The Chic Home: Architect’s BTO flat blends Brutalist edge with Scandi chic

The Chic Home: Architect's BTO flat blends Brutalist edge with Scandi chic

SINGAPORE – Two years before renovations began for the 1,215 sq ft, five-room Build-To-Order Housing Board flat of architect Kelvin Wang and his wife Jocelyn Neo, the design wheels were already in motion.

He says: “The design centres on the use of grey concrete, brown wood textures and the colour black – a neutral palette that’s never out of fashion. We plan to live here for at least the next 10 years, so the design needs to reflect our aspirations, suit our lifestyles and stand the test of time.”

As fans of Brutalist architecture, the couple in their late 30s wanted to incorporate its monolithic and volumetric articulation, as well as the raw textures and patina, plus the Japanese wabi-sabi philosophy of embracing imperfections.

However, they also acknowledged that the style would not be entirely appropriate for their home in Bedok South Road. To mitigate the harshness of the Brutalist style, they incorporated Scandinavian elements such as wood and the colour green.

Almost all of the apartment was completely gutted. Other than the walls around the two bathrooms, all the other internal walls were either demolished or realigned.

The floors were retiled or overlaid, the lighting and electrical layout was entirely reconfigured, and drop ceilings were introduced in some areas.

The heart of the home is the dining and kitchen area, as Ms Neo, who works in the financial industry, is a foodie. “She cooks, she orders delivery food and she snacks. When she eats, I eat as well,” says Mr Wang.

That is how the kitchen island ended up doubling as a dining table. The black-and-gold Dekton top appears as a large stone slab on top of the carved wood with a tapered base – a monolithic form associated with Brutalist architecture.