A wave-like façade makes Amber Skye by Mercurio Design Lab outstanding
Amid the angular, block-like condominium towers in Singapore, one stands out from the rest. Amber Skye, with its curvy façade, breaks up the monotony and immediately alludes to its seaside location. The project was designed by Italian boutique practice Mercurio Design Lab, led by Massimo Mercurio.
Standing tall along the East Coast and mere metres from the park of the same name that flanks the sea, Amber Skye is a multi-residential development comprising 109 units across 22 floors. Three villa-like units are situated on the first floor to evoke the feel of a cluster of bungalows, while six penthouses perch on the top, each with its own sky terrace and swimming pool hidden behind a crown trellis.
The resultant design is the outcome of several influencing factors, beginning with the intent of giving the complex the character of a seaside resort. “We were inspired by the close proximity to the ocean, which conjures up a sense of the endless rhythms of the sea and ceaseless human activity that takes place in and around it,” explains Mercurio.
Look beyond the exterior though and more elements come into play that informed the design. The project sits on a 2,117sqm piece of land that has a high-density plot ratio and height limitation – the latter due to the close proximity to Changi Airport. In response, a large floorplate was necessary and led to accommodating six units on each floor, encapsulated in one tower.
At the same time, Mercurio recognised that he did not want to design “just another condominium”. He challenged himself to minimise the sense of uniformity, animate the facade, and give an individuality to the units. “I was keen to create a residence that was dynamic, without being too monolithic,” he quips.
The solution involved positioning three apartments on either side of a central service corridor. Given the aspect ratio of the building, the major obstacle was to reduce its visual bulk. The solution was to create a kind of trompe l’oeil effect, by seemingly breaking it up into three blocks with a deep recess at the side of each apartment, thus casting an in-depth shadow and making them appear as a chasm.
Additionally, while it is not obvious from the outside, each of the apartments is orthogonal, but with rounded corners. Their balconies are placed in a zig-zag manner with a wave-like pattern to inform the curvilinear character on the façade. This texture confers to the edifice a strong dynamism that cancels the drawback of its mass and lends it a beautiful touch of perceived movement.
The first four floors extrude in a two-by-two arrangement, giving a terraced effect. Two cut-outs that run the height of the building have vertically rounded louvres that conceal the air-conditioning ledges. All these lend the illusion that there are three towers within the project (instead of one), to help break up its overall massing. Additionally, the layout provides natural light and ventilation to the homes.
The materials palette is naturally synchronised with the design intent. Units facing the main entrance have a full-height window wall system made with blue-tinted glass. It reflects the colours and changing cloud formations, so that when gazing at it, the building almost blends with the sky. This is contrasted strongly against the curvy balconies, themselves precast concrete modules plastered and painted a stark white to let them stand out.
Within the compound, traits of a seaside resort are everywhere. For instance, the entry is a semi-basement, allocating more space for the villa units on the first floor and the common amenities. There is a 48m-long swimming pool with a curvaceous shape on one edge, a gym, playgrounds, aqua lounge and lush planting. A sky terrace on Level 13 has an open dining area that encourages socialising.
“The combined effect of these amenities and landscaping is to create a completely relaxed retreat from the hectic Singapore city centre, less than a 15-minute drive away,” points out Mercurio.
Given how privacy and a sense of individuality is always a priority with condominiums, Amber Skye does not disappoint on either fronts. The villas have their own private car park, large garden and swimming pool. Above, each of the regular units has its own private lift lobby and much emphasis has been placed on efficient layouts. In addition to views either to the east and west of the country, and the sea, of course, all bedrooms have en suite bathrooms and the larger apartments include both wet and dry kitchens.
Says Mercurio, “True to our philosophy, Amber Skye is more than just a building. On the one hand, it is an elegant and stimulating addition to its urban setting; on the other, it is an embodiment of certain values – in this case, the celebration of quality living, both individually and as a community.”