A REFRESHINGLY SIMPLE BRIEF GAVE HUSBAND-AND-WIFE DESIGN DUO KELVIN AND KAREN GAN THE FREEDOM TO INDULGE THEIR PASSION FOR ART DECO
Most interior designers can only dream of being handed the keys to a new project and given artistic free reign but for Kelvin and Karen Gan, the dream became reality in 2017 when they were approached by the owner of this strata bungalow. Her request: to ensure that the property mirrored the luxury hotels that she regularly stayed at. Beyond that, the designers were welcome to do as they pleased. “The client specified that she wanted her home to feel like a high-end hotel and that it had to be modern and elegant,” explains Kelvin, design director of KGID. “She also expressed a desire for bold colours and rich textured materials. Other than that, she was happy to leave the work to us.” Everything from fabric to furniture were selected by the interior firm and in such a delightfully laidback manner that the team was able to complete the project within four months.
Being at the helm of one of Singapore’s most exciting design studios no doubt played a significant part in Karen and Kelvin being afforded such creative liberty. Established in 2009, their firm has over 18 years of experience crafting luxury residential and commercial spaces in both Singapore and the US; the couple has been regularly voted among the most influential figures in Singapore’s design field. Their signature aesthetic is, in Kelvin’s own words, “contemporary Art Deco”, with nods to the early 20th century style found in the patterns and forms that they use in their work.
BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL
In the design of the bungalow, the materials— which include ebony, mother of pearl, bronze and tinted glass—reflect the Gans’ favourite era. The focal point of the lounge is a large geometric glass and steel coffee table from Asiatique Collections. Accessorised with soft furnishings in crushed velvet, the table evokes the roaring Twenties. The quintessential fan motif of the era marks the accent chairs, which are upholstered in two fabrics—one of them a bold swirl print by J&S Design and the other a champagne velvet. The walls have a glamorous finish, courtesy of an eye-catching Palissandro Oniciato marble slab whose natural markings reflect the lines of the coffee table, while its colour perfectly complements the room’s neutral tones. “Throughout the house, we have stuck to an earthy palette,” notes Kelvin. The scheme may sound underwhelming but it is far from it, thanks to some careful coordination. “The right shades and the right fabrics create a luxe look while also ensuring comfort.” In the dining room, the same champagne velvet is applied to the chairs, which makes for a subtle sense of flow. A table for eight is framed by glass doors that lead to the lap pool, making the narrow space feel a lot wider. The room also features a doubleheight ceiling, which further amplifies its proportions. Hanging from above is a pair of Eichholtz chandeliers, suggestive of the iconic 1960s Sputnik lamp. By blending designs from the two eras, the Gans ensured that the house doesn’t become an Art Deco cliché.
While the living areas are saturated in neutral tones, elements of colour have been injected into each of the four bedrooms, thanks to a series of bold bespoke rugs designed by KGID. These rugs have been custom-made to suit the rooms, each in distinct dark blue, gold, orange or turquoise. The themes were chosen in part for their Art Deco connotations but also because they are the predominant colours in the artworks by Irish artist Fintan Whelan and printmaker Chris Homer that take pride of place on the walls—the attention to detail makes the interior scheme function as a whole. By varying the textures rather than the shades, the design firm has artfully created the luxury hotel atmosphere that their client desired. Even the roof terrace, with its surprisingly vivid furniture, is a seamless blend with the rest of the property—the turquoise is found again in the wicker easy chairs, the orange in the drapes that can either shut out the rain or be pulled wide open to reveal a stunning vista. It’s Art Deco, just not as we know it.
“Throughout the house, we have stuck to an earthy palette—the right shades and the right fabrics create a luxe look while also ensuring comfort”
LEFT TO RIGHT Chandeliers from Dutch brand Eichholtz and gilded details at the dining area add glamour to the interior; velvet and other plush textures add to the abode’s hotelinspired scheme
THIS PAGE The marble feature wall makes a statement at the living area
LEFT TO RIGHT The roof terrace features vivid tones of turquoise and orange; the spiral staircase that leads to the rooftop terrace; the bespoke rug and other custommade details in the bedrooms were inspired by artworks selected for the abode