italian artisans.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have built a successful craft based business in the United States, and I wanted to share my knowledge with other fellow artisans in Italy who do not have the wherewithal to flourish in today’s globalized internet economy,” she said in an interview.  Ippolita describes her frustration at how artisans were unable to compete at a global level because of lack of access to retail channels, which led the two Italian entrepreneurs to launch their startup in June 2015.

The website offers products that represent Italy’s diverse areas of expertise in Italy, ranging from x to y to z. Any shopper looking for Made in Italy luxury items like Murano glass from Venice and gold jewelry from the goldsmiths of Florence, just to mention a few, would have an easy time finding them online. But Italian craftsmanship does not stop there. Italy has one of the largest cultural heritages in the world. For this reason the idea inspiring the artisans is to preserve Italian strengths, and not become part of a system based on mass production, as in the case of other American and Chinese e-commerce websites such as Amazon and Alibaba. They want to stand out from the crowd, stand out from the production of poor quality items.


In Artemest there are no big brand names, just simple people who would like to show everyone their love for art in general. The artisans who create the product are chosen after a rigorous selection. Product quality control is a top priority. An expert in the field checks every single product and then decides if it can be included as an authentic representation of Italian craftsmanship in the world.

Private customers account for 30% of the revenue, coming from the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia; and 70% of the actual revenue is from American customers, who have become regulars of the website. 

 Artemest has set it sights on expansion, and recently received 4 million euros in new financing to achieve its goal. As the executive director Marco Credendino Artemest said, “It is going to widen its horizons by collaborating with a holding company from Hong Kong”. Entering the Chinese market where the e-commerce and internet penetration is so advanced is the surest way to promote Italian excellence abroad. The fact that there are not many local stores selling these sorts of specialized luxury products is an incentive to develop a business-to-consumer business.

Francesco De Leo

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