Get­ting So­cial

Prestige (Singapore) - - CULTURE -

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

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