A date with nostalgia

Since the 1800s, the Sarkies Brothers, or some may know them as SB from the insignia imprinted on antiques, have presented to the world the concept of luxury hotels.

Having seen the two World Wars, Eastern & Oriental Penang, previously known as “The Premier Hotel East of Suez”, stood strong against the test of time, boasting a long line of satisfied patrons; list includes visionary entertainer, Charlie Chaplin, Hollywood royalty, Douglas Fairbanks and Nobel Prize winner,  Rudyard Kipling.

A stay in their suite is no ordinary affair; it is a hotel, yet it is familiar, you have to check in, yet it feels like coming back home. Tailored to meet each of its patrons’ needs, the impeccable service rendered feels extensive but not forceful. That delicate care and consideration are what sets this classic establishment apart from its shiny, posh and younger competitors.

As we go along to submit to the new and exciting, we tend to negate our rich past, our colourful history. Take a break, and make a date, with nostalgia.

Making flights pleasant

Flights can be daunting for some- long queues, stringent checks; not quite something one would look forward to when travelling. Making flights pleasant has always been the aim of Singapore’s Changi Airport, and also the reason why it has won many accolades and awards. The new Terminal 4 is a testament to that strong dedication.

Bold stripes and airy skylights are reminiscent of the previous terminals yet with the new thematic element, it feels contemporary and current. The use of the petal-like shapes complimented with lush greeneries throughout the terminal creates a softer finish, a warm welcome to those eager to embark on their journeys.

Facing the increased complexities of air travel, airports need to be experientially different. With Terminal 4, Changi Airport expresses yet another possibility in making expeditions joyous again. 

Checking in

From the faint musky scent in the corridors to the strong use of marble on floors, The Majestic Hotel is a classic, an ode to the glorious days of the 1930s. Even with the new Tower Wing on the west side of the establishment, the hotel still holds true to its original character of being a national heritage site.

With cosy rooms such as the Smoke House, the Drawing Room and the Tea Lounge, guests are given the comforts of a home, a communal experience that extends beyond the walls of the suites.

As most establishments race to build the new and innovative, looking back to the past feels like an escape, a luxury in itself, where one can break away and enjoy the difference in pace.

What makes a good office?

Closed up, grid offices are a thing of the past, open offices with exciting breakout spaces are the next big thing. With companies now pouring a large portion of their business development budget into office design, it is obvious that culture-oriented company, Facebook, is leading the pack with its 8 storey office, taking up a big chunk of the newly built South Beach Tower. Here is what it takes to keep your employees in the office:

1. Micro-kitchens at every level

Fully stocked and ready for maximum consumption

Fully stocked and ready for maximum consumption

2. Natural finishes for comfort

Despite the posh location, the use of natural materials takes you back to the comfort of a home


3. Large windows with spectacular views

Invest in a location with good views, it goes a long way in keeping the team looking far ahead


4. Informal gathering spots for casual meetings

With breakout spaces popping up at every corner, employees are encouraged to work at their own comfort level


5. Meeting rooms with memorable names

Suddenly it becomes easier to navigate around the office when rooms have names like “Bo Jio” and “Into the Rabbit’s Hole”, as compared to “Room MR01-02”


How the new National Gallery of Singapore satisfies our need for #luxe architecture

What are the stairs for?

When the City Hall was due to be demolished to make way for an art museum, there was a lot of excitement and speculation as to how beautiful the new building was going to be.

The project particularly had a large volume of reconstruction work using materials that can co-exist with the existing features. Therefore, it required firms who were experts in the field. The French architecture firm, StudioMilou, partnered with CPG Consultants to be the appointed architects for the rebuild of National Gallery. Located just opposite the Padang, this conservation project was slated to be one of the biggest architectural projects in 2015.

Beautiful, gorgeous and stunning were some of the various words used to describe the National Gallery when it first opened in November 2015. Ever since the gallery is filled with the crowd at special events. The luxurious marble floors, paired with high-end restaurants, the National Gallery can pass off as an extension to the 5-star hotel.

Interesting to see, how a historically significant place built for the people has transformed into a posh gallery space. Time and time again, we turn to starchitects to satisfy our need for pretty places to fill our Instagram feeds.

More about the National Gallery:


Changing the urban fabric, one mall at a time

Looking from the train station’s platform, it is quite interesting to see how two malls have been designed to be beside each other. With the gentle play of lights from the H&M pavilion, to the well-planted greens, it is not just stacks of concrete boxes. The two facades of the malls seem to almost converge at a point, although only leaving a slit of the sky.

In between the two malls, is a street donned with seats and landscaping creating a gentle pathway that the public can walk through and also take a rest. So, taking a right turn, one would enter Jem through the entrance next to Starbucks. This is where you start to be amazed by the design of the mall.

The greens planted at the ground level of the mall made the transition from the outside to the interior of the mall very gentle and pleasant. Jem is one of the first few malls that had interior greenery that is not unnatural.

From the green urban pathways at the ground level to the skylight, Jem changes throughout the day. The interplay between the man-made skylight fixtures and the leaves of the trees in the mall create a beautiful living foliage that produces soft and gentle shadows in the day on the floors of the shopping mall. The visual effects of the factors above create a very gentle architecture that is not too brutal for the daily commuter.


It is quite a change, from the usual box shopping malls that we have here in Singapore. The trees planted transform the mall’s walkways into indoor pedestrian streets and they also visually connect the different levels of the mall. One can sense the communal-focused setting that the architect has created for Jem, and it fits for the location.

New building for the design students at Singapore Polytechnic

New building for the design students at Singapore Polytechnic

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Designed by RSP Architects Planners & Engineers’, the new Design School at Singapore Polytechnic (SP) is set to officially open in mid-September.

Entering by the T2 block, one would be led in by a long pathway with the new food court, foodnode, on the left and a generous gallery space to the right that stretches throughout the whole corridor. Walking through, there would be series of openings that connects to the very large Common Foundation (CF) studios on one side of the corridor, which is actually located a level lower than the corridor.  It is quite a beautiful play of the volume of spaces, by the architect, to create a more interacted corridor space, instead of just making a boring long corridor.

On the other side of the corridor is foodnode, the food court that also has an outdoor seating area that extends to the entrance plaza. It has a warm interior with material finishes of wood and concrete with a series of feature pendant lights to break away from the strict regular grid ceiling lights.

Connected to the plaza is the core circulation route, with a triple-volume space that visually connects to all the levels. This transition space is sheltered but seems very transparent and open with the well-planned openings. Pockets of meeting spaces can be seen at the core circulation route, through the slightly tinted full-height windows.

­While the pristine white walls may be a bit jarring for some, being most of the architecture in Singapore being intensively cladded with aluminium or glass, it is refreshing to see the smooth white walls be brought throughout the entire building. At some time in the day, with good weather, the walls seem to disappear into the sky.

The orientation of the windows is also an improvement from the previous studios, which was receiving most of the evening sunlight. Many of the openings and orientation of rooms react well to the Sun’s path, offering well-lit, healthy spaces. It is also good to see that the architect had kept the majestic trees surrounding the site, creating amazing learning environments in the studios.

There are enough public space for the students to put down their cutting mats and finish those last minute touch-ups before submission.

Skylight openings of the Common Foundation studios aligned to receive much of the sunlight

View of the interior of a design studio


Overall, it is a very interesting and engaging space, kudos to the architect and design team, for designing a well-balanced architecture of nature and the built for a design school. From the CF studios being at the ‘root’ of the building, to the staff spaces located at the core circulation space, one can definitely sense the amount of sensitivity and thought the architect had for the new Design School building.  Being a design school alumnus, I can safely say that this new space definitely evokes the atmosphere of the learning in a refreshing manner, and that is what matters!