How a Singapore apartment by Hjgher harmonises modern minimalist design with Asian accents
See how Hjgher paired Asian influences with modern minimalist design in this graceful Singapore apartment
Luxury comes in different forms. In the renovation of this Singapore home, luxury is the abundant space, natural light, breeze and green views through large window expanses, as well as plentiful natural materials.
Luxury does not necessarily equate to expensive materials, but it can be attained with good craftsmanship achieved through meticulous attention to details in both design and construction, says Justin Long, founder of Hjgher. His design firm was tasked to give this 3,800 sq ft condominium apartment its beautiful makeover.
“It is elegant without being overtly lavish, and more than anything, aims to provide comfort and ease [of use]. It should be a sanctuary where the residents feel safe, where they can relax and unwind at the end of a long day,” elaborates the founder of the interdisciplinary design studio that is also behind the tactile establishments of boutique gelato store Birds of Paradise.
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The home is designed by Hjgher for a family of four. Built in 1990, the original apartment was dim and compartmentalised. But it had good bones, with a generous balcony capping the end of the main living spaces that one sees immediately upon entry. “Like other condominiums built in the era, the unit is spacious and has a simple structural system that allows us to remove walls and reconfigure internally,” says Long. Many straightforward yet thoughtful tweaks create a more efficient and fluid plan that amplifies airflow and natural light. A wall dividing the dining area and family room was opened up so that the latter, while read as a separate space using furniture, enhances the overall openness of the home. In case you missed it: Home tour: A minimalist terrace house in Singapore with a beautiful open-plan dining room
The study was also demolished and subsumed into the common areas to better suit the family’s lifestyle. “To compensate, a work desk is placed in each bedroom, facing windows overlooking the greenery outside,” Long highlights. This manoeuvre also allowed for a larger kitchen, which Long segmented into a wet and dry zone where “the residents prepare their coffee and breakfast in the morning. The counter seating also serves as a breakfast nook,” he shares. The neutral material palette contributes to the composed interior. The common areas are finished with amber-hued marble tiles, matched with warm-toned, fabric textured wall panels in the living room framed in brushed oak wood. The same brushed oak wood reappears in a wall panelling and rafters in the dining area, giving the space a sense of cohesion and rhythm.
In the bedrooms, earthy tones and rich textures were chosen “to create a calm and intimate refuge,” says Long. “Honed sandstone tiles cover the floor, while fixtures and feature walls are clad in brushed oak. Accent chairs and wardrobes are finished in black metal and rust leather, intended to stand out in the rooms otherwise filled with muted tones,” he adds. In contrast, the ensuite bathrooms are clad in cool grey stone and vanities clad with dark grey quartz embellished with criss-crossing gold veins; a sleek composition balanced by warm ambient lighting and timber wardrobes.
The abundance of wooden textures continues to the furniture, featuring an eclectic mix of modern contemporary furniture and mid-century modern pieces. The dining table itself is a grand piece with a sculptural base. “Made using a thick natural teak wood over two wooden stumps, it is designed to reflect the owner’s affinity for wood,” shares Long. Surrounding it are restored 1960s Kai Kristiansen Model 42 dining chairs, with frames crafted from rare Brazilian Rosewood. Upholstered in premium aniline leather, the chairs both have a pared-back quality and luxurious touch.
Taking advantage of the split levels between the dining and living, Long cast an L-shaped concrete slab in between that functions as a console below the television and seating at the perpendicular side. It is raised at the dining room side to become a row of cabinetry, finished in timber to harmonise with the rest of the space. “While this difference in floor levels is slight, it allows for the demarcation of spaces within the open common area without disrupting the flow of movement from one part to the other,” Long explains. The concrete seat’s rectilinear form is countered with a pair of mid-century classics—the Knitting Chairs designed by Ib Kofod-Larsen that was first launched as limited editions in 1951 and is now reissued by Danish furniture brand Menu.
Behind the dining table, Long created a built-in black metal shelf with concealed lighting. The aim was to create “a simple yet stark background against which the owner’s collection of antiques will stand out,” says Long. This tableaux of antique Chinese porcelain plates and vases in white and blue behind the dining table is yet another aspect of luxury according to Long, where “residents should be able to add their own personal touches to make the house their home”.
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