A Dash of Dar­ing

A de­signer’s cre­ative spirit is ele­gantly ex­e­cuted in this stylish Sin­ga­pore apart­ment with a nat­u­ral flu­id­ity be­tween the in­door and out­door spa­ces

Inside Out - - CONTENTS - WORDS MICHAEL PAUL

A stylish Sin­ga­pore apart­ment with fluid space, a largely white palette and metal­lic ac­cents.

There’s a maxim in French that trans­lates as: ‘Lux­ury is a mat­ter of money. El­e­gance is a ques­tion of ed­u­ca­tion’. This elo­quent phrase suc­cinctly sums up the mantra of Florence Lim, the Philip­pines-born in­te­rior de­signer, art col­lec­tor, bou­tique owner and all-round style ex­pert. Florence’s re­fined home in Sin­ga­pore, set in a lush lo­ca­tion of hang­ing gar­dens and hun­dred-year-old her­itage trees, is the very essence of el­e­gance it­self. The apart­ment is lay­ered with tac­tile fab­rics and tex­tures, and em­bel­lished with con­tem­po­rary mid-20th-cen­tury clas­sic pieces of fur­ni­ture and dra­matic art. As is of­ten the case, Florence first dis­cov­ered the apart­ment through a ran­dom in­vite. ‘A good friend, who now lives in the apart­ment be­low, sug­gested I take a look at the flat, and it was love at first sight,’ she says. ‘I had been look­ing for a few months but was only shown cramped places that were in build­ings with no per­son­al­ity or char­ac­ter.’ This build­ing, dat­ing from the 1980s, is fa­mous for be­ing the first in Sin­ga­pore to have ver­ti­cal land­scap­ing with wrap­around ter­races on every level, all of which flour­ish with cas­cad­ing plants. The ex­pan­sive space she shares with her Ital­ian hus­band, two teenage sons, and Pacha her mis­chievous Shar Pei, who in­ter­mit­tently takes to chew­ing ex­pen­sive fur­nish­ings, acts as both a home and a gallery for her ex­ten­sive art col­lec­tion. Hence a largely white palette pre­vails, which serves to ex­hibit the art to the full and shows off the sub­tle fab­ric colours. ‘My mother al­ways lived in an all-white house,’ Florence says. ‘She felt that heavy dark wooden colonial fur­ni­ture looked op­pres­sive in the heat of the Philip­pines. It meant I came to love white too – it’s pure, peace­ful and im­mac­u­late.’ Tro­phy pieces in her art col­lec­tion in­clude a striking stain­less steel sculp­ture by Sir Anish Kapoor, a Tracey Emin neon light in­stal­la­tion, and a Damien Hirst in her son’s bed­room. ‘One of my favourite pieces – a red Yayoi Kusama art­work that hangs in the din­ing area – has be­come a din­ner party talk­ing point,’ says Florence. Equally the I Missed You glass sculp­ture by Korean artist Do Ho Suh in­vites com­ment and stim­u­lat­ing di­a­logue. One of the most pleas­ing as­pects of Florence’s home is the nat­u­ral flow from in­doors to the out­door bal­cony area, linked by

large glass doors that open up to con­sid­er­ably ex­tend the liv­ing space. The clever use of nat­u­ral, or­ganic fab­rics and light teak out­door fur­ni­ture fur­ther em­pha­sises the airy, ex­pan­sive feel so that the bal­cony ap­pears in­te­gral to the in­side. ‘There’s a real sense of the liv­ing area be­ing con­nected to na­ture be­yond the apart­ment,’ says Florence. ‘I adore the wide, un­in­ter­rupted views across leafy park­land to the iconic rooftop of Ma­rina Bay Sands,’ she says. ‘The light just seems to shim­mer.’ This in­te­rior with its ar­ray of art­work, per­sonal trea­sures and clas­sic de­signer fur­ni­ture re­mains time­less in every sense. Florence, also owner of Edit Life­style, a beach cloth­ing and home­ware bou­tique in Sin­ga­pore, is well aware that in the fashion world fads and gim­micks come and go in no time. But el­e­gance, be it dress sense or in­te­rior de­sign, never goes out of style – as her home so clearly il­lus­trates.

PHOTOGRAPHY MICHAEL PAUL/LIV­ING IN­SIDE

The el­e­gant in­te­ri­ors of this Sin­ga­pore apart­ment are linked to the ter­race via vast glass doors that fold back to con­vey a sense of one large, ex­pan­sive space.

Clock­wise from left Fur­ni­ture – much of it mid-cen­tury – is con­fi­dently grouped to­gether. The sub­tle colour palette and metal­lic fin­ishes en­sure that the dif­fer­ent styles, shapes and tex­tures are all in harmony.

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