13 museum-shop products you’d want to have

The backpack is mine.

I love going to museums. It’s one of the things I miss doing, actually. And it doesn’t matter if I’ve been to one multiple times – I’d still want to go back.

One area I always end up in after staring endlessly at the exhibitions is the museum shop. It’s cool to see pieces inspired by the artefacts I just admired practically a few minutes ago.

(I must admit, they’re kinda expensive, though. 😬 And I tend to go for products that I will definitely use, and not those that are just for display.)

One museum – and one museum shop – that appeals to the design and cute-stuff fan in me is the Red Dot Design Museum and its design shop in Singapore.

Red Dot Design Museum
See what I mean?

The boutique museum is located at the Waterfront Promenade in Marina Bay, and houses over 200 design works as well as a design shop, café and bar.

It’s what visitors and design enthusiasts would come to expect from the physical space that represents the Red Dot Design Award, one of the most prestigious and well-known design awards in the world.

Sadly, it’s been a long time since I last came. I’d say it’s about time for a visit… the moment I can manage a trip. 😔

But instead of me just wishing for a glimpse of their selection and wondering how intricate and crafty the items are, I decided to ask Carrie Lim, Red Dot Design Museum’s general manager, for her museum-shop experiences – and the products that have impressed her the most. It’ll feed my imagination... for now.

#1 The Petit Qoobo

“This was a recent addition to our collection,” she says.

“It’s a robotic cushion that acts just like a kitten. It will wag its tail when you give it some love (hug it or stroke it), and it reacts to sounds too! The interaction is strangely therapeutic. The Petit Qoobo has also won the Red Dot Design Award in 2021.”

This actually caught my eye and made me laugh, but I bet my dogs will rip it to shreds the moment they see it. 😁

Petit Qoobo
If you need a cuddle

#2 The Cyclomatus Backpack

This one is AMAZING. My eyes went wide – I love beetles! 😊

Kofta Cyclomatus Backpack

“It’s a backpack shaped like a stag beetle,” Carrie describes. “It is extremely lifelike and makes a powerful fashion statement.”

Not only that, “The Cyclomatus Backpack is part of the Kofta SS18 Imago series, which has also won the Red Dot Design Award in 2019.”

This one’s definitely a winner in my book. 🏆 (Although the price tag might make you pause. Yikes.)

Yes, pause

I’m not a shop owner, but I do believe that you should include things that speak to you, and hopefully to other people too. But since we’re talking about the Red Dot Design Museum, and the Red Dot Design Award, curating is essential.

“When we think about products to present, whether in-store or online, it is often a consideration of different elements – the design of the product, the emotional content, etc,” Carrie says.

“We are drawn to products that we would want to purchase ourselves or for friends, that create delight and wonderment. Being able to give visitors to our store an experience of delight and wonderment is important to us.”

Doing some “research” on the side is a perk too. 😊 “We like to check out our local design labels and shops. Many of them offer interesting and well-crafted products,” she adds.

“One of my favourite events to go to is the Boutique Fairs, where you can discover many impressive pieces from established and new labels.”

Nice. After all, finding something that’s not just a display piece, but is also long-lasting and incredibly useful, is key – as well as a good investment. “Good design, when you understand what it’s intended for, it will naturally occur to you where or to whom this object should belong,” Carrie states.

Product rundown

I’m curious then. Out of all the standout items in the shop, which one is Carrie partial to? (Maybe we’ll also get a few ideas.)

Here are her choices, and I have to agree with them. 👍

#1 An all-round gift that anyone would love to receive: The Sail Away Desk Mobile

With its swaying and gentle movement, “people appreciate that”, she says.

#2 A statement-making display piece for the home: The Banker's Desk Lamp

Me: This is a classic, and it brings me back to times spent at the library, and studying.

#3 Unique for its simplicity: The I AM Card Case

Me: It’s quite handy if you just need to step out and need to bring your cards with you.

#4 Quite genius: The Ostrichpillow Original Napping Pillow

Me: It looks funny but it’s part of its charm. Carrie guarantees that “it works” and will help give you a comfy nap, whether you’re at your desk or on a sofa. But just imagine people’s reactions at the airport or train. 😁

#5 An absolute personal favourite: The Lil Mib Recording Device

Me: Yes, we can just easily call or text someone. 🙂 But if you want to make sure the person gets the message (or if you want to drive home a point), record your note and leave the rather amusing-looking box where they can easily see it. Don’t forget to raise the red flag!

Lil Mib Recording Device
Don't steal the messenger

#6 More to it than meets the eye: The Classic Lumio Book Lamp

Me: It’s a book… nope, it’s a lamp – a chargeable one that comes with pegs and a leather strap. Open it up when you need light, or close it up and store it when you don’t.

#7 Timeless: The Shallows Crystal Vase

Me: This feels zen – perfect for those who want “simple” and “plants” in one product (like me). The water looks like it’s about to spill, but I encourage you to discover why it hasn’t, or doesn’t. 😊

Here’s mine

It’s hard to pick just a few. Then again, I don’t know about you, but I’d also be pretty happy with these.

#1 1/100 Architectural Model

Setting these up is a calming exercise, one where you’ll have a pretty reward at the end. Worth the effort.

#2 Tofu Server

These spoons are hand-made by a Kyoto craftsman using unique patterns and techniques. It makes eating and serving tofu an experience (something you won’t hear quite often).

Kanaami Tsuji Tofu Server
Gentle scoop

#3 Miniature Concrete Home

I love anything miniature as well as miniature homes, so I can probably stare at and experiment with this all day.

#4 Micro Concrete Earrings

Accessories made of concrete… now why didn’t I think of that? 😊

Oh well. 🙂 Till my next museum and museum-shop adventure. 🛍

Find the Red Dot Design Museum, and their online design store, here. Check them out on Facebook and Instagram too.