A brick & mortar shop - a multi-label kitchen appliances shop

DESIGN OF THE YEAR

Award Category: Interior Architecture

Architecture Firm:

L Architects

Project Architect:

Lim Shing Hui

Year Completed:

2022

Builder Firm:

I Design & Build Pte Ltd

Inspired by the term brick-and-mortar, which means a physical presence of a business or organization, we designed a multi-label kitchen appliances shop using cement bricks. The space is carefully assembled using a commonplace palette of hollow cement bricks, ordinary unadorned plywood & unwanted off-cut stones.

We have always felt that there is more than what we see in ordinary materials. In this project, we decided to pare open an ordinary brick to reveal its intricate fluted core. Using that we tessellate it into a series of freestanding walls, benches & reception counter. The raw tactility from the bricks creates soulful textures when natural light gently filters into the space.

We felt that unadorned plywood is a sensible choice of material simply because it will never be discontinued unlike laminates thus giving the client the assurance that material consistencies can be managed for any future retrofitting works to accommodate new appliances.

The flooring is made up of unwanted off-cut marble that was unreasonably rejected from brutal dry lays due to its natural blemishes & uneven tonalities. We convinced the client that there is so much value in this “waste”. We laid them in a crazy paving setting & finishing them in honed texture. The approach to using natural waste material lies in its humbleness and simplicity in respecting nature, in this case where natural stones are formed through many years of weathering and layering process, they should not be thrown into the wasteland.

All the materials selected were deliberately matte or honed making the metallic or glossy appliances stand out when displayed.

The resultant space creates a refreshing atmospheric retail experience where guests are able to explore and immerse themselves in a unique setting that provides a fresh ground for shopping. Lastly we believe there is beauty found in the ordinary.

Jury Citation

The project elevates the shopping experience for kitchen appliances within a delightful space. The interior elements are made from commonplace materials like hollow bricks, unadorned plywood and the recycling of stone off-cuts. Innovation and good detailing deconstruct and re-assemble the cement bricks into free-standing walls, benches and reception counters, which order the shop’s layout. The resultant space evokes a strong emotional response akin to an art gallery.

The combination of natural materials lends the interiors a timeless quality. The walls and display surfaces become backdrops for the products to take centre stage. To control visual clutter, the Architect balanced between the curated display of the latest products and the archival of older models stored in pull-out drawers below. This clever, unexpected approach satisfied the client’s brief.

This project is wonderfully poetic and innovative at the same time. The architect has proven that designing sustainably adds immeasurable value. The Jury unanimously awarded this project Design of the Year, as the Architect’s sensitive use of the ordinary resulted in an extraordinary interior.