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Modern Revival: Giving New Life to Singapore’s Built Heritage

Designworx Interior Consultant’s work on conserved buildings adds exciting new chapters to their storied history.

Singapore Tatler Homes - Modern Revival - Conservation Buildings by Designworx Interior Consultant

Conserved buildings like shophouses and colonial bungalows are not only treasured for their unique place in Singapore’s history but also highly sought after for their distinct architectural features. No stranger to conserved buildings with notable residential and commercial projects done over the years, award-winning design firm Designworx Interior Consultant takes on the challenge of each project with finesse.

“Through working with conserved buildings over the years, we understand the balance needed in tailoring the design to meet the client’s brief within the framework of the conservation guidelines,” says Terri Tan, the design director of the firm. The design firm conducts research and documentation to strike that balance of maximising the retention and restoration of the original structure and its architectural elements and giving it a fresh update.

“Any addition or alteration works are approached with sensitivity whenever we upgrade and adapt a conservation building to new uses. We believe that such works should be conducted in the most sympathetic and inconspicuous way, focusing on using original materials wherever possible,” Terri adds. For a Good Class Bungalow (GCB) at Cable Road, the design firm’s award-winning vision for the project included using a similar design language that brings together the characteristic timber louvred windows and black outlines of the bungalow with a contemporary interior. The lines on the feature wall are a nod to the distinct black and white lines of the façade. Of note, the design firm furnished the dining area with a long table and black-and-white chairs for an elegant update befitting the colonial bungalow.

(Black & White Good Class Bungalow at Cable Road)
(Black & White Good Class Bungalow at Cable Road)

Another case in point is the Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, which features beautiful details and ornamentation. To revitalise this 1926 grand Victorian mansion, Designworx refreshed the interior colours of the walls, doors and windows. The lighting scheme and furniture layout were artfully planned to complement the historical artefacts and displays. Given the rich history of these items, Designworx customised and fabricated the display cases to showcase and preserve them in the best way possible.

(Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, Conservation House at 42 Cairnhill Road)
(Tan Chin Tuan Mansion, Conservation House at 42 Cairnhill Road)

Designworx’s design approach comprises not only an eye for luxurious design. It also extends to the experimental and avant garde. Its transformation of Venue Hotel, which is made up of several shophouses, juxtaposes a modern, quirky design approach that maintains congruence with the conservation shophouse exterior. Located in the historic Joo Chiat area, the award-winning interior creates a bold visual impact with vibrant, bright furnishings and a spectacular walkway in the lobby.

Venue Hotel, a modern boutique hotel is situated in a cozy and rustic environment of Joo Chiat
(Venue Hotel, a modern boutique hotel is situated in a cozy and rustic environment of Joo Chiat)

As one of Singapore’s established interior design companies, Designworx is sought after for its professionalism, design and storytelling that take spaces from the past into the present and future. Be it for residential or commercial projects, Designworx’s unique blend of expertise and experience keeps its clients coming back. Terri shares, “Helping conservation buildings enjoy a new lease of life is one of our greatest joys as designers. Working with structures that chronicle the lives of the people who came before us is an honour and a privilege.”

View more of our portfolio here.


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