Singapore, Coastal Living -

A young professional couple maximises OCEANIC PANORAMA with the help of high ceilings interplayed with natural lighting

Maximise views of the sea.

That was Simon Chiang’s main brief when given the task of designing a couple’s 27th floor apartment in the East Coast area.

The architect and creative director of Kuhlmann International set to work on a modern urban aesthetic that complements the architecture of the Seaside Residences building created by ADDP Architects, such as the glass curtain wall facade.

“My intention was to facilitate views of the sea from every corner of the apartment incorporating natural light based on a coastal theme. I included colours of wood in the furnishings and fittings like driftwood as well as sandy tones of the beach to underscore the coastal experience.”


800sqft is a compact space but is compensated by a lofty 4.5m high ceiling that draws the eyes upwards to the full height panel behind the sofa. With furniture tucked comfortably to the side, the view is sublimely unfettered even with the balcony furnishings. Simon created a non conventional design to draw attention to the ceiling and play around with light. Light reflectivity is a key component in the design with the use of mirrored and reflective surfaces in strategic positions around the apartment. Accompanying the lush marble flooring were the playful pendant lighting.


Amidst clear zones that harmonise private and social spaces in a holistic way, Simon elected for a round dining table with the suspended organic shaped pendant lighting deliberately juxtaposing the long and narrow space with flowy forms that help break the angularity and rigidity of the spaces.


Though firmly grounded in architecture, Chiang has always had a passion for interior design and landscape architecture
  1. How did you maximise views of the sea?


While the apartment was narrow, the ceilings were extremely high – 4.5m. Thus, by adopting relatively reflective interior finishes on both sides of this narrow living space we could create an illusion where the sea, views across the Singapore strait and horizon would be able to be reflected on both sides of the living room, elongating the experience of the horizon and sea views in the living space


  1. What colour and lighting scheme did you select and why?


Colours were muted tones of woods and beige – inspired by sandy tones, drift woods. While the house is not overtly coastal with coastal motifs, the colours of the sea and shore and beach were abstracted into the interiors:  little desaturated tones. To contrast with this, a high render of 3000K warm lights were used in both the architectural lighting as well as pendant lights, and accent lights in the wall panels as well as cabinetry. 3000K is just the right amount of warmth for the interiors without feeling overly cosy and warm, thus allowing the glass, and reflective surfaces to still capture as much daylight and sky light without being too different from the 3000K lighting temperature.

  1. It is a compact urban space of 800sqft. How did you complement this into your design?


With such tight interiors, the key is to provide an illusion of space. (check out my own home. also around 800 sq. ft. as well as another customer’s house I’ve learned working with smaller apartments such as these, is that the storage should be as integrated or hidden as much as possible. Secondly, using clean architectural lines (ceiling, wall panelling, etc)  to elongate length and height of the spaces, this will allow the eye to see more uninterrupted space in the home. Pulling the eye outwards if possible, to lead the eye towards the sea or view of the city etc is another key design consideration for compact urban spaces like these. This is typically my go to strategy. Clean, simple, non-cluttered, and concealed.


  1. How do you relax after a hard day at work and what Singapore food do you enjoy?


I practice yoga quite regularly to calm down and decompress. I also enjoy walking with my dog at nearby Fort Canning and my guilty pleasure would be Loy Kee Best Chicken Rice at Balestier Road!

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