Psychedelic Sengkang flat boasts 400 pieces of retro furniture

HOME & DECOR
Saturday, Nov 11, 2017
A bright-hued sofa from Lifestorey divides the living area, which is a white space accented by pops of colour through the furniture, lamps and soft furnishings.Photo: Home & Decor

Step into a psychedelic home filled with a retro style and designer classics, coming together to reflect the vibrant nature and bold, outgoing personality of its owners.

WHO: A couple in their 30s

HOME: Three-bedroom condominium unit in Sengkang

SIZE: 1,324sqf

"I'm very fond of anything related to the 1970s, especially the era referred to as the Space Age - with designs that resemble astronaut helmets or spaceships," enthuses Alvin Sim.

Source : Home & Decor

In the living area, the orange 1960s' Stereo Radio-phonograph Brionvega RR126 is a statement making "modular" high-fidelity stereo that can be opened up into a long arrangement, or left closed in a cube form. Next to it is a customized terrarium from Rabbit Island.

A bright-hued sofa from Lifestorey divides the living area, which is a white space accented by pops of colour through the furniture, lamps and soft furnishings.

In a corner of the master bedroom, interlocking orb panels from famous Danish designer Verner Panton's Visiona 2 art installation dress up the walls.

A Nelson Marshmallow sofa from Herman Miller in orange and red tones is a cheerful addition to the lounge area. Retropop art prints from Carousell complement the living room's palette.

Alvin, who adores the 1970s and Space Age style, says he has grouped his home's furniture and decor by colour to keep things neat.

A customized tabletop terrarium by Rabbit Island brings an element of nature into the green-and-yellow bedroom. The bright yellow 1970s' GEC Weltron Space Ball radio and tape player exemplifies the Space Age style.

In the lounge, a green UFO pendant lamp by Luigi Colani hangs over an iconic Eero Aarnio Ball chair and a GEC Weltron "spaceship" turntable. On the wall, a piece of vintage Marimekko fabric has been framed up, next to a suspended 1970s Videosphere black and white TV with a design inspired by the space helmets of the 1960s.

The bedroom, along with the rest of the home, features bespoke furniture finished with glossy, solid colour laminates that were designed to blend with the home's retro look.

The style extends to the bathrooms and kitchen (not shown). The master bathroom walls are clad in high-shine tiles with a 3-D dotted texture.

Vintage fabric bought from the Netherlands was made into a curtain for the master bedroom. Complementing the curves and spherical shapes of the home are these distinctive design classics - an Eames Rocker and Eames Hang-It-All clothes rack (both by Herman Miller).

His apartment, which he shares with his wife, Fion Chang, speaks for itself. It is furnished with around 400 such pieces, from chairs and turntables to lava lamps and decor pieces. Iconic design classics, such as an original 1950s George Nelson Marshmallow sofa, Eero Aarnio Ball chair and Louis Poulsen table lamps, can be spotted throughout.

But besides both vintage and newly manufactured designer pieces from the era, Alvin collects anything and everything that looks retro and space age in style, he says.

The home, although filled with many things amassed over two decades, has an orderly look, thanks to the way the couple decided to "colour block" the interiors.

They also engaged Kevin Teng of The Safe Haven, to carry out a basic functional renovation with new structures to match the look, and that would allow Alvin's collection to take centre stage. The designer customised loose and built-in furniture such as the TV console, sideboards, bed and kitchen cabinetry, with rounded edges and details specific to the retro style.

The renovation cost $60,000. We find out more about Alvin's passion and how it reflects in his home.

WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN THE RETRO STYLE?

It was when I was 19, and a friend took me to a flea market at Sungei Road. We picked up a few vintage pieces there, and from then on my interest grew.

It grew so strong that I started sourcing items from overseas, and have been collecting ever since.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF THE LOOK?

Rounded shapes - anything that resembles an astronaut helmet, the use of primary and solid colours, a futuristic appearance despite being old, and mostly being made of glossy plastic material.

WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGNERS?

My favourite designers are Verner Panton and Eames. Most of my Verner Panton pieces are in the dining room; they are the pendant lamp, dining chairs and fabric framed as artwork.

I also have an Eames Rocker chair in the bedroom.

HIGHLIGHT YOUR TOP THREE PIECES.

I like everything a lot! But the first would be a vintage turntable in perfect condition - these days, you would often see one with a broken lid because of how fragile it is, but mine is in perfect condition so I treasure it a lot.

Next the Rotobar, which a side table that also serves as a bar. It resembles a spaceship and you can put wine bottles in it. It was shipped over from Holland.

Finally, the Garden Egg chair. It looks like an egg when closed, but it is actually an armchair meant for outdoor use! It's a rare piece I got from a private seller here and there are supposedly only two in Singapore - he has one and I have the other!

WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FURNITURE FROM?

Mostly online on Ebay from Europe and the US. I also get some big furniture pieces locally, vintage ones from Lorgan's, and classics from Space Furniture and Xtra.

HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR SPACE IS KEPT TIDY AND USABLE, WITH YOUR GROWING COLLECTION?

Occupy all the walls and corners! I have also set a colour theme for the different spaces: the living room is orange, red and yellow; the bedroom is mostly green and yellow; the kitchen is white and orange.

And if I come across pieces that are rare, I will sell a few items to make space. But I am only willing to do so if the piece is very hard to come by.

I do get sentimental and have regretted letting some pieces go, but there is no choice, as this isn't a warehouse! My wife and I have an agreement - if something comes, something must go.

DOES YOUR WIFE APPRECIATE THIS LOOK, TOO?

She nags me about spending a lot on the collection. But when guests come over, she will introduce the pieces to them. So I think she is proud of my collection, too!

HOW MANY PIECES DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE IN TOTAL HERE?

Around 300 to 400… or maybe even more!

WHERE TO GO: The Safe Haven, TEL: 9100-1396

This article was first published in the AUGUST 2017 print edition of Home & Decor.

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