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Gabriel Tan Experiments With How To Market An Apartment

Gabriel Tan Studio diverges from conventional ideas in the design of a show flat at Marina One, creating activity settings that can focus on personalised preferences.

BY Luo Jingmei

16 November, 2018

Residential show flats are an important aspect of real estate marketing, providing potential buyers with a three-dimensional experience of a floor plan before they decide upon a purchase. In Singapore, designers are often tasked with dressing up the interiors to not only reflect an aspirational lifestyle of luxury, but to present pragmatic ideas for space usage.

It’s hard to break out of this mould but multidisciplinary designer Gabriel Tan did so in his design of a two-bedroom apartment show unit at Marina One Residences. His design suggests activities and rituals that potential occupants would enjoy.

Gabriel Tan Marina One dining and living

“We wanted to use this project to show the customer the possibilities and versatility for an alternative usage of space, rather than taking the safe, conventional route of showing a study, children’s room or a second bedroom – things that the customer already knows and expects they can have from this apartment by looking at the floor plan,” he explains.

“We wanted to use this project to show the customer the possibilities and versatility for an alternative usage of space…” – Gabriel Tan

This strategy begins at the entrance. A small landing depicted on the floor plan as a study nook is instead transformed into a tearoom in the form of a raised timber niche with floor seating. One of the bedrooms is decked out as a library rather than conventionally furnished with a bed and dresser.

In the dining room, a wood panelling feature transitions from flat panels to concave profiles, into which shelves for herbs and small potted plants are placed. The suggestion is that homeowners can cook, work their green fingers and enjoy their meal all in the intimate setting of the dining area.

Explains Tan, “I think that many homeowners and developers are overly concerned by the ‘value’ of property and want to maximise the number of bedrooms – placing sofa beds in the study rooms to show that even tiny spaces can be bedrooms. But I feel that the real value of the property is in how much we can enjoy it according each person’s taste and preference.”

“I feel that the real value of the property is in how much we can enjoy it according each person’s taste and preference.” – Gabriel Tan

He continues, “Homeowners should configure spaces best suited for their habits and rituals so they can maximise the enjoyment they derive from their new home. Therefore, dedicating a space for tea drinking, for example, shows potential homeowners that they can have a space that is ‘for them’.”

Gabriel Tan Marina One tea nook

Throughout, the generous use of timber references boating imagery, as inspired by the ocean view. The timber walls in the dining room join to the living room’s light-hearted terrazzo wall embedded with deep blue glass fragments, and an adjacent wall is profiled with curvy timber and gradient-frosted glass panels that borrows natural light from the balcony of the room behind. A curving walnut veneer wall reaches upward behind the master bed – the material and form inspired by yacht cabin interiors.

Gabriel Tan Marina One bedroom

This sinuous language continues into the furniture pieces, many of which were created by Tan especially for this project. There is an olive-shaped dining table enabling chairs to be facing slightly toward each other to facilitate eye contact and conversations; a sculptural media console and bookshelves in the living and library; armchairs in the study detailed with wooden structures referencing boat keels; rounded outdoor chairs and coffee tables; and a dresser in the master bedroom with a detached round mirror that enables it to be placed against the floor-to-ceiling windows.

Gabriel Tan Marina One dining

“We love to design bespoke furniture in our interior projects as a starting point for products that could potentially be mass produced. By testing them in real environments, we see how they react to spaces and people, before tweaking them for mass production,” Tan ruminates.

It’s an ideal situation. Show flats after all are the perfect test beds for creativity, and here, Tan pushes the boundaries of both the show-flat typology as well as his own product design ingenuity.


Photography by Khoo Guo Jie / Studio Periphery (courtesy of Gabriel Tan Studio).

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