Singapore design firm The Scientist employs colours and patterns in clever ways to create an elegant home for a well-travelled family.
With iconic public buildings such as Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, celebrated Israeli architect Moshe Safdie has clearly made his mark on Singapore’s skyline. He has also lent his creative touch to housing projects, one of them being The Edge—a 20-storey luxury condominium on Cairnhill Road.
His humanistic views on spatial design and contextual relevance are well-known. Here, they manifest in the plan of three individual towers linked in the centre to maximise privacy for the units and accord each apartment a 180-degree view of the city. Floor-to-ceiling glazing edged by exterior metal sunshades ensures residents enjoy the surrounding greenery in cool comfort. Most defining of the architecture are the protruding, circular living rooms that break the monotony of the glass walls while making the view the key focus from the interior.
It is against this setting that Alvin Ling, principal designer at The Scientist, was commissioned to work. The task was to complement the elegant architecture with an interior scheme that features a surprising yet coherent use of colour and classical elements.
Step into the living room, and gentle curves in the wall and furniture, as well as through the greenery outside the windows, create a tranquil and genteel atmosphere. They also connect harmoniously to the classical references found in the wall trimmings and television console. At the windows, light blue curtains chosen by the homeowners are an unusual choice and work well to create a tableau with the furniture.
There is a hint of the Parisian Haussmann spirit that satisfies the homeowners’ desire for a luxurious and timeless home. The flooring’s strong visual character leads the eye down a corridor of bedrooms, which features white walls to highlight the flooring. A row of decorative glass bulbs in the ceiling accentuates this linearity.
The corridor—with monochrome marble flooring in a checkerboard pattern—sets the tone for the rest of the apartment. This graphic element is mirrored in a symmetrical steel-frame-and-translucent-glass panel over an aperture that bathes the space in natural light while providing privacy from neighbours.
In the kitchen, the interesting use of colour is once again encountered through rose-gold stainless steel counters and cabinets. “Stainless steel counters are not only aesthetically pleasing—especially in this rose-gold shade—they are also resistant to heat, water, stains and just about anything else, unlike marble,” Ling says on his considerations of the ease of maintenance for the homeowners.
In the bathrooms are walls of swirling marble in greyscale. For the smaller bathrooms, Ling injects a touch of whimsy in the shower areas with decorative Peranakan tiles and diagonally laid timber-patterned tiles. Two contrasting personalities are created—handsome and dramatic for the first and floral and feminine for the second.
The three bedrooms—one for the couple, another for their child and the third for visiting grandparents—adhere to the rest of the home with a coherent colour scheme. The white walls in the rooms are accented with trimmings and blue curtains as well as bedding in shades of carnation, maroon and indigo. Natural materials, such as a timber wall surface and rattan bench in the master bedroom, evoke a more intimate feel as well as extend the natural setting inward.
Herein lies the success of this apartment’s design: Ling uses materials and colours in their natural forms as adornment, rather than overwhelm the interior scheme with superfluous features. This contributes to an uncluttered yet spirited sensibility. “At the heart of everything we do, we are fuelled by the simple belief that there is no clear-cut formula to follow. Inquisitive, explorative, persistent, creative and analytical are the five (traits of our studio)—as important to a scientist as they are to a designer,” he says, explaining the studio’s creative ethos and the origins of its name.
“Luxury is when the homeowners step into a space where they feel pampered and comfortable,” defines Ling. Clearly, the homeowners agree. They describe their home as “a rejuvenated interior, compared to the tired-looking space we had taken over; it is now cosy, comfortable and welcoming.”
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