Down the cool path of project runway

In this 2,336-square-foot penthouse, Woon Chung Yen from Metre Architects has used light, sombre shades and sculptural shapes to create spaces that are cool and aesthetically pleasing.

  • Down the cool path of project runway

Text by Yen Kien Hang

There is a reason why the living/dining area of this penthouse apartment on Meyappa Chettiar Road has a near monotone design – the greyness of the wall cabinets, floor and even the furniture is a deliberate choice to “imbue a sense of spatial legibility”, as Woon Chung Yen, founder of Metre Architects, explains.

Metre Architects penthouse project

When he first discovered that the short sides of this apartment unit aligned almost perfectly with the sun’s path, making this space read like a hollow block of concrete was just the beginning. After flanking both sides with full-height cabinets (with handle-less, push-to-open doors) finished in cement-look laminate, and laying the floor with the closest-matching microcement tiles, the morning sun now reaches deep into the space, where it ends at a threshold space that is the “blocky” concrete dry-kitchen counter. The latter not only plays a role as a sculptural element along this end of the spatial axis but also serves as a reference point to the design on the upper level.

Metre Architects penthouse project

Stepping up to the terrace, rows of undulating concrete blocks with recessed floor lights emulate the row of ceiling lights in the living/dining area, both of which are spaced at 600mm centre-to-centre. 

These blocks, at first glance, serve as seats for the homeowners to watch over their kids at play, or as coffee tables for friends to pull their chairs over and place their drinks on. However, much like the kitchen counter, they also enhance the spatial layering of the upper terrace instead of being a flat and homogeneous plane. Sometimes, they act as a backdrop to enliven any activity on the upper terrace too. 

Back to the lower level, while spatial changes to the original living/dining area might be minimal, the same cannot be said about the bedrooms and bath. The most notable change is the master bedroom, which has been reconfigured into the son’s room, and with its en-suite bathroom turned into a common bath. Meanwhile, the remaining two bedrooms have been combined to create the current master bedroom with en-suite bath and separate washbasin. Here, cabinetry and walls with rounded corners help ease the entry to the master bath. 

While this design provides a rustic and warm feel that is the total opposite of the “outside” spaces, the coolness remains in the master bath that has been finished with a stone-inspired mosaic reminiscent of the immense Icelandic landscapes that staged the homeowners’ wedding photoshoot.

The common bathroom carries the same atmosphere with its black material palette that feels like one is entering an even deeper shadowed space right from the dark timber-like bedroom corridor. This in turn appears like a wall of shadows beside the light-coloured living and dining space.

Many design details coincide with the “runway” concept – from ceiling lights likened to airport runway lights, to the living room that recalls the stark axiality of a fashion runway, and the undulating light blocks that are a physical runway where children can actively play on. At the end of the day, the home provides numerous “little moments” that can be cherished as the family’s collective memory.  

Metre Architects penthouse project

Metre Architects

Photography by Form Practice

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