Studio Carter, headquartered in the vibrant city of LA, recently announced a partnership with DP Architects in Singapore to embark on an innovative journey, crafting a visionary ‘deconstructed shophouse’ concept as the central muse for the remarkable Mondrian Singapore Duxton.
Imbued with the essence of Singaporean culture, this architectural marvel rises majestically above the kaleidoscope of Chinatown’s historical shophouses, offering a glimpse into the future with its sweeping vistas of the CBD skyline.
At the helm of this creative odyssey is Robbyn Carter, the founder and principal, whose unique perspective was honed during her six-year sojourn in Singapore, where she lived in an authentic shophouse before returning to her native Los Angeles three years ago. Carter’s keen insight has captured the very essence of the Duxton Hill experience and seamlessly translated it into an awe-inspiring testament of design innovation.
A Captivating Cultural Tapestry: Breathing New Life into Tradition
Robbyn Carter passionately articulates, “Duxton Hill is a world unto itself – the heartbeat of Singapore, a microcosm that resonates like a village adorned with its meticulously preserved shophouses, an eclectic fusion of cocktail bars, dining establishments, and a bustling nightlife.”
Suneeth Changaroth, the visionary behind DPA, expounds, “In homage to Duxton’s rich historical narrative, the façade design eloquently echoes the scale and proportion of the adjacent shophouses, while simultaneously reinterpreting common decorative elements into bold architectural features. The overarching façade of Mondrian Singapore Duxton exemplifies a contemporary and minimalist design adaptation, honouring its era while reflecting the quintessential shophouse typology.”
Seamless Fusion: An Enclave of Vibrancy and Connectivity
A defining characteristic embedded within the development’s blueprint is its seamless integration, facilitating a continuous flow of vibrancy from day to night. A pivotal milestone lies in the public linkway of Mondrian, ingeniously weaving through the property to unite the Duxton Hill enclave with the bustling streets of Keong Saik, Craig, and Neil Roads – a confluence where a myriad of new F&B concepts will blossom in the coming months, birthing a culinary nucleus for gastronomes far and wide.
Robbyn Carter’s artistic journey commenced under the tutelage of sculptor Albert Guibara in San Francisco. A degree in environmental design from the esteemed Arts Centre College of Design in Pasadena followed suit, fuelling her passion for harmoniously fusing art with spatial dynamics. Her collaborations with luminaries like Bernhardt and design virtuoso Marcel Wanders further enriched her repertoire before embarking on her independent voyage.
Carter eloquently elucidates, “My creative essence revolves around form, around space – transcending the realm of mere aesthetics. It’s not merely about adorning spaces with exquisite artefacts; at times, it’s about embracing the void, a sculptural language resonating through compositional finesse.”
This philosophy dances eloquently throughout Mondrian Singapore Duxton. Carter’s vision was encapsulated by the audacious concept of the deconstructed shophouse.
Carter enthuses, “Rather than a literal translation, we dismantled its components, resurrecting them as contemporary incarnations. We sought to pay homage while ingeniously reinventing the quintessential Singaporean silhouette – an avant-garde voyage retracing aged nuances within a contemporary narrative.”
This vision breathes life into the captivating Shophouse Suites, an embodiment of tradition with a modern twist, featuring vaulted ceilings and arched wooden shutters. Designed to seamlessly transform from a serene bedroom into a dynamic meeting or entertainment space, these suites redefine versatility.
Elevating Elegance: A Fusion of Modernity and Tradition
Within the confines of the hotel rooms, inspiration is omnipresent. Carter elaborates, “The notion of a sleek glass shower box protruding from rugged plaster walls resonated deeply. The minibar christened the cloud bar, was an ode to my flights in and out of Singapore. Warm timber accents, enchanting lighting options, arches adorned in copper or steel, and bespoke contemporary furniture that epitomises the very essence of Mondrian, all coalesce to craft an unparalleled experience.”
Delving into Singapore’s rich cultural mosaic and its tapestry of trade route influences, Carter artfully sources inspiration for art, furnishings, and materials. She reveals, “Collaborating with an artist, we wove a captivating graphic tableau onto the ceiling of Bottega di Carna, seamlessly cascading into the rooms. This artwork pays homage to Singapore’s intrinsic facets – its flora, its architectural splendour, an intricate dance between tradition and modernity.”
A Lively Oasis: Reimagining the Foyer Experience
Bucking convention, Carter eschewed the conventional hotel lobby in favour of a dynamic, pulsating restaurant and bar ambience, mirroring the neighbourhood’s sense of community.
Carter expounds, “Upon entering, one isn’t greeted by austere elevators and formal receptions. Instead, the atmosphere mirrors a bustling hotspot, brimming with life. The expansive windows offer a panoramic view of the lush, verdant garden – a custom-crafted Mondrian universe. The furniture, an embodiment of Mondrian’s vision, takes centre stage. Large undulating metal mirrors capture and distort reflections, reminiscent of Singapore’s aquatic embrace, challenging conventional perceptions.”
Within Bottega di Carna, the show kitchen pulsates with fervent activity – a ballet of chefs, flames from the Josper grill, and exquisite cuts of meat showcased like jewels in a box. Overlooking the Mondrian garden, this culinary symphony encapsulates the heart and soul of the hotel, serving as guests’ inaugural encounter upon arrival.
A Hidden Utopia: Where Enchantment Beckons
The Jungle Ballroom transcends mere convention, beckoning guests into an enchanted haven. The “secret tunnel,” adorned with lush greenery that radiates a captivating nocturnal glow, evokes a sense of serendipitous discovery within the hotel’s embrace. Psychedelic, kaleidoscopic artworks infuse vibrancy, orchestrating a visual ballet of exotic blooms.
Nestled against the backdrop of Singapore‘s shimmering skyline and the rustic terracotta roofs of neighbouring Chinatown shophouses, the crown jewel of Mondrian’s opulent ensemble is the 1970s Hollywood-inspired Canyon Club Rooftop Bar and Poolside Cabanas. The retro-infused velvet pink seating at the bar sets an evocative tone, leading the way to vibrant striped cabanas perched serenely by the water.
Robert C. Hauck, the erudite General Manager, extols, “The design ethos of Mondrian Singapore Duxton is an ode to sublime simplicity, a tribute to our exceptional locale and rich culture. Inclusivity is our hallmark – a space where the community converges, where limitless possibilities unfold.”
A Symphony of Innovation and Elegance
In the heart of the bustling Singaporean cityscape, Mondrian Singapore Duxton stands as a testament to visionary design and meticulous craftsmanship. By marrying the rich heritage of Duxton Hill’s shophouses with contemporary ingenuity, Studio Carter and DP Architects have given birth to an architectural marvel that transcends time.
The deconstructed shophouse concept, brought to life by the keen eye of Robbyn Carter, reimagines tradition while embracing the avant-garde. From the captivating Shophouse Suites to the vibrant communal spaces, every corner of this masterpiece tells a story of cultural resonance and creative passion. With its seamless connectivity, artistic flair, and inclusive ethos, Mondrian Singapore Duxton has carved a distinctive niche in the world of hospitality, inviting all to partake in an unforgettable journey where the past, present, and future seamlessly intertwine.