Designed by arche°, this three-bedroom condo is alluringly dark and cavern-like – just the way the owners have envisioned their home to be.
9 October 2023
Home Type: 3-bedroom condominium
Floor Area: 1,249sqft
Text by Janice Seow
The owners of this three-bedroom condo are a young couple who came to arche° with a rather bold and unusual brief. “They wanted us to reimagine the space with a dark theme in mind,” says Edward Seet, the firm’s principal designer, who adds that the original interior featured standard white walls.
With a renovation budget of $50,000 to work with, Edward focused his strategy on giving the space a facelift that wouldn’t involve radical changes to the home’s layout. “We kept all the walls untouched, maintaining them as clear dividers for various purposes such as hosting, working, entertaining and resting. As a result, our design approach primarily centred around enhancing the aesthetics of the space through wall treatment and retrofit built-ins,” he explains.
The designer began by selecting colours and materials to achieve the alluringly dark and moody interior that the owners so desired.
The existing light-coloured, polished floor tiles have been overlaid with grey textured vinyl flooring from Floor Xpert. An overhead cladding finished in textured limewash paint envelopes and frames the living room to create a cosy and private sanctuary within. Grey blackout fabric is paired with light drapes as the window treatment to soften the space. A light grey fabric sofa allows a variation of tone. All the carpentry built-ins are finished in matte black laminate, and all the walls are painted grey. For visual balance, the ceiling in the dry kitchen is kept pristine white.
With such a masterful balance of colours and textures, the interiors feel alluringly cool and intimate without appearing too heavy.
Lighting has an essential role to play in setting the right level of illumination required in such a dark interior. Linear lighting has been placed in specific areas in the living area where daily activities often occur, while diffused lighting has been incorporated around the overhead cladding facing the dining area where it casts a soft glow and gently accentuates the feature.
“One of the main challenges was maximising natural light within the dark interior. We therefore avoided installing built-ins that would block the full-height windows, allowing light to enter while preserving privacy,” Edward shares.
Given that the existing layout offered limited space for expansion, the designer has optimised the use of compact furniture and storage solutions with slimmer profiles to make the most of the available space.
The open plan allows for an island where the couple, who enjoys hosting, can entertain friends and family and have regular meals. Like everywhere else in this home, the KompacPlus countertop surface with a waterfall edge sports a greyish tone that’s consistent with the interior’s dark aesthetic.
It may not be for everyone, but there is something to be said about the relaxed and cool atmosphere, and the sense of mood and mystery to be found in dark spaces. In this case, Edward’s dexterous play of different tones and textures, and clever lighting strategies successfully showcase the beauty of living in darkness.
Photography by Iceberg7
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