Multi-concept spaces are not uncommon but lifestyle stomping ground Steamroom with The Pillar and Stones is an intriguing take on the concept. Comprising a cafe specialising in kaffatea brewing, a contemporary restaurant and a retail and art lab, the uniquely-named space was thought up by artist Wong Lip Chin who was inspired by overseas establishments Colette in Paris and 10 Corso Como in Milan, which he likens to the original multi-concept lifestyle spaces.
When designing the space, Lip Chin approached it as an art installation and sought to combine three art movements into the expansive space occupying a corner of shopping mall Orchard Central’s third floor. Design aficionados will recognise features from the Memphis Milano movement, with its strong geometric motifs, mixed materials and clashing colours complemented by functional Bauhaus-inspired furniture and the raw architectural expression of Brutalism.
Fronting the 5,000-square foot space is The Pillar and Steamroom, an 80-seater open-plan dining zone furnished with striking Bauhaus-inspired furniture, such as Daniel-Emma chairs upholstered in Kvadrat textile designed by Raf Simmons and a series of Petite Friture Cherry geometric lamps, which are also designed by Australian design studio Daniel-Emma, and round hanging lamps from Montreal-based lighting design studio Lambert & Fils. These basic shapes are paired with Brutalist elements as seen in the blocks of glass panels and raw, concrete finishes.
With Austrian chef Stephen Zoisl in charge of the ingredient-focused east-meets-west menu, The Pillar is an unpretentious space to enjoy sophisticated dishes such as Spanner Crab Salad dressed in wasabi mayonnaise and served with diced apple and red-veined sorrel, Angus Beef Tartare accompanied by sourdough crisps, and Salmon Ochazuke, a bowl of steamed Japanese rice adorned with lightly seated Norwegian salmon, edamame and salmon roe.
Outside of meal times, Steamroom is a quiet spot to savour some specialty teas and coffee. Its menu focuses on Chinese teas and offers single origin varieties from China and Taiwan, which are all brewed using futuristic-looking Steampunk machines that use a siphon brewing technique to ensure that each variety of tea is optimally brewed to suit its unique nature and achieve the finest taste.
Once you have filled your stomach, pop into Stones to browse an array of artisanal lifestyle and fashion products, such as Japanese knives from Banshu Hamono, ceramics from Brooklyn-based studio Group Partner and handmade shoes from Aurora Shoe Company. The store also carries a selection of clothes and accessories from Ultramarine Studio and In Real Life by the Emporium of the Modern Man.
Stones has been designed as a ever-evolving space where art jamming sessions and art-related masterclasses are held regularly. In line with its multiple guises, the store further emphasises Lip Chin’s vision with its mishmash of influences as seen in the playground-inspired floor, custom-made clothing racks, an Amazonian biodorium and paludarium and an extensive edible vertical garden. With its mix of retail, food, art and nature, this multi-concept space is indeed a true multi-sensorial treat.
This was adapted from an article originally published in the July 2017 issue of SquareRooms.