Colourful history €˜

Designed to cater for tourists, this new DFS Galleria store displays Singapore's cultural heritage in a whole new light

Vibrant colour and animated lighting bring attention to city, metropolitan area, night, black
Vibrant colour and animated lighting bring attention to this mall.

From a distance, some large retail facilities could be mistaken for office buildings mainly because of an internal focus and the lack of an eye-catching streetscape.

This design approach has been turned around by the new DFS Galleria department store in Singapore. Designed to be a beacon and a magnet for tourists, the store boldly announces its presence with a bright red fae§ade and a constantly changing lighting display.

DP Architects was commissioned to implement the design of the newfive-storey flagship store for DFS, a brief that included provision for four floors of retail, including a restaurant, spa and champagne bar.

A DFS spokesperson says it was important to create a store that would be different from others, both inside and out.

"The exterior needed to be a beacon that would draw tourists to the store," he says. "It also needed to look like a retail outlet, hence the brightly lit store windows at ground level."

Red cladding and columns and a large O-shaped window at the front entrance also point to another strong design direction the need for the store to provide a themed Singapore experience.

DP Architects says that for the exterior, this idea was expressed in contemporary terms, with an abstract interpretation of colonial architecture. Consideration was also given to feng shui principles, hence the extensive use of red on the exterior.

Various designers have their merchandise displayed in boutiques. interior design, tourist attraction, brown
Various designers have their merchandise displayed in boutiques.

Curtain wall glazing and a sophisticated LED lighting system provide an animated display that can be changed for different promotions and festivals.

While the circulation planning was designed by DP Architects, the conceptual plan for the interior design was carried out by Callison Architecture of Seattle. This was then fine-tuned by TID Associates in Singapore. Lionel Ong of TID says DFS wanted the store to provide a Singaporean experience for tourists. To this end, each floor highlights a different aspect of the country's cultural heritage.

"While shoppers can simply wander into the ground floor, tourist groups are introduced to the building through an entrance at the rear," he says.

From here, they are directed up the longest escalator in Singapore to the fourth floor. Visitors get a good overview of the complex while travelling on the escalator, which passes through an atrium flanked by a textural rock wall and timber panels.

The fourth floor, often called the Zen garden floor, continues the tropical feel, with garden landscaping visible through a long, glazed wall. On this floor the product mix is focused on small luxury items such as leather goods, watches and fine jewellery. Timber panelling, sisal carpets and natural quartz floors with timber inserts enhance the natural ambience. A large skylight allows light to penetrate the space by day, while mood lighting provides an intimate atmosphere by night.

Colonial Singapore comes to the fore on the third level, which showcases the name-brand fashion houses. This floor also features a gourmet food outlet, a cafe and an art gallery.

"To establish an air of luxury, the design follows the old colonial interiors, marrying decorative themes from the old black-and-white bungalows as well the historical Raffles Hotel," says Ong.

The cosmetics and beauty products are on a glass, interior design, retail, shopping mall, green
The cosmetics and beauty products are on a floor with an aquatic theme.

Shoppers are immersed in opulence, a feeling enhanced by dark timber flooring and a panelled ceiling.

By contrast the second floor projects a modern, trendy image where the emphasis is on a watery theme and light-coloured translucent materials.

"This is a loud, young, energy-driven space with an underlying aquatic theme," says Ong. "A glass floor featuring rippling neon lights is a focal point. Blue-and-white glass mosaics adorn the columns, and many reflective surfaces also enhance the water imagery."

In line with the cleansing association of water, this floor is devoted to beauty and cosmetics. It also displays sunglasses, fashion accessories and boutiques, and includes a spa and reflexology centre.

On the ground level, Singapore's cultural heritage comes to life. Called Singapura, the floor features local icons such as shop houses, docks, temples, mosques, markets and bridges.

"This level captures the emotional and cultural history of the island, providing a journey through the different worlds that make up Singapore," says a DFS spokesperson. Products on sale include packaged local delicacies and souvenirs.

Credit list

Sajahtera Investments
Interior design
Callison Architecture and
Main building contractor
Gammon Skanska
Civil, mechanical and electrical engineer
Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner
Cladding, curtain wall and glazing system
Mero Asia Pacific
Blooms & Greens
Form Supplies
Nippon Paint Singapore
DP Architects
Project manager
Jurutera Tempatan
Main interior contractors
Redwood Interior and Kingsmen Projects
Quantity surveyors
Davis Langdon & Seah Singapore and Page Kirkland Rodney Ching & Associates
Lighting consultant
Project Lighting Design
Lifts and escalators
Otis Elevator Company
Form Supplies and Andra
Ceiling and veneers
Redwood Interior
Sun Sing

Story by: Trendsideas

18 Jul, 2003