Wow is an understatement when you step into this apartment in the Marina Bay area. First there's the view - a stunning near 180-degree panoramic view of the city skyline, the bay area (perfect to catch fireworks displays) and of course, Marina Bay Sands. Then there's the apartment itself, designed to bring new meaning to luxury. Then again, owner Roy Teo would know a thing or two about upscale interior design. He is the creative partner of Kri:eit Associates, which specialises in showflats and high-end homes.
Mr Teo says he only bought the apartment when a client took him to see the development. "Working on showflats and other clients' homes keeps me busy, so I had no intention to buy an apartment for myself and do it up," he says. But he changed his mind when he came upon this unit on the 22nd floor. "People also talk about a prized view of the city, and when I came here, I knew this would be it - I would buy into this iconic development with a spectacular view," he says.
The apartment is his pied-à-terre, and also an entertainment venue for private cigar and whiskey sessions, cocktail and dinner parties for clients, business associates and friends. The use of strong lines and classic dark tones of black, brown and grey give the apartment a firm, masculine feel, much like a gentlemen's club. Mr Teo says that "most interiors tend to have a feminine touch, as the decisions for soft furnishings are often left to the women. But this masculine look was the direction I wanted." He lets on that had he purchased an adjoining unit, he would have done that in a more feminine style.
Knowing how guests would instantly be wowed by the view, much detail went into the interiors so that they would hold their own. Some interior elements were inspired by surrounding iconic structures. The living room's circular chandelier, made of mild steel and crystals, takes inspiration from the Singapore Flyer, while in the dining area, a two-tiered crystal chandelier is inspired by the 73-storey Swissotel The Stamford.
As the apartment is the venue for many parties, the kitchen is, naturally, the main focus. The apartment came with an open-concept kitchen that Mr Teo did not like, as fumes would permeate the living space.
Instead, he created a Parisian brassiere-style kitchen, possibly the only one of its kind in Singapore. The kitchen is enclosed by glass, so as not to scrimp on the view. The kitchen was the hardest to build, as a mould had to be made for each piece of glass to ensure the right proportion and curvature. The glass pieces are then mounted on a titanium-coated stainless steel frame on location. Two of the glass pieces are set on hinges and become windows which can open to 180 degrees allowing for the chef in the kitchen to interact with diners on the outside. The frontage of the kitchen counter serves a dual-function: as a showcase and as storage for Mr Teo's collection of fine china and silverware.
Strategically placed mirrors on a wall not only make the 2,500 sq ft apartment look bigger than it is, but also give guests a 270-degree view of the Marina Bay area from the living room. Another set of black mirrors in the kitchen ensures guests in the dining room can still enjoy a reflected view of the bay.
Much of the furniture in the home are bespoke pieces such as the Macassar Ebony wood study desk with curves that mimic the apartment's glass entrance, and the mohair sofa, leather chaise lounge and armchairs. Mr Teo did away with a conventional coffee table, instead, selecting to have a black lambskin ottoman to give the space an edgy feel.
The dining chairs, with grey stripes reminiscent of an aristocrat's pin-striped suites, are custom-made by Viscount David Linley, a renowned furniture designer and nephew of Queen Elizabeth II. On the way to the bedrooms, guests can view Mr Teo's art collection including works by Dali, Picasso, Liechtenstein and Miro.
The gentlemen's club theme extends into a bedroom, now a private theatrette fitted out with wood-panelled walls and Fendi furniture. Hanging on the walls here are framed antique Cuban cigar wrappers, alongside limited edition prints by renowned celebrity photographer John Stoddart. "When needed this can be converted into a guest room," says Mr Teo.
The bathrooms have their own wow value. In one of them, black and white Italian Bisazza glass mosaic tiles are laid out in a pattern resembling zebra stripes. For the master bathroom, Mr Teo picked amber onyx for the vanity top and a side wall, and paired that with mirrors all around. "The glow from the onyx makes the bathroom feel like a limestone cavern," says Mr Teo.
Mr Teo's bedroom is the epitome of luxury, with a black velvet bed, silver-gilded mirrors and a Ralph Lauren Duke Bar. To fit in with the masculine feel, timber louvred sliding panels were installed in place of curtains. To soften the look slightly, russet brown velvet fabric clad the walls.
The bedroom also comes with an ensuite dressing room - its looks inspired by the allure of an old-fashioned steam train. There are shiny brass luggage racks, accentuated by mahogany wood structures and rich velvet panelling. "Can you believe this is the only wardrobe space that was given," asks Mr Teo, of the tiny area. He pushes a side door to reveal a walk-in wardrobe, originally an adjacent bedroom. Rather than have built-in fittings, mobile trunks serve their purpose here. "It seems so extravagant to have a bedroom as a wardrobe, so if necessary, this room can still be used as a sleeping area."
The apartment serves not as an entertainment venue but also as a showcase for the company. "Many of our clients are very private, and it is a shame to not be able to show what we have done," Mr Teo explains.
And with a home this stunning, it is no surprise that he has received offers from interested buyers. "Perhaps I will sell it off one day," he says. "It is an occupational hazard, I always want to do up the next home."