Tiles help you achieve the look you want for your home or commercial space and Hafary Gallery is where you will find your inspiration. The gallery is designed to encourage your imagination as you take a dream-like journey through a series of carefully crafted spaces
A walk through Hafary Gallery’s showroom is very much like a walk through an art gallery. The difference is that there are no velvet ropes separating you from the art pieces; instead, you are encouraged to touch and feel the “exhibits” — tiles in every shape, size, colour, and pattern. This is a veritable playground for architects, designers, and homeowners looking for ideas for their next renovation.
A showcase of large-format porcelain slabs, the Hafary Gallery spans up to 43,000 sq ft with the addition of the new floor. The showroom demonstrates the ability of this revolutionary material to perform in full residential and commercial environments.
Designed and conceptualised by award-winning ar- chitecture firm Park+Associates, the new Hafary Gallery is designed to provide an immersive experience that encourages creativity and imagination. Visitors enter and go on a dream-like journey through a series of carefully crafted experiential spaces with elements of fantasy and surrealism.
Indeed, a walk through the gallery has been described as Alice falling through the rabbit hole that leads to all sorts of amazing adventures in the beloved children’s novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Caroll.
Just as Alice’s adventures begin with the rabbit, mine starts with Jackson Tay, chief operating officer of Hafary Holdings. In a statement, Tay says: “Design is for everyone. We believe that the concept and the material offerings of this new showroom can inspire designers, architects, and homeowners to look beyond the traditional function of tiles and stones as mere surface coverings.”
There’s that play on logic that is peppered through Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland where things seem to be different from what they should be. First, a sliding door that looks like one of those found in a speakeasy bar opens to the Instagrammable Entrance Pavilion, a place so serene and silent that it shuts out the noises from the outside. The zen atmosphere invites you to admire the design elements at a leisurely pace.
Here, Tay points out the various tiled sunbreak or partitions inspired by Peranakan homes of the past, where the holes in the screens allow air to circulate. “While we are not sure how extensively you want to renovate, we present ideas that you can use. We try to make it unconventional as well, such as how these sunscreens can be used as sitting benchtops, planters, and shelves,” he explains.
The Hall of Tiles shows that tiles need not be simply floor or wall coverings: Think of them as standalone pieces of installation – framed as sculptural pieces that surprise any visitor to your space
That is one of the recurring messages throughout the gallery, where tiles are used in the most unconventional manner. The Entrance Pavilion seamlessly leads into the Hall of Tiles where, as Tay points out: “We try to ‘throw in’ the big pieces to let you discover how all the big-format tiles are being used.” The theme is one of lush fauna and flora printed on huge slabs of tiles. The very on-trend nature theme is an easy way to elevate your home without the use of wallpaper, coupled with easy maintenance — simply wipe the tiles clean with a soft cloth. If the nature theme is not for you, you can opt for any design you want and it will be done to your requirements.
As you leave the Hall of Tiles, you are led to a fork in your journey: you can choose the commercial or residential areas. We turn left and find ourselves in the villa, which is done up like a Good Class Bungalow.
The bathrooms feature tiles on the floor and basins made of sintered stone from Lapitec. The sintered stone, Ebano Vesuvio, is from Lapitec’s Essenza collection which features all monochromatic colours. The finish, Vesuvio, is a structured finish created when the slab is shaped and baked, before being refined using a special mechanical brushing technique. This process makes the finish perfect for any other application requiring unique and original performance, whether indoors or outdoors.
Bathrooms can be sanctuaries with warm hues of stones and tiles
At The Mansion, bedrooms are made to look rustic, with tiles that look like warm wood. Even paintings are not what they seem; for example, there are two “paintings” of Iris Apfel, the 100-year-old interior design and fashion icon.
The bathroom features a seamless countertop, but these porcelain tiles can be used for a myriad of other things too. Tay says: “Application of the porcelain slabs include but are not limited to astonishing wall and floor surfaces, countertops, furniture and façade. In fact, the application possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination.”
Spanning up to 3.2m in length, the large size of the porcelain slabs allows for a virtually seamless tiled space with bare minimal grout lines. Aesthetically, the large size enhances the environment by offering visual continuity, creating the illusion of a bigger space when installed.
The material also increases the scale and style of porcelain tiles to be on par or even beyond that of natural marble (or stone) slabs. This opens up a whole new world of application possibilities as you can enjoy the benefits of porcelain with design effects that rival that of natural material — the elegance and sophistication of marble, the simplicity and strength of concrete, the dramatic effects of metal, and the charm of the stone.
In the kitchen area, Florim Stone is used on the countertops, and cabinet doors are fitted with large-format porcelain slabs from Gigacer.
To take a closer look at the material, you are encouraged to pull out the numerous drawers and wall hangings that will clearly give you an idea of how you can turn your home into a living space that suits your taste.
After we finish admiring The Mansion, we head to the commercial section where we pass by three cubed displays for commercial purposes. The one that catches my attention is the very rustic tile that features peeling paint — very much like the ones you find outside an old shophouse anywhere in Singapore’s back lanes.
From here, an open courtyard features a seating area where, when dine-in restrictions are lifted, you can catch your breath and rethink your design ideas. Just beyond a hotel-like counter, you enter the world of commercial ideas such as hotel bedroom designs.
Through the arched walkway, we find ourselves in a lobby area where surfaces are made extraordinary with marble and stone in what can only be described as an exciting combination of materials that are paired with a palette of hues in gloss and matt finishes.
The small but cosy Hotel Rooms showcase how the use of muted tones and tiles, together with pops of colour, can bring any space alive. Of note is one wall that is decorated with terrazzo against a burnt sienna hue. From here, we circle back to the open courtyard where rest is much needed, with a newly acquired knowledge on the many and varied uses of tiles and how they are not relegated to just bathrooms and kitchens. If there is one thing that Hafary Gallery has taught me, it is to expect the unexpected, and interior design, when done with the right type of tiles, can be turned into a work of art.
Hafary is the only supplier in Southeast Asia that distributes Antolini, which is a range of natural and exotic stones such as Patagonia, Corteccia, and more, which you will find at The Stone Gallery by Hafary. All of Antolini’s stone has been perfected through Italian tradition and expertise. The result is beauty, perfection, and natural harmony with the built environment.
The Antolini Vacuum Process is a revolutionary process for the natural stone sector that, through the use of the most innovative vacuum technologies, strengthens the entire thickness of the slab by using special resins of the highest quality, specifically and exclusively made for Antolini.
Here is a simple tile guide from www.yourhomeandgarden.co.nz on redecorating your home.
1. Think about the style of your home. Have a look through magazines and online for images of tiles you like. Try not to go against the style of your home — instead, work with it.
2. Small-sized tiles are usually suited to small residential areas such as kitchens, bathrooms, and toilets.
3. Large tiles make a room feel larger and airier. Using floor tiles on the walls will make the space seem more cohesive, but you can’t use wall tiles on the floor. A floor tile will have a harder glaze and will be made of harder materials to withstand traffic. In a small room, light-coloured tiles will make the space feel bigger. If you have a large room, you have more options: you can choose from light to dark tiles.
4. Consider the general feel you want to achieve in the room you are tiling — serene and relaxing or moody and atmospheric? Unless you have a feature area such as a splashback, tiles aren’t normally the focus of a room, but they can complement other design features of a room. In a bathroom, you might want a restful relaxing setting, so go for colours that blend well together. In a kitchen, you might want a more vibrant option, so choose colours that contrast.
5. Don’t forget the importance of choosing the right grout colour. A contrasting grout will emphasise lines and the design, while grout that complements the colour of the tiles will give a subtle effect. Ensure your grouted areas are sealed to prevent staining.
6. Choosing between matt or a polished finish is a personal decision. A glazed tile is easy to clean, whereas a natural terracotta tile has no glaze and would need a seal to stop staining from occurring.
7. A glossy tile will suit a dark space as it reflects more light, as does a lighter colour.
8. Ensure that whatever you choose in one room flows with the rest of your home’s style.