Singapore is one of those places that you know when you leave that you will return someday because there is just too much to offer in just one visit. It will have to be a long time from today as it is also one of if not the most expensive cities in the world. Anyone who is in the region and looking to transform from the norms of South East Asia can find refuge in the modernism of this enlivening place.
We arrived in Singapore and immediately knew we were in an exciting new land. We set ourselves up on a commuter bus to our hotel called the Peranakan. This is a term, also called Baba-Nyonya, is used for Chinese immigrants from the 15-17th century that had planted there roots in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore and assimilated to the cultures and communities of their new homes. Watching the shops roll by along the roadside we see a deeply British influence on the buildings and row houses lined the walkways. Exploring the city was a design junkies dream and rubber necks were necessary to catch it all. It was hard to find a five minute stint where either Tina or myself were not telling the other to” look over there or did you see that?” Some architects and designers go to Paris and Florence for inspiration which is all fine for learning the past of period pieces and revivals but our hearts belonged here on what seemed like the edge of the knife for our industry. As interior architects we got a glimpse forward and sun bathed in the progression of it all. We walked what seemed like every square mile of southern Singapore and discovered some gems to remember. On our second night we were primed and ready to check off one of my bucket list items and see Eric Clapton in concert. It was his 2014 World tour and I will not verbally chastise the concert further only to mention that the concert was a testament to how the human mind can build a hero from mental tin foil and duct tape. The event letdown was shared by a couple of gentlemen, a guy from Scotland and one from Canada who were shouting their opinions to the exiting audience. We befriended them immediately and we only parted due to all of us being the last people in the auditorium and a properly escorted exit. The Singapore Indoor Stadium has a history of keeping concert revelry to a minimum which may have played a part in the lack luster performance but who can really say. We had met an interesting couple while looking for dinner before the concert. They owned a small restaurant near our hotel called Two Fat Men but Peter Phua was anything but a fat man. He was a Singapore native who had been a chef in San Francisco for a number of years and we really enjoyed our time with him and his wife. We visited with them again the next evening for good conversation and excellent eating.