Studio iF redesigns four duplexes in a condo on Orchard Boulevard to create villas in the sky

Studio iF redesigns four duplexes in a condo on Orchard Boulevard to create villas in the sky

Studio iF redesigns four duplexes in a condo on Orchard Boulevard to create villas in the sky

As design challenges go, Gwen Tan of Studio iF knew she was being presented with an unusual one when a property developer approached her to relaunch part of their condominium project on Orchard Boulevard with a new design angle. The reason for the change? The marketability of the four duplexes on the highest two floors, due to the required blockage (by law and for security reasons) of views from all bedrooms facing a specific direction. 

Fortunately, during the site inspection, Tan suddenly had an idea, prompting her to question, “What if I could make your biggest constraint your biggest selling point?” Her proposed solution centred on merging the four duplexes into two, such that they stretched out across the building, thus making sure that the homeowners would not lose out on the views. “On receipt of the building plans, I was quite pleased to find a singular gap in the core, which presented an opportunity to create a brand new typology out of an amalgamated footprint,” she says. 

As can be imagined, melding staggered duplex units was a hugely complex project. “It was not easy as there was only a small gap between the sheer walls to create the link — a gap of about one metre,” shares the Principal Designer of Studio iF. “The re-design of mechanical and electrical services was also rather challenging, with careful planning and re-diversion required.”  

Villa living in the sky 

The effort was more than worth it, transforming what might have been flawed apartments into highly desirable properties. Part of this was due to the fact that the amalgamation created two expansive homes — each one clocks in at 6,000sqft — boasting master suites measuring in at an astonishingly huge 2,000sqft by Singapore standards.  

The size also helped shape Tan’s central vision of these homes. “The development’s architect imagined a series of ‘villas in the sky’ and the luxury of space available in both apartments is truly villa-like,” she notes. “So we drew inspiration from its namesake as well as the elements of nature to create an urban sanctuary in the sky.” 

The result features lush foliage, private swimming pools, outdoor terraces and panoramic views of the city’s greenery from the open decks across different floors of each unit. Tan even named them: Oasis in the Sky and Blossoms Villa. 

Another similarity these units share is how they are both anchored by show-stopping staircases. “Oasis in the Sky has an elliptical bronze and glass staircase inspired by the flow of water,” describes Tan. “While Blossoms Villa has steps that are moulded and curved asymmetrically, almost like pebbles, adding a sensual layer and giving a different experience, whether you are looking up or down the stairs.” 

Orchard in the Park duplexes by Studio iF, Oasis in the Sky living room
Oasis in the Sky has an elliptical bronze and glass staircase inspired by the flow of water.
Orchard in the Park duplexes by Studio iF, Blossoms Villa living room
Blossoms Villa’s staircase has steps that are moulded and curved asymmetrically, almost like pebbles.

Unique concepts driven by different lifestyles

Apart from that, both homes have been designed to be distinctively different. “Oasis in the Sky was envisaged for an older couple seeking moments of quiet, while Blossoms Villa was for a younger couple seeking the opposite — all the glitz and glamour of city life,” says Tan, elaborating on the design concepts that drove each apartment. 

As such, the spaces in Oasis in the Sky are segmented for different functions, like dining and tea-drinking, while Blossoms Villa has rooms that flow and are connected, perfect for entertaining guests. “Even the chairs at the bar can be turned around so guests can join the group in the living room area,” says Tan.

The social element also influenced the choice of materials used for the interiors in Blossoms Villa. “The living room, featuring wallpaper by ARTE, looks prim and proper from afar, like boiserie panelling, but is soft to the touch and helps absorb sound, which is useful when the clients have big parties,” says Tan, who selected wallpaper with structure and graphic impact. “We also chose heavier fabrics for the sofa, as seen in the Cloud Infinity by Gallotti&Radice.”

Orchard in the Park duplexes by Studio iF, Blossoms Villa living room
The Cloud Infinity sofa from Gallotti&Radice in Blossoms Villa was designed with a heavier fabric to withstand the rigour of constant home entertainment.

From the dramatic yet subtle structure of the DesignHeure chandelier and wall-coverings that incorporate mosaics and real gold foil in Oasis in the Sky, to the delicate glass “bubbles” floating above the plum-coloured petal-soft carpet in Blossoms Villa, it is clear that Tan’s boldly original vision for these duplex apartments has been gloriously realised.  

“I use design to craft spatial narratives through details, and bring an experience of nature through the home,” she says. “That’s why conversations with clients before, during, and after projects are important for us to get the feedback loops that we need, to balance the needs of the family and the stage of life that they are at. This is how we can create moments that are meaningful to the family, and bring the feeling of what home means to them into these large apartments.”

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