Singapore’s top designers show how you can create blissful retreat homes for the ultimate relaxation experience.
21 November 2019
Text by Janice Seow
Living in Singapore can be fast paced and stressful, and when life gets tough, the first thing most people think of doing is to go on a holiday or mini-break. But returning every day to comforting dwellings such as these may be just the solution to calm those frazzled nerves!
If these retreat homes – shortlisted for “Best Space for Retreat” at Lookbox Design Awards 2019 – inspire you, you should definitely get tickets to the upcoming Lookbox Design Awards 2019 Gala Night on 5 December to find out who the winner of this category will be, and see more amazing works from Singapore’s top designers.
Project type: 3-room HDB flat
For this home, the owner desired a relaxing, comfortable and open space, and a place where the outdoors could be experienced as part of the indoors. The designers have laid out the kitchen, dining and living area as one seamless and fluid space by removing the walls dividing these areas. With only a sliding door separating the balcony from the living area, the former can easily become an extension of the living space; it also serves as a green sanctuary for the owner who is a plant lover. And when the balcony doors are opened, cross ventilation occurs, sending cool breezes through the house. The choice of finishes and materials give off a sense of nostalgia and allude to a time when life moved at a simpler, slower pace.
Project type: 4-room HDB flat
The design process began with the concepts of “softness” and “comfort”, and further discussions had both the designer and clients intrigued with the softness of a curve plane. The biggest (yet subtle) design gesture was to insert curved ceilings into the main living space, followed by smaller arch thoroughfares in the kitchen and rooms. Wall mounted light fixtures were then used to illuminate the curved ceilings, resulting in layers of light and shadows that bring added visual dimension to the space. The natural light coming into the flat was also softened using sheer curtains and built-in timber display shelves along the window openings. Textured materials were chosen for finishes and furnishings to bring the relaxed character of tropical living and the influences of South East Asia into the home.
Project type: 5-room HDB flat
The owners wanted their home to feel spacious, and to exude the tranquil atmosphere of a resort. Responding to a curvature in the facade, the designers used gentle curves throughout the design to create the sense of softness and gentleness. The sculptural table, while anchoring itself firmly with a solid base and functioning as the commanding heart of the space, manages nonetheless to exude a lightness through the curved cantilever. Brass detailing are meant to acquire a warm patina with age that will recall the owners’ time spent in resort villas. The diffused lighting from the sheer curtains and ribbed glass doors are also meant to mimic the break of dawn in a seafront villa, when sunlight diffuses through the rippling ocean waters.
Project type: 1-bedroom apartment
While this one-bedder is merely the size of a small hotel suite, it’s cosy and quiet and allows the owners to escape the busyness of city life while still be centrally located in the heart of town. The full-length windows offer lush views of greenery, which the designers worked to their advantage to create a retreat space for the owners. The sofa, desk and other important functions were positioned close to the windows so the greenery could be enjoyed. Scale and view wise, the design alludes to an intimate forest cabin nestled amongst the foliage. The choice of materials and colours also add warmth the space.
#5 Shizukokoro by GOY ARCHITECTS
Project type: 5-room HDB flat
‘Shizukokoro’, which means a ‘calm mind’, was the inspiration for this abode. Referencing traditional ryokans, the designers have curated the journey of the flat with pockets of vista and spatial delight. This involved either obscuring or framing spaces within the home. To ensure the owners and guests feel comfortable even when enjoying a cup of tea on the floor, the designers have created an intimate landscape frame for the living room, keeping the proportion grounded to the floor. Pale white oak surfaces evoke an air of calm, and most furnishings were custom made to fit the exact dimensions of the space. To filter the harsh external light, frosted windows were used in the living room to create a soft, ambient glow.
Project type: 5-room HDB flat
The owners of this flat did not want their home to look like a typical HDB. They also liked the idea of having a leisure-like dwelling for larger gatherings, and a green space for plants. The designers’ solution was to remove the wall separating the living room and make-up room, and inserting a concealed bi-fold door wall so that it can be closed or opened for different occasions. A concealed door keeps the master bedroom ‘hidden away’ from the living room, and creates a seamless wall feature in the hosting area. In this home, nature is reinterpreted through the use of materials such as terrazzo tiles, oxidised slate panels, timber trellis and panels, and marble quartz. A green wall in the balcony also brings the outdoors in.
Project type: 3-bedroom condo
The bachelor owner wanted a retreat home and a place where he could comfortably entertain guests. He wanted his apartment to feel spacious yet cosy, and to be minimalist and sophisticated without feeling cold. The designer has turned the once uninspiring and enclosed layout into an open space by removing most of the internal walls and turning the original 3-bedder into a bigger living/entertainment hall and a dining space with an open-concept kitchen. The entrance to the master bedroom has also been enlarged to accommodate a customised artwork sliding door. Overall, the space planning has helped to enhance ventilation and the flow of natural light within the unit.
For more on the Lookbox Design Awards, go to www.lbda.com.sg
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