Open House was the brainchild of local curator Alan Oei and Deutsche Bank's Oliver Bettin, a Managing Director in Global Markets, who was inspired after he opened up his home to an artist to use as her studio. “The whole idea was to let people view and appreciate art in real living spaces and not just museums and studios,” said Bettin while talking about the origin of OH!.
The first Open House took place in a row of pre-war shop-houses along Niven Road, Singapore in December 2009, drawing 700 people over three nights and moved on to Marine Parade and Tiong Bahru in following years. But the fourth version of the project moved from the heartlands (suburbs) to the central business district, with companies such as Deutsche Bank opening up their offices and board rooms for artists to display their work.
Spread over first three weekends of January 2013, OH! Marina Bay conducted guided tours of the artwork for the public. Tours included an art walk-about within the new offices of DBS Bank, a lawyer’s office, the Marina Link Mall and Deutsche Bank's facilities in One Raffles Quay, featuring the works of 13 artists including Shubigi Rao, Phunk, Nguan, StudioKaleido, spell#7 and Mintio, among others. The overarching theme was The Happiness Index. Visitors to Deutsche’s offices in One Raffles Quay were also treated to Deutsche Singapore’s exclusive art work collection and a unique opportunity to see the Bank's trading floor.
"I thought Marina Bay was all office, glass, steel and mirrors. But there is a fascinating life beneath all that,” said Alan Oei, co-founder and curator of Open House, while speaking to the media.
The event was well received by the 2000 visitors and media alike, with many visitors naming Deutsche as their favourite stop on the tour. "People were pleasantly surprised to see friendly security guards, the warm reception by Deutsche staff and artworks such as the love bomb. By opening up the trading floor and with volunteers from the Bank welcoming each group of visitors, we have helped demystify and add more transparency to what we do," said Bettin.
Visitors included popular film and TV artists, and key public figures. Among them was Jane Ittogi, Chair of the Singapore Art Museum and wife of Deputy Prime Minister, Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Ms. Ittogi commended the Bank for being an outstanding corporate citizen, and for its long-standing commitment and contributions to the art scene in Singapore.
Ronny Tan, Chief Country Officer for Deutsche Bank in Singapore, described how OH! Marina Bay aligns with Deutsche's other programmes supporting local communities. “Beside promoting art in the community and supporting emerging artists in the region, this is a great way for us to connect with society, and for the public to get to know the Bank in an interesting and different way,” he said.