Periphery Apartment by Studio SKLIM celebrates the undulating contours of its building’s architecture
Designed in 1945, the compound curves of the decorative plywood figure was so technically challenging that it didn’t go into serial production until some six decades later – roughly about the time Periphery’s condominium building was erected in Singapore’s District 10, an area known for its scenic naturescapes and hustle and bustle of city life.
With its enduring appeal, the Charles and Ray Eames design classic may well be the perfect mascot for the recently refurbished 164sqm apartment unit that, likewise, gives outwardly humble materials and design solutions a stage to shine.
The cherry-veneered elephant’s warmth and curves are mirrored in the apartment’s key design feature – a eucalyptus veneer wall with rounded corners that flank a contiguous living and dining area. Organic in form and with minimal ornamentation, it enables spatial flow, offers storage and display shelving, and deftly evokes the quiet aura of a Nordic concert hall.
The timber veneer artfully extends across the kitchen entrance, where a porthole provides a glimpse into the home chef’s sanctuary. Even the apartment’s ceiling pelmets – typically oft-forgotten – are softened with a rounded curve to complement its surroundings.
A Louis Poulsen PH5 pendant lamp in the dining area makes another clear statement of the home’s embrace of mid-century modern design, while out in the balcony, frangipani trees connect the owners with the natural environment.
No surprise that it is in the open-plan living and dining areas that the owners revel in welcoming guests. “They love the space for entertaining friends, especially with the doors opened to the landscape deck,” says Kevin Lim, Founding Principal of Studio SKLIM.
“We were inspired by the undulating curves of the [building] and wanted that to carry through to the design language of the interior,” he adds. “We envisaged an apartment interior that was soft on the peripheral edges and moulded to fit the contours of the building’s architecture.”
Completed in 2008, the condominium building has a bulbous, undulating glass facade and plan. Dated marble tiles and low and uneven ceiling heights characterised the units.
Refurbished just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Periphery is home to a pair of working professionals who find joy in their passion pursuits. He collects armies of vintage military figurines and police paraphernalia; she is a Lego hobbyist. Top on their renovation wishlist was copious storage space and separate rooms dedicated to their collectibles – as it turned out, a prescient requirement that afforded each a private space to WFH during lockdown.
His man-cave is clad in navy blue to reflect his association with the boys in blue. Her Lego gallery features playful display boxes in pastel colours to complement the colourful Lego builds. “They love that they are able to display and show off their collectibles. With the pandemic, they each also had their individual working space surrounded by their collections,” says Lim, of the owners.
Over in the master bedroom – where the Eames Elephant takes pride of place – the warmth of timber is again celebrated with carpentry. This time in the form of an infill platform bed with an American walnut veneer that Studio SKLIM has designed as a response to the homeowners’ feng shui concerns. Shaped to hug the contour of the building and housing multiple storage options, it even features a “suitcase” lid that lifts up 90 degrees to shield the mattress from the afternoon sun.
Here, in the owner’s most private space, an ample walk-in wardrobe and dresser was converted out of a spare bedroom, while a horticulturalist was enlisted to introduce flora and fauna into the ensuite bathroom for added privacy. Specially made handles and custom metal work of stainless steel PVD coated in matt black outline the vanity counters in both the walk-in and bathroom. The devil is in the detail.
Graded on a curve (or, in this case, by its curves), Periphery Apartment meets renovation goals with distinction. Its inviting living and dining areas, semi-private collectible rooms and restorative master bedroom have not just become expressions of the owners’ identities, but also showcase good design as being innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive and ultimately, timeless.
“We like the project for how design challenges are transformed into design solutions and eventually become design features,” says Lim.