Living in a tropical climate has its perks. Temperatures stay relatively constant and sunlight is abundant all year round. The new homeowners of this resale apartment embraced this and wanted their home to reflect the urban tropical environment of Singapore. They engaged designer Allan Wang from AWA Design Office to help them with revamping the space into a place they and their two furkids would call home.
“We did not change the original layout of the house as it was effective and efficient,” says Allan. His goal was thus to use the existing structures in this 18-year-old unit and create airy, light-filled spaces out of them. Giving the interiors a clean-cut look was also necessary for the homeowners’ artistic personalities to take centrestage. Over the years, the couple has amassed a collection of art pieces and wanted to display them in their new home.
The entrance to the apartment opens up to a living-dining area, where the first thing one notices is undoubtedly the shelving unit with its unique zig-zag skeletal structure. This shared communal area then leads out to a balcony. Large tropical plants fill the balcony space and are thoughtfully placed throughout the living room. Allan explains, “Doing so creates pockets of landscape enclaves within the living room and balcony.”
A black metal structure in the living room serves the dual purpose of privacy and decoration. Since the units in this private estate are located close to one another, it is not uncommon for neighbours to occasionally steal a glance into the homes of others. Expanded wire mesh allows unrestricted air flow while functioning as a screen. Shelves and hooks enable plants, photographs and artworks to be displayed, adding a touch of cosiness to the spacious living room.
Keeping in mind the homeowner’s request for a home with light, colours and flexibility, Allan drew inspiration from the Le Corbusier Paris Apartment which the celebrated architect himself designed and lived for over three decades. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, the apartment boasts full-height glass windows, open-concept spaces, and light-filled interiors. These design concepts, presently ubiquitous in many urban developments, were uncommon in his time. The playful juxtaposition of colour in the Le Corbusier Paris Apartment also gave Allan inspiration to use colours to good effect in this local apartment.
This effective use of colour is unmistakable in the kitchen, which is fitted out in an efficient galley layout. Black and white triangle tiles on the floor draw attention to the cooking space, while a cornflower blue wall pulls the gaze further into the end of the kitchen. “The use of blue and pattern tiles creates an art collage when seen from the outside,” says Allan.
Outside at the dining area, a custom-made dining table constructed using cast iron rods and a 10mm-thin KompacPlus top maintains the lightweight look that is now distinctive of this apartment. An adjacent wall in a dark shade of grey leads the way into the private quarters. Of the two bedrooms in this apartment, one is the master bedroom while the other is now a study room. As the homeowners wanted to also use this room to host overnight guests, Allan customised a full-height storage unit with a built-in murphy bed.
In the master bedroom, Allan designed a wall-to-wall wardrobe that not only houses clothing, but also functions as a TV console, and frames the entryway to the attached bathroom. Full-height windows in the bathroom afford this private space the luxury of soaking in natural sunlight. To maintain the privacy of the homeowners however, plants are strategically placed along the windows. The added greenery also helps to soften the overall look and imbue the space with a sense of tranquillity.
Much of the apartment’s bright and airy atmosphere can be attributed to the copious amounts of sunshine that a tropical climate offers, but it’s facilitated by clever space planning and thoughtful design. Combining the concepts of urban living from Le Corbusier’s apartment and the homeowners’ passion for art and tropical living was quite certainly the stroke of genius that enabled Allan to create the perfect home for the couple and their furkids.
This was adapted from an article originally written by Jasmine Goh published in the February 2019 issue of SquareRooms. Photo credits: AWA Design Office