Singapore’s residential boom has resulted in a slew of formulaic show-gallery buildings: homogenous, awkwardly proportioned glass-and-plaster-and-timber cubes with unrelated interior design, typically styled with uninhibited ostentation and cliched visions of luxury. In response to this, MOD's design for the UOL Edge Gallery redefines the typology of the Singaporean condominium show gallery on 3 fronts. 1) Respecting the context: Sensitively responding to the irregular semi-circular site, the building strives to maintain a strong visual frontage on the busy street, connect to a distant pre-existing taxi stand for car-drop-off, yet block off distracting traffic sounds. The building’s alternating rhythm of white L-shaped walls paired with interstitial vertical glass strips create multiple orthogonal edges that intentionally block sights and sounds from the oncoming traffic flow but still allow for light to be introduced. 2) Using architecture instead of banners: Instead of relying on oversized billboards and formulaic architectural glass cubes to attract buyers, MOD sought to rely on the inherent branding value of an iconic architectural form to provide a more subtle and sophisticated advertisement. This form is a museum-like structure that weaves perfectly into the restrictive site geometry yet commands a strong presence. 3) Using spatial experience to enhance sales: The design moves potential buyers from a busy street through a quiet uninterrupted tunnel before entering the gallery, cleansing their senses in preparation for the sales experience. Buyers view the building model in a generous double-height space, which feels protected, yet open with natural light streaming in. Buyers proceed up the grand central stairs to see the two show units, which explore the notion of contemporary understated luxury rather than typical elements of ostentation. Incidentally this project met with significant sales success, with all 244 units sold-out within 8 days, establishing a possible new alternative model for the Singaporean show gallery.
Ministry of Design was created by Colin Seah to Question, Disturb & Redefine the spaces, forms & experiences that surround us and give meaning to our world. An integrated spatial-design practice, MODâ€™s explorations are created amidst a democratic â€˜studio-likeâ€™ atmosphere and progress seamlessly between form, site, object and space. We love to question where the inherent potential in contemporary design lies, and then to disturb the ways they are created or perceived â€“ redefining the world around us in relevant and innovative ways, project by project. This, we declare, is real change, not change for the sake of novelty. Fortified with these aspirations, we begin each distinct project anew by seeking to do 2 things â€“ to draw deeply from the context surrounding each project, but also to dream freely so that we might transcend mere reality and convention. Each MOD project endeavours to be delightfully surprising but yet relevant, distinctly local but still globally appealing. Earlier works include the Barcode Office (Best Office in WAF Barcelona 2011), BBH Office (Presidentâ€™s Design Award 2008), Zig Zag House, Sho-U Restaurant (Gold Key Award Grand Prize 2007), Leo Burnett Office (Interior Design of the Year 2010, USA), SOHO China Sanlitun condominium, The Mark Business Park, New Majestic Hotel (Presidentâ€™s Design Award 2006) & The Saporiti Italia Luxury Tower (Grand Prize & exhibited at Salone de Mobile Milan 2010). We are currently working on two large scale resorts for 5-star brands, in Thailand and Vietnam, for Starwood and Movenpick respectively.