Resort-like elements meet Japanese minimalism in this apartment at Kent Ridge Hill Residences by AR-kee Design Studio

Resort-like elements meet Japanese minimalism in this apartment at Kent Ridge Hill Residences by AR-kee Design Studio

Resort-like elements meet Japanese minimalism in this apartment at Kent Ridge Hill Residences by AR-kee Design Studio

AR-kee Design Studio has designed a compact, fourth-floor apartment in Kent Ridge Hill Residences, turning it into a tranquil Zen retreat. The owners – a Singaporean banker and his Japanese air stewardess wife – wanted a home with a modern Japanese look and the atmosphere of a resort. Other than that, their only requests were streamlined storage spaces, a designated area for shoes and nooks for a coffee machine and wine refrigerator.

“At AR-kee, we pride ourselves on deriving concepts based on two components: our client’s brief and the architecture of the space. This ensures unique design outcomes every time,” says the Studio’s co-founder, John Chan. 

For this project, the solution that ticked both boxes resulted in a design theme where elements from modern resorts meet the timeless, streamlined elegance of Japanese minimalism. 

“Inspired by our client’s preferences for modern Japanese, and a vacation-like ambience, we have masterfully blended modern Japanese aesthetics, characterised by clean lines, harmonious colours and soothing textures, with warm, resort-like materials, such as stone, wood and water. This ‘Zen resort’ language permeates every facet of the design,” says Chan. 

The sun rises in the entrance

The 958sqft apartment has three bedrooms, but since the clients only needed two, the AR-kee team subsumed one into the living room to create a larger space. 

“With the removal of a bedroom, the view overlooking the balcony is now lengthened and maximised. We also spent a lot of time thinking about how to ensure that the new layout takes full advantage of the views of the greenery. Because the apartment has windows that open up to the trees outdoors, the interiors are shaded and cool with good ventilation,” says AR-kee’s lead designer Jasen Chia.

The entrance to the apartment includes a foyer with a brick wall. Because it is very long and narrow, the design team had to choose compact and modular furniture to fit the space. They selected a green fabric bench flanked by fluted wood panelling, and a brown-tinted half-dome mirror. When lit at night, the mirror creates a dramatic play of shadows on the brick wall. 

“Symbolising the rising sun, this dramatic entrance sets the tone for what follows. The fluted wood panelling, characterised by rhythm and repetition with random patterns, extends seamlessly from the entrance throughout the long foyer space, dramatically leading to the spacious living area, which looks out to a view of rustic trees,” says Chia.

Though the foyer is very long and narrow, it still needed to contain the shoe cabinet that the clients requested, along with storage spaces. This proved to be a challenge for the team, who had to create smart and streamlined solutions, while making sure it still felt like a spacious and welcoming entrance.

Kent Ridge Hill Residences apartment by AR-kee Design Studio, foyer
Fluted wood panelling, characterised by rhythm and repetition with random patterns, extends seamlessly from the entrance throughout the long foyer space.

Interiors with a meaningful story

Beyond the entrance area is an open plan living and dining zone. In the living area, the pièce de résistance is a feature wall with layers of cherry wood and dark marble laminate that houses the television. 

“This feature wall is testament to how aesthetics and functionality can be seamlessly integrated. The melding of wood and marble creates depth, and visual and textural intrigue within the living room, while the clean lines maintain the overall sense of serenity,” says Chia. 

In response to their clients’ request for the coffee maker and wine refrigerator, the team included a built-in shelf cabinet to integrate these two appliances. This also includes display cubbies for their travel photos. 

Chia says that in every corner of this tranquil space, from the entrance to the living room and beyond, AR-kee Studio’s design captures the fusion of artistry, comfort and practicality. “It’s the embodiment of our commitment to crafting interiors with a meaningful story,” he says. 

The two bedrooms were created to be both beautiful and functional. In one of the rooms is a bespoke, wall-mounted study desk and cabinets of concrete-finish and rustic wood. The other bedroom includes a serene, blond-wood platform bed and textured, white wallpaper that evokes a sense of calm and comfort. 

Kent Ridge Hill Residences apartment by AR-kee Design Studio, study
In one room, a bespoke, wall-mounted study desk and cabinets of concrete-finish and rustic wood was installed.
Kent Ridge Hill Residences apartment by AR-kee Design Studio, bedroom
The bedroom has a serene, blond-wood platform bed and textured, white wallpaper that evokes a sense of calm and comfort. 

“Even though the bedrooms are compact, they are thoughtfully designed with an abundance of storage options. One of the beds includes a hydraulic mechanism and pull-out drawers, providing ample room for bedsheets and luggage,” says Chia.

“In a corner of the room, a small dresser for him and her features clever storage solutions for cosmetics and hairdryers. Here, we not only embrace strict Japanese aesthetic principles but also embody the spirit of ingenious design for small spaces.”

The Zen resort theme that AR-kee Studio executed with this apartment is more than just aesthetics. “It’s a way of living. It’s a design philosophy that creates spaces where tranquillity and functionality coexist seamlessly,” says Chia.

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