Tour: Afterglow

Upcycled furniture, repurposed items, and customised furnishings take centre stage in this space. They are all part of the cause to promote sustainable lifestyle in Singapore.

Updated on August 10, 2017 16:08 pm

Jerni Camposano

review and tour of afterglow by anglow

upcycled furnitures at afterglow by anglow

dried flowers interior decor at afterglow by anglow deli and bar

Sustainability is not just a state of mind, it is a way of life. It should not be another fad; it is meant to be lived by and practiced every day.

Almost a year ago in the up-and-coming happening area of Keong Saik Road, a lifestyle concept store opened its doors to promote farm-to-table vegetarian food and drum awareness on healthier dining choices. Afterglow by Anglow operates as a deli by day and turns into a bar after hours. But it isn't like any run-of-the-mills food outlets in Singapore. It is, in fact, far from being usual.

raw food and vegan food at afterglow by anglow deli and bar

"We serve mainly vegetarian food whereby half the menu is well curated to offer raw food and vegan options. With our vision of eating clean and with sustainable living as our brand, Afterglow wants to be a business that supports these causes," says Carmen Low, one of the two creative geniuses behind Afterglow. "It's all about sustainable food, eating food that's good for you, apart from the focus on raw food."

unique upcycled furnishings at afterglow by anglow deli and bar

The whole design philosophy of Afterglow is about making everything sustainable—including its interiors.

"Everything you see here—the food you eat, the tables and chairs you are sitting on—I can tell you the story of how it was conceived. Everything here has a story. It's not just about the food. It's a community, a lifestyle," adds Carmen.

The coffee cart that greets visitors by the entrance is made mainly from recycled wood planks and was built with the help of local artists. This rustic beauty provides creature comforts in the form of coffee and tea to Afterglow's growing base of customers.

The tables and benches are also made from recycled materials. The pipe-inspired legs make these tables look eclectic and one-of-a-kind. You can even increase or decrease the height of the tables by adjusting the poles.

rustic and scandinavian table setting

wooden tray and coasters at afterglow by anglow deli and bar

Afterglow also wonderfully demonstrates how a well-styled table vignette can jazz up a space. Tables peppered with charming knick-knacks give customers a myriad of choices for their Instagram post. Noticed how cute and quirky the wooden coasters are?

Carmen says these table stunners were created for them by a designer friend who owns an online furniture shop. "We told him we wanted to use these discarded woods so he made stuff for us to use in the restaurant."

piping wall lights injects personality in the interior of the place

A walk farther down the restaurant will give you a glimpse of the many more interesting details randomly splashed across the space: a brick wall that serves as a backdrop for a light-and-pipe display, bicycles that call the ceiling and wall their parking slots, industrial-style pendant lights, among others.

The decision to have an open space adjacent to the kitchen was an obvious choice for Carmen, who wants Afterglow to be a space where conversations take place. "A lot of people tell me why don't I put tables and chairs up there. We decided we don't want to because we want our customers to walk there and talk to the chef when they love the food or have questions about it."

Carmen compares the experience to being in a friend's home where you're comfortable enough to take a trip to the kitchen and check out the food being prepared. "Afterglow is not just a place for transaction. We want interaction because that's what food is all about. Vegetarian-based food is not as everybody seems it to be so I want them to ask questions," muses Carmen.

authentic coffee at afterglow

More than just a regular hangout place, Afterglow provides an avenue for enthusiasts and passionate individuals to exchange knowledge and information on sustainable lifestyle through workshops and events.

Afterglow has also become a go-to place for people looking for eco-friendly items. Carmen relates, "A lot of young people embrace this lifestyle. We work very closely with a social enterprise organisation in Thailand. Both our companies work together to help the farmers in the really poor regions in Thailand to sell their produce. Everything is about packaging for this generation so we love the design philosophy of our Thai partner, whose owner used to be a creative director and a lecturer for a design school there."

countertop made of discarded wood pallets at afterglow

So what's the design element that is closest to Carmen's heart? "The countertop," she says, her eyes lighting up. "Aesthetically, it may not be the best one but it has the most meaning. This is built from discarded wood pallets, a form of packaging for brittle or heavy machinery items. We went down to the shipyard, where there are a lot of pallets for an import-export business. We told them not to throw them away because there is still something we can do with them."

Pallets ready to be thrown to the trash were repurposed into a countertop, thanks to a vision and a few polishing touches. "It's the soul of this place," gushes Carmen.

"I think for people who are not trained in design, we design things according to what we like. But we have to remember it's also about functionality," she says. "It's very important for Afterglow to have beautiful interiors because this is not just a place where you come in, grab something to eat, then move on. We're promoting a lifestyle. We want to have a sense of community where there is discovery of new things."

Photos by Alexa Lim

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