Redhill Apartment

Client Confidential
Program Interior Refurbishment (Residential – Public Housing)
Area 110 m²
Status Complete
Jeremy San
Year of Completion 2009

Cultural habits, climatic conditions and a call for pragmatics come together in a wood-infused apartment.

Public housing has come a long way in Singapore providing the needs for 80-90% of the population.  The perception of public housing in the world is perhaps not of the best, but in Singapore, the quality and standards of these apartments well rest above the poverty line, driving prices rocket high.

The client had just returned from a three-year long diplomatic stint and was looking to refurbish his apartment to welcome his new addition to the family.

Pragmatics was the primary driving force of this project.  The main challenge was to reconfigure a public housing apartment amidst the regulatory constraints into an object of spatial flow.  The present main foyer/dining/living/kitchen space was segmented with proportions that were not user friendly.  The foyer area and the kitchen entrance were too generous and encroached upon the dining room.  The Asian lifestyle with regards to cooking, culture (eg. Feng Shui) and climate were duly considered as design challenges.

After a study of the existing structure, we removed one of the non-load bearing walls and reconfigured the rest of the surrounding spaces.  The concept was simple:  to create a large space with distributed furniture and a mirrored surface to reflect the surrounding spaces.  The kitchen was subdivided into a wet and dry area with part of the latter extending to become a foyer cabinet.  The dining space became larger and visual continuity was achieved with all the surrounding built-in furniture; from the foyer to the dry kitchen to the living room set.  It became a set of separate furniture pieces for one big space!

The design approach to the individual furniture pieces were derived from their inherent functions and their relationship to each other in that particular space.  For example, the slope of the entrance foyer piece was a reflection of the inclined shoe rack enclosed in the bottom cabinet.  In hot and humid Singapore, residents prefer to keep the main doors open to encourage natural ventilation.  The gap between the top and bottom pieces facilitated this cross ventilation and gave a sense of semi-privacy to the apartment.  The furniture pieces were designed as a set and related to the bigger spatial flow with geometry and material continuity.  The large wooden grain textures that clothed the furniture took a further inspiration from the Miesian aesthetics of the Tugendhat House but redone for this modern context.

The Redhill Apartment was an attempt to provide an insertion of nuanced living infused with cultural habits, climatic conditions and a call for pragmatics in an otherwise generic housing estate.