Live it up with Starck

Among the spaces in the South Beach project designed by Philippe Starck are the interiors of hotel lifts (top right), an upcoming dining area (left) at the former Non-Commissioned Officers’ Club and hotel rooms (bottom right).

The first Philippe Starck-designed hotel in Singapore is on track to welcome its first guests in April.

The 654-room hotel, decked out by the famed French designer, is at South Beach, a joint venture between City Developments and Malaysia's IOI Group.

On Thursday, the consortium's developers gave members of the press a sneak peek at the designer's work around the mixed-use development.

While the Frenchman did the interiors, world- renowned architects Foster + Partners designed the property, which features two towers with slanting facades and integrated with four conservation buildings.

In South Beach Hotel, Starck's oft-quirky design direction is obvious right from the ride up to the rooms.

In the lifts, loud, psychedelic prints cover the walls as strobe lights pulsate from the ceiling.

In the rooms, he shows off his style with liberal use of mirrors and clean lines.

Mr Aloysius Lee, chief executive officer of the South Beach Consortium, says Starck was a natural choice for the project.

Aside from the hotel, he is also the interior designer for the former Non-Commissioned Officers' Club, now known as South Beach Club, and the 190-room South Beach Residences, which he designed with DP International, the interior design arm of home-grown firm DP Architects.

Mr Lee, who visited the Starck-designed Hudson Hotel in New York, felt a buzzy vibe there. He says that Starck played on the current "alone together" trend, where people, though strangers, want to be seen as part of a large group, hence the communal spaces seen at the hotel.

Mr Lee adds: "My cousin was complaining that the rooms at the Hudson Hotel were small and that there were long queues for drinks at the lobby, but it was the trendiest place in New York. Many hotels have gone for this concept and Starck's design covers a new market segment."

Another part of the project that is shaping up well is the 29,000 sq ft former Non-Commissioned Officers' Club. The 1950s Art Deco-Modern building gets a new lease of life, housing private dining rooms, a cigar bar and a diving pool.

The club is expected to open in April while other parts of the development, such as the retail spaces and residences, are slated to be completed by the end of next year.

This article was first published on Dec 20, 2014.
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