Location:
Singapore

This new bungalow is clearly geometrical: rectangular floor plan stretching from east to west, surrounded by a pool and lush greenery. The brief calls for interior designs to four specific spaces: living/dining room, master bedroom, and two study rooms.

Realizing from the onset that an ‘open concept living’ may result in the homogeneity of space, the default emptiness of the living/dining space on the first storey that is open on three sides with full-height glass panels brings to mind the importance of walls in shaping space as in the Barcelona Pavilion, and the effects of columns in bestowing spatial character as in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Ando Gallery. Within this architectural context of ‘pavilion living’, the interior design strategy is therefore the form-making of volumes, both as receptacles of display and storage, and as sculptors of space.

Living/dining Room (First Storey)

Although the tasteful curation of furnishing items may purge the sense of monotony of an open space to some extent, the full potentials of interior design goes way beyond mere furniture selections. A geometrical poetry of three functional sculptures defines the spatial character of the living/dining space. The shoe-cabinet cum tv-console rises in height on one end to veil the space behind the main door, adding a subtle but vital sense of layered entry that is befitting the property’s level of prestige. The spherical entry-light is paired with a concave brass plate below both as light-reflector and as a trigger for the poetic association of moon rising over a mountain peak. Even the grommet for the tv-console is articulated, its shape and scale not unlike Mount Fuji in Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa”. It matters not whether this cabinet is referencing peaks or waves, for in the realm of the poetic imagination, ambiguity is the intrigue.

The second cabinet delineates the dining space from the sofa area and is designed as full-height to allow running of electrical wires from the ceiling, thereby leaving the pristine travertine floor untouched. Acoustic lining and colour are set forth as linear fabric panels evoking the imagery of a waterfall, where the sense of flow is enhanced by a brass-lined vertical opening. No effort is spared in transforming even the smallest of utilitarian requirements into artful expressions, for example the articulation of the cabinetry upper shelf that holds the overhead projector.

The designer’s moral duty to the client, lies arguably not in the obedient and competent fulfilment of the owner’s exact brief, but in the value-adding moves that would not have otherwise been conceived of by the client. The third cabinetry for the living/dining space is one such introduction, where its situation at the inside-outside threshold approximates the spatial qualities of a balcony. This addition functions as an open shelf and a back-drop to the upright piano, provides the much-needed variation in a vast space, offers a corner of introversion within the extroversion of the living/dining space, and cues to the elements of nature that so surrounds the house.

Together, these three cabinets imbue a strong sense of originality and design to convert a typical glass-box space into an impressionable and delightful place.