Being a massive ‘fan’ of Artbox’s Thailand edition (You can read my reviews where I can’t get enough of the beef – Sep 2015 & Dec 2016), I was really looking forward to the Singapore edition and yes I visited them 3 times on the first day – at 3PM, 5PM and 10PM.
This highly anticipated event was faced with an unlucky start – the weather.
The rain started about 2PM with a drizzle but by 3PM, it started pouring like crazy.
If you do intend to visit and the weather forecast predicts rain (Sadly, for the next 2 days – it will be Afternoon Thundery Showers), please do not forget an umbrella/raincoat and be prepared for your shoes (or feet if you’re wearing slippers/sandals) to get wet and dirty. I think rain boots or platform shoes/slippers will be a good choice as there are puddles of water everywhere due to the uneven ground.
The ‘good’ thing about visiting this place when it rains is that it will not be as crowded and the umbrellas are really pretty.
Good Replication of Artbox in Thailand
Carnival String Lights – Photo in Thailand
Carnival String Lights – Photo in Singapore
LED Alphabet Marquee – Bangkok
Photo in Singapore
Wooden Crates as seats on real grass – Thailand
Singapore – wooden crates on artificial turf
Sorry but I do not have a better photo as it was simply too crowded after that.
Note: the access up the ‘roof’ of the containers for Day 1 was only limited to the ‘Media’. I hope that they will allow public access from tomorrow onwards like how it is in Thailand.
They even brought over some art pieces from the Artbox edition at Chatuchak in Dec 2016.
Photo in Thailand (Taken in Dec 2016)
Photo in Singapore
Anyway, what was very upsetting about these potential photo spots was that there were random things placed in front of it. I’m not sure if it belongs to the organizers or the vendors but the random clutter was really unsightly. I hope they move it soon.
As promised, there were legit Shops from Thailand present in Artbox. I’m not sure about the numbers but we spotted a few.
Note: I spoke to one shop owner and they mention that they are only here for this weekend (it is the Songkran weekend). I’m not sure if there will still be as many thai vendors for the following weekend but let’s see.
Dancing Thai Milk Tea.. brewer?
There was also this stall selling something similar to chocolate banana pancake but after queuing for 10 mins, the owner informed us that it was sold out at about 10:30PM. If you do intend to visit Artbox for food, please be prepared to be patient and expect long queues for the more popular food/drinks. Price ranges from about $3 to $8 for drinks while food will cost between $5 to $25 depending on your choice of food (there are lobster, crab and beef choices). Similar to thailand, artbox is not a night market that will be friendly to your wallet. The prices here are definitely more expensive and you will just have to treat it as if you are paying for the ambiance and environment. (You’ve been warned so don’t complain =p)
I’m not sure how much more expensive are the things here in Singapore as compared to thailand but a tote bag like the one below costs $25 here. If I’m not wrong, it cost 350B in thailand so that makes it 64% more expensive but well, its affordable in Singapore terms so perhaps they will sell. I almost bought it but I couldn’t think of any occasion where I will need another pineapple bag.
Shop link: https://www.instagram.com/minimoons_
Note: Although they say that NETS is allowed, most vendors prefer accepting payment in CASH. There was one vendor which offered us a discount if we paid in CASH (you should be able to figure out why) so.. PLEASE JUST BRING CASH, AND LOTS OF IT.
Read some comments on Facebook and realise that NETS is charging vendors 4.5% transaction fees. This is quite high in comparison to their usual rates.
Found a really short ‘list’ of shops that will be joining for the event. Somehow I wonder if they were planning to do such a list, wouldn’t it be better if they compile a more comprehensive list? The Artbox in Thailand gives many exposure of the vendors on Facebook and Instagram channels but the number of posts I’ve seen of them is such a small percentage against the 300+ vendors.. Food for thought for their improvement, should they choose to hold another edition.
What could have been a lot better
Photo of re-modeled Shipping Containers for Artbox in Thailand
Unlike in Thailand where ex-Shipping Containers (above) were used for the stalls booth, Singapore’s edition only had 20 footer containers for the sponsors – MTV Asia, Hipvan and information counter. It would have been pretty expensive to remodel these containers just for a 2-weekend event so I guess I shouldn’t have expected more but still.. container-concept is like uniquely artbox and.. the tiny steel structures is such a poor replica.
Each shop (be it F&B or non-F&B) is only allocated a space of 2m by 2m (assuming they booked 1 booth) and this is extremely small as I thought the norm was 3m by 3m. Furthermore, the structure for the stalls were not the usual event Slope tentage. The ‘roofing’ was designed to look good (individual square banners with Artbox Logo Printing) but it became to be a total disaster when the rain came. Rainwater could seep through and if you were a vendor, you would probably be scrambling to keep things dry. The rain was crazy on day 1.
For that space, they will have to fork out $735 per weekend (non-F&B) and $750 per weekend (F&B). Since the weekend is 3 days, it averages out to about $245/day just to cover the rent. This is one of the more expensive flea market pricing I’ve ever seen but I guess with the extensive setup, location and publicity it is probably a fair price to pay.. or not?
Assuming they are fully subscribed, the organizers will be taking in $480,240 ($448,822 taking away 7% GST) for this event.
- F&B Booths – 132 * $750 * 2 weekends ($198,000)
- non-F&B Booths – 192 * $735 * 2 weekends ($282,240)
Please note that this number is only an estimate as there are probably discounts given to vendors that take up more than one booth or multiple weekends. However, as this event has many sponsors, there may be more revenue generated somehow and many costs can be sponsored too so.. it definitely sounds like a win-win to the
However, do note that this event has many sponsors so potentially many costs may have been sponsored which means that the organizers will probably be earning more?
(Sorry for digressing. I was just keen on finding out how much they could possibly earn)
Anyway, (digging through my old blogpost) I realised that Artbox Thailand was not as ambitious. They only had like 236 vendors + food trucks but here in Singapore, they squeezed more than 300 vendors in a much smaller area. #justsomethoughts
Space between the stalls
While it rained, this was what the widest food corridor looked like.
Note: there’s green turfing in the middle with wooden crates supposedly providing space for people to sit but the seats were never utilized as there wasn’t even enough standing space.. well, but at least in the thailand artbox, i did sit down on the crates and eat and drink the things i bought..
This was what it became when the rain stopped, in the same wider corridor at the food area. It was very difficult to identify the queues and the stationary crowd. You had to ask the last person in line (if you could see it) if you are joining the correct queue.
Container Toilets – did not have to use it when I was there but oh wells, the MBS toilets are just a short walk away.
Are you prepared for the crowds?
Anyway, don’t forget to head over to the DBS Live Fresh zone area where you may be able to receive an Artbox Singapore tote bag (worth $30) if you are:
- First 50 tertiary students (universities and polytechnics) per day to flash their student passes and DBS/POSB cards
Note: I received a free drink coupon from one of the stalls (Talad or something) but the queue was too long so I gave it up =/
The weather was really a bummer but let’s hope the forecast is wrong and that it will not rain the next two days!
Sorry for the poor quality photos and bad writing. It is currently 4:25 am right now and I rushed this post so people can know what they are in for before rushing down to the hippest place in Singapore this weekend. Not everyone likes crowd and not everyone don’t mind queueing up so if you still plan to visit, pray for good weather, bring an umbrella, an electronic portable fan (it gets really humid) and lots of cash.
Anyway, I’ve seen many comments of people saying that this is nothing compared to Artbox Thailand and that everyone should just fly to thailand for the real thing, IM SORRY TO DISAPPOINT YOU BECAUSE ARTBOX IS HEADING TO TAIWAN NEXT. Right now, there are no plans or announcements for the next Bangkok edition.
As annoying as it had been since 2015, Artbox is a pop-up flea market with NO confirmed dates/venue until their official announcement. They had moved to 4 different locations (since June 2015) If you had travelled to Thailand back in 2015-2017, you will have to be really lucky to meet the weekends.
In Bangkok alone, they relocated 4 times (since June 2015), staying approximately 3 months in each location. Furthermore, Artbox doesn’t happen every week (unlike the usual chatuchak or Train Market) and I guess that was what made that special, unique and popular. You got to be really lucky (well I was) to be in Bangkok on an Artbox-weekend.
Anyway, they will be heading over to TAIWAN next, if the information on www.artbox.sg is accurate. No idea if they sold the brand away or are they working on a collab with the Thai side. We shall see!
Anyway you can read more about their plans, hopes and promises (dated Apr 7) in this link – http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/lifestyle/feature/shop-artisanal-chill-tuck-in