Philippe Starck’s love for designing interiors is evidenced in projects such as Singapore’s own The South Beach hotel and more recently, the 293-room M Social — an impossibly hip and whimsical hotel at Roberson Quay designed explicitly for those with a millennial mind set. In town with his wife Jasmine Abdellatif, the gregarious personality tells Prestige about working on the project
What did you have in mind when designing M Social?
M Social is designed for the future of Singapore; it is for the crazy children, because we hope all our children will be crazy. It is about the life, the creativity and what the generation of young people will experience in Singapore. The architecture brings people together — to exchange ideas, to work, to love and to fight.
Any challenges you had to take into consideration?
The river location has been a key driving force in our design approach. With the objective to integrate the development into the existing context, the design responded to the historical riverside warehouse architectural form that is sympathetic to the existing urban fabric and human-scale. Other than the rooms, where possible, common facilities were positioned to best exploit the views of the river — Beast & Butterflies on the ground floor, the pavilion on the second floor and the pool deck on the fifth floor. The planning of the internal spaces required making the spaces flexible, maximising the usable floor areas and volume and allowing for innovative loft living.
Did Millennium & Copthorne Hotels Chairman Kwek Leng Beng give you a brief, or were you given carte blanche?
Mr Kwek understands my style. He is so fun and full of energy. He allows me to express my style in the projects he commissions me to do.
What’s the most rewarding part about designing this project and why?
M Social is where all the elements of the world come together in an explosion of energy to create the joy of today’s and tomorrow’s world. To me, it is a stage dedicated to creative people, coming together in creativity, humour and love.
How would you describe your approach to design and has it evolved over the years?
I do not care for design or architecture, actually. But that does not mean I don’t take my work seriously. I’m more fascinated with human evolution and the aspect of our humanity. Just think what happened in the last four billion years and what will become of us, four billion years later. I would rather participate in this evolutionary process. For me to design better, I’m my worst critic. It’s only when you critique your work, you can do better and create more useful objects.
from left: loft gallery room; and alcove cosy room at m social