Location:
Compassvale Link, Singapore

Area:
91 m2

Completion:
September 2019

The owner for this Housing & Development Board (HDB) re-sale apartment in Singapore enjoys cooking and gathering with friends. She also likes the gentle curve of the outer wall of the unit, and intends to remove one bedroom to enlarge the living room and to reveal more of this curved shape of the space.

We believe to design is to induce certain actions within the space: e.g. to relax, to dine, or to gather. Our intuition is to celebrate the curved perimeter wall by introducing an inner curve that gathers the space.

This peripheral bench allows for ample seating while creating storage spaces beneath. Encircling the space, this arc physically connects everyone at the gathering and yet allows one to hang about their respective corners. The formal articulation of this curve is inspired by the clerical script in Chinese calligraphy, where a typical stroke starts heavy and ends lightly. The front of the curve is shaped like the bow of a boat, its sculpturesque form emphasized by its deep shadow. The curve concludes in an upward sweep, gaining three-dimensionality, while delineating the interface between public and private. The dining table is custom-made with the owner’s favourite terrazzo top, and is like the ship that docks at different places along this concave bay, with a spontaneity that makes each gathering unique and unrepeatable, akin to the Japanese concept of ‘ichi-go ichi-e’.

Defying the default sofa+coffee-table for living and table+chairs for dining, the design uncovers a singular expression for this conversational space. A proposal that departs from existing templates of domesticity requires the owner’s leap of faith in order to be realised. Hence we are truly grateful to the owner for placing trust on the design, and hope that the space has been suitably shaped to play good hospitality to all her gatherings for years to come.

A space that is open and unscripted, a design that influences but allows ample possibilities, this is intended to be a multi-potential space, like a blank canvas for the owner to accumulate furnishings and memories. To verify the efficacy of this design intent, we scheduled two photography sessions, the first immediately after handover showing a minimalist state of the unit with the concave bench in clarity, and the second after one full year of occupation with the arc still outlining the shape of gathering.

 

蚕头雁尾:一笔勾出聚会的弧线

屋主在社交媒体上看到了我们的第一项室内设计而联络上我们。首次会面时屋主解释说她虽喜欢那项设计的颇有新意,但并不觉得设计适合她,并希望我们能为她量身打造不同的设计。屋主也很坦然地表明她物色了好几家设计公司,将一一会面后才决定要委任哪一家。也不知什么原因让屋主最终选择了我们,可能是和我们比较有缘吧!

汉语世界常用一个 “缘” 字,一个不容易被翻译成英语的概念。而 “缘聚则有,缘离则无” 这句话,更非常精准地道出了设计的本质。因为设计必须具备实用性,所以屋主的年龄,习惯,喜好等,与一切的功能性需求都成为设计的 “缘”。设计就是将这些缘由聚在一起,推敲运用什么样的形状来满足需求,是 “缘” 中生有。

设计的灵感来自于屋主提供的两个重点。第一,被问及对这间政府组屋转售单位的感觉时,屋主回答说她喜欢这单位外墙轻微的弧度,有别于一般组屋四四方方的格局。第二,屋主非常喜欢邀请朋友到家里来烹调聚餐,要将客厅旁的卧室打通来取得更为宽敞的聚会空间。

从远古时期人们以篝火为中心围绕一圈聚集,到今日华族依旧用圆桌摆设筵席,圆型似乎与人类的聚集有着密切的关系。圆形也呼应着屋主偏爱的单位外墙的曲线。而扩大了的客厅比例也正好容纳得下一个四分之三椭圆形。以上的三个缘由为设计指引了基本形状的大方向。

弧线沿着客厅边缘游走,从入门玄关开始,止于卧房门旁。它是一条连贯的长椅,将客厅两个角落往中间稍稍靠拢,增强了聚会的中心感。两个角落腾出了宝贵的储物空间,也供盘腿倚墙而坐。圆形的饭桌与各个椅子像大小不一的小船,可在新月形海湾的任何一处随意停靠,如日本茶道“一期一会”的概念,让每一次的聚会都能有不同的格局与体验,增加空间的适应性与聚会的多变性。

受书法线条的启发,弧线长椅的首尾细部设计也用弧线处理。起首处用饱满的中凸弧线展现其力度与雕塑性,像隶书的 “蚕头” 。收尾处用轻盈的中凹弧线将长椅的平面二维拉至立体的三维,像隶书的 “雁尾” ,不仅是表现设计美感,更重要的是为了拆除卧房后剩下的两间卧房房门大开的情况还原一些隐私感。这条中凹线像一个屏风划出了单位的公私界限,而在墙上镶嵌圆灯则像一轮明月倚山升起,让简约的设计增添几许诗意。

还记得首次向屋主呈现设计后等待屋主的反应,看她非常认真地问了一句:“如果不能接受这设计,你们还会给我不同的设计吗?” 我们先在心里跌了一跤,再说会做到让屋主觉得适合满意的设计,然后让屋主想想看觉得哪些方面不妥,再缓缓重申设计的缘由,灵感,意图,与效果。有幸屋主渐渐理解了设计的推理,慢慢适应了设计的感觉,在总结会议时说这个设计值得继续,它才有缘得以面世。常听说艺术创造要不落俗套,室内设计的俗套就是惯用的功能分布与家具摆设。然而设计真要不落俗套,除了设计师的绞尽脑汁费尽心思,也需要屋主一股探索的勇气,真是缘聚则有缘离则无,可遇而不可求。

 

Photography by Studio Periphery