Top 8 Insta-famous Architecture in Singapore to See (and Shoot)

Top 8 Insta-famous Architecture in Singapore to See (and Shoot)

We are often captivated by architecture that are grand and imposing, if not ones that simply confound the mind. M.C. Escher’s mind-boggling artwork has bamboozled people all over the world and even served as the inspiration for the main lobby of the Zhongshuge Bookstore in Chongqing, China.  

The Dancing House in Prague, Czech Republic, best elucidates the idea that monumental architectures were not built to blend in, they were made to stand out. 

Likewise on our sunny little island, you can find some truly unique buildings that have garnered somewhat of a following on Instagram. Here’s our pick of the top 8 most interesting and Insta-genic architecture in Singapore. 

1. The Interlace  

The Interlace looks like a massive real-life manifestation of a younger kid’s imagination while playing with Lego.  

Designed by German Architect, Ole Scheeren and OMAthe Interlace is an upmarket condominium that features rectangular blocks irregularly stacked upon one another, creating a web of crisscrossing blocks that make up a whole.  

The Interlace truly pushes the boundaries and challenges the idea that communal living spaces should merely consist of single towering blocks, as we have so commonly seen as the typical configuration in the neighbourhoods of Singapore.  

Though it’s a private condominiumthe Interlace is an intriguing example of what residential projects could look like, private or otherwise. 

Address

180 Depot Road, Singapore 109684

2. DUO Tower 

The youngest on this list, Duo Tower is yet another brainchild of Ole ScheerenA twin-tower concept along Beach Road in the heart of Bugis, the Duo Tower adds to the rich architectural landscape in the area.  

Featuring a concave-curved, all glass façade, the DUO Tower eschews the rigidity that so many skyscrapers that grace the skyline of Singapore adoptsUsing a honeycomb pattern made of metal brise-soleil that blankets the entire surface of the towers, it aids the building reduce heat gain inside by deflecting the sunlight.  

It’s not all concept and design for the DUO Tower, as it is a highly functional, multipurpose space that consists of offices, a hotel, retail galleries, and residential accommodations. The DUO Tower is the latest in a line of futuristic buildings that are popping up in Singapore.   

Address

3 Fraser St, DUO Tower, Singapore 189352

3. Golden Mile Complex  

The Golden Mile Complex is embroiled in the same tricky debate that surrounds the Pearl Bank Apartment  to conserve or tear down? It is no doubt part of Singapore’s architectural history, and with that also comes along a façade that is so old that it may not (some say)conform to the futuristic skyline of Singapore today 

To many local architects and heritage specialists, however, both these iconic structures represent visionary architecture of their time, leaving an indelible impact on Singapore’s built-up landscape in the 20th century. 

Completed in 1973, the Golden Mile Complex looks like a giant typewriter that dropped from the sky, a “stepped-back terrace” form that was a first of its kind in SingaporeConsisting of 16 floors, the Complex is a mix of some 400 shops, 200 offices, and 70 apartments. In August of 2018, the building was announced to be en bloc, which means Singapore will soon lose one of its iconic and historic architecture.  

Address

5001 Beach Rd, Singapore 199588

4. ArtScience Museum 

The ArtScience Museum lies at the tip of the Bayfront boulevard, looking like a lotus flower blooming by the bay. The museum may look like it cannot hold much of any works, let alone an entire gallery, but it hides an entire labyrinth of galleries and exhibits below the surface.  

The first museum of its kind in Singapore, the ArtScience Museum dedicates its galleries to the exploration of the contact zone between art and science, two seemingly opposing concepts and ideas. Since it’s opening in 2011, the museum has housed major exhibitions featuring the likes of illustrious painters and scientists such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Salvador Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, and M.C. Escher.  

The white lotus façade is one that many will recognise, but the interior of the museum is no slouch. The stunning visual galleries within the museum make for a great Instagram photo-op as you get awed by the myriad of lights and creative displays.  

Address

6 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018974

5. The Esplanade

Affectionally dubbed “the Durian” by many Singaporeans, the Esplanade is to Singapore what the Sydney Opera House is to Sydney, Australia. The Sydney Opera House was built back in 1973 in a bid to turn Sydney into the cultural capital of Australia. Much in the same way, the Esplanade was built with the intention to propel Singapore as the cultural capital of Asia. 

The design of the Esplanade was controversial, to say the least, with people insisting the building looked like a “marshmallow blob” amongst other monikers. The 7,000 triangular aluminium “spikes” that give the appearance of a durian are more than just mere façade or form.  

While the Esplanade is well-known for its design, the facilities within is what makes the Esplanade truly shine. Both the 2000-seat Theatre and the 1600-seaConcert Hall were designed and built to cater to the demands of Asian arts performance, and especially those of the traditional arts. The Concert Hall, in particular, was designed by late respected acoustician Russell Johnson to be able to adjust and tune for a wide range of performances from Western rock music to classical recitals, making it one of the best concert halls in the world.  

Address

1 Esplanade Dr, Singapore 038981

6. Parkview Square

Many know it as the “Gotham Square” for its resemblance to Gotham City from the DC Comics. Parkview Square is the art deco skyscraper of Singapore that stands tall along Beach Road, just in front of the DUO Tower.  

The courtyard of Parkview Square is reminiscent of the open piazzas of Italy that are adorned with numerous ornate statues. At Parkview Square, you can find the statues of world-renowned philosophers and figures from Plato to Sun Yat Sen.  

Behind its quiet but sturdy façade are tenants that includes the Honorary Consulate of Oman, and the embassies of the United Arab Emirates, Austria, and Mongolia. Enter the building and you’ll find a majestic lobby that houses ATLAS Bar. A three-storey wine chiller will most likely be the first thing that captures your attention. Waitresses can be seen every now and then “flying” up to retrieve wine bottles and delivering them as if plucked from the sanctuary of heaven. 

 Address

600 North Bridge Rd, Singapore 188778

7. The Fullerton Hotel 

The oldest of all buildings on this list, the Fullerton Hotel is as historic as they come. Before it was the Fullerton Hotel, it was the General Post Office Building, and even before that it was Fort Fullerton.  

The history of this site and building cannot be understated, it was once the Fullerton Building, named after Robert Fullerton, the first governor of the Straits Settlements. Conceived as part of the centennial celebrations in 1919this massive classical-styled architecture reflected the belief and confidence of the colonialists when it was constructed in 1928. 

Since then, the Fullerton site has seen the fall of the British Empire and the heated rallies of Post-World War II as Singapore marched to full self-governance. Its historic significance is nearly unmatched and was gazetted as a national monument in 2015.  

Address

1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178

8. Marina Bay Sands 

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is fast becoming the number 1 architectural silhouette of Singapore, plastered on postcards everywhere and photographed by almost everyone 

Part of the ambitious waterfront and casino resort project, Marina Bay Sands was designed by world-renowned Israeli born architect Moshe Safdie who has also since designed Jewel Changi. With three, 55-storey towers propping up an elongated SkyPark that features an infinity pool, it is a façade that has drawn raves amongst many locals and tourists alike.  

Whether is it snapping a photo from the ground up, or taking a selfie right up at the infinity pool, any photo at the Marina Bay Sands will be sure to add something to your Instagram feed.  

Address

10 Bayfront Ave, Singapore 018956

Top image by Zac Ong on Unsplash.

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7 Unique Singapore Souvenirs to Bring Home With You

7 Unique Singapore Souvenirs to Bring Home With You

Your stay in Singapore has (sadly) come to an end but before that flight home you plan to get some keepsakes that will remind you of your time in Singapore. 

Now, I’m not here to ask you get that tacky “I love Singapore” T-shirt or the typical fridge magnets and no, Merlion chocolates are a thing of the past. With many local designers and indie brands popping up, there’s no lack of ingeniouosly designed knick-knacks to be found in the local gift scene.  

If you are looking to bring a Singaporean keepsake back with you, check out these 7 unique Singapore souvenirs you won’t find anywhere else. 

1. Food-related Trinkets (and There are Many, Way Too Many)

By now you’ve probably realised Singaporeans love obsession with all things food, and we have an abundance of local heritage food — Chicken Rice, Laksa, Nasi Lemak, and Chilli Crab to name a few. So naturally, this would extend to little gifts that revolve around our favourite and best eats.

The Little Drom Store has a lovely and quirky collection of designer plates featuring food recipes and different local delicacies. If you can’t bear to use them, these plates can also serve as an excellent decoration setpiece (as Red Republic shows us) that will have your guests chirping with delight.

If you feel the plates are a tad too big, there are little keychains or pins that are perfect to hang from the zippers of your bag or pinned right at your shirt pocket. 

If you would like something a little more special, Thepigbakesclay does clean cufflinks of a traditional Chinese pastry called Ang Ku Kueh.

The colour red in the pastry signifies luck and the tortoise shell design points to longevity. 

Where to get them?

Online at The Little Drom Store, Red Republic, Thepigbakesclay, and available at Naiise Outlets.

2. Orchid, Our National Flower

The national flower of Singapore is the Orchid, and we can’t very well ask you to bring fresh flowers home (it won’t survive the flight). Thankfully for Gardens by the Bay, they have preserved natural Dendrobium Orchids into glass paperweights moulded in the iconic silhouettes of the Gardens by the Bay. Available in multiple models, from the signature Supertree to the world-renowned flower domes, such a beautiful paperweight will sure to spur gazes of envy. 

Photo courtesy of Gardens by the Bay.

Singapore Memories has done something completely different with the Orchid, taking its essence and scent and infusing it in perfume bottles. The result is a unique gift that will trigger your memory of your visit with just a whiff.

Where to get them?

Online and at the Gardens by the Bay Gift Shop and online at Singapore Memories

3. The Salted Egg Yolk Craze

Salted egg anything feels like a craze that will never die down. Want to make a dish of yours more popular? Just slap on some salted egg sauce and you’re good to go.

And with this craze birthed a new craze of salted egg yolk chips and fried fish skin. IRVINS Salted Egg is one of the pioneers and leading brands of salted egg yolk chips. It’s popularity is unmatched with queues at its outlets all across the island where selling out the day is a given. 

If you can’t bear the queues, The Golden Duck Co. and Aunty Esther’s are fine alternatives. 

Where to get them?

Online and at IRVINS Outlets, Online and at The Golden Duck Co. Outlets, Online and at Aunty Esther’s Outlets

4. A Marmalade for the Cocktail Aficionados

The Singapore Sling has a long history in Singapore, said to be first concocted in the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel back in 1915 by Hainanese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon. The cocktail consists of a base of gin, cherry liqueur, pineapple, and lime. 

The Straits Preserve Singapore, a maker of marmalades, has turned Singapore’s signature cocktail into a jam that can be enjoyed as the first meal of your day. It takes the classic flavours from the cocktail and made a marmalade that is fruity and citrus-y with a hint of cherry. 

Truly a reimagination of the Singapore classic, and now you can have “alcohol” for breakfast.

Where to get them?

Online and at Changi Airport, Naiise, and various outlets

5. Local-inspired Artisanal Teas

Singaporeans love their local cup of kopi (coffee with milk) and teh (tea with milk), yours truly included, but I have yet to find an instant sachet that can completely capture the taste. 

There are, however, some artisanal teas that have taken classic Singaporean flavours and infused them into teas, producing teas that may surprise you. 

The first comes from Ette Tea which styles themselves as a contemporary tea house which strives for an intricate blend of heritage and tradition with modern and novel designs. One of the most bizzare flavours that was birthed was the Nasi Lemak tea. 

Nasi Lemak is a savoury, spicy, rice dish with the rice being cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaves. It is a Malay dish that is adored by all. Ette Tea has taken the fragrant coconut and pandan flavours and brewed a tea that features a blend of houjicha, genmaicha, coconut flakes, dried pandan, and dried chilli. 

If you are less adventurous, you can consider Ette Tea’s other local creations or teas from T2 Tea. You’ve heard about the classic English Breakfast tea, but have you heard about the Singapore Breakfast tea? T2 Tea offers a unique blend of puerhcha that is inspired by and reminiscent of Kaya Toast, an iconic breakfast in Singapore. 

To tea purists, this may not sound all that inviting, but if you want something that’s out of this world and unique, these artisanal teas may do the trick. 

Where to get them?
Singapore Breakfast Tea: Online and available T2 Tea Outlets

Ette Tea: Online and available Naiise Outlets

 

6. A Little Inflection of Singlish

Singlish words have entered the Oxford English Dictionary since 2016, prompting some sort of legitimacy as a variant form of the English language (at least in the eyes of the International audience). 

To Singaporeans however, Singlish is our pride and joy, an economical, efficient, straight to the point way of communication.

Statement.sg has taken our beloved language and imprinted them on cotton tees. From quintessential Singlish “No Lah Where Got” to completely bewildering to foreigners, like “Uh Uh Siol”, the tees are an innovative way to celebrate something that is irreplaceably ours. 

If you don’t want to wear Singlish, you can bring them around by way of tote bags courtesy of The Little Drom Store. The designs are cute and give you just enough information to understand what the phrases may mean. 

Hey, who says Singlish can’t be stylish?

Where to get them?
Shirts by Statement: Online or available Naiise outlets

The Little Drom Store: Online

7. Hear the (cute) Merlion Roar

Part mermaid, part lion, the Merlion is solidly entrenched within Singapore’s lore and mythology. Its fish body seeks to represent the port town or sea town that Singapore once was and the lion head represents Singapore’s other name of “Singapura” which means “lion city”. 

The Red Republic have reimagined the Merlion into an adorable plushie that you can hug for life, perfect for a gift for any little one. The mystery faces series features tons of different facial expressions and the fun part is not knowing which expression you’ll get until you open the box!

Maybe these merlions won’t roar, but they are gosh darn cute. 

Where to get them?
Available online and at Naiise outlets 

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Useful Apps to Download Before Your Trip to Singapore

Useful Apps to Download Before Your Trip to Singapore

Where in the world is Singapore?

Singapore is an island city-state located in Southeast Asia and is often called the ‘Little Red Dot’. Singapore may be small, but its outsize influence in the world has made her one of the most popular travel destinations. In 2018 alone, this island nation has welcomed a record high of 18.5 million visitors! Being one of the countries near the Equator, Singapore does not experience the four seasons. The weather is warm and humid year-round and rain showers are possible at any time.

Are Singaporeans the Crazy Rich Asians?

Well, this is a matter of debate. Singapore does have a wealth of experience to offer whether you’re a cultural purist or an epicurean. One thing’s for sure, Singapore has definitely come a long way, from a small fishing village to a modern metropolis.

Can I see a Merlion in Singapore?

Of course. The mythical creature with the head of a lion and body of a fish, is the official mascot of Singapore. Head over to the Merlion Park to get a mandatory #selfie.

Now, before you embark on your adventure to the far east, check out these apps that will come in handy when you’ve arrived in sunny Singapore.

All the apps listed here are available to download on iOS and Android devices.

Arrival/Departure

iChangi App

Navigating around the airport should be stress-free. From flight times, departure gates, real-time updates and even shopping and dining information, this comprehensive iChangi app will be your virtual chaperone in the world’s best airport.

Getting Around

The city is relatively easy to navigate with public transport options like bus and train. Depending on your preferred mode of transport: either by private hires or public transportation, here are two apps that will make getting around Singapore a breeze.

City Mapper

Singapore has one of the best public transit systems in the world. Save some dollars and explore the city on public transport. City Mapper is well-designed and provides information on all the train and bus routes, and when you’ve decided on a route that you want to take, you’ll receive real-time updates and a step-by-step direction details for walking, getting on the train or bus, and it includes approximate time for walking and changing train platform as well. All of these makes exploring the Lion city a little less daunting. We recommend getting a transport card (EZ-Link) when you arrive at the airport here.  One more thing, please do not consume food on the train and bus. 

Grab

Whether to escape the heat, albeit only for a short while, or a day trip to Sentosa island, or a fun night out— Grab and its fleet of private cars ranging from: Standard taxis, Economy vehicles to Large 6 and 13 seaters, are at your fingertips. And if you’re lucky, Grab does provide discount codes from time to time. You can opt to pay with cash or upload your credit card details to the app for cashless payment. You can also book cars ahead of time. Besides meeting your transport needs, Grab has incorporated food delivery services too.

See and Do

Not sure where to start exploring in Singapore? You can choose to go on an E-scooter guided tour, or explore the Lion city on foot with the Singapore Heritage Trails app!

Singapore Heritage Trails

I always believe that in order to know the land, you must walk the land. Singapore Heritage Trails app is created for both tourists and locals to discover the untold stories behind the streets and landmarks of Singapore. What makes this experience meaningful and authentic is that the app has a social platform in-built for you to share your experiences and memories of the trails you have embarked on.

Eat and Drink

You’d have heard and read about Singapore’s diverse culinary scene which is heavily influenced by the cultures of the different ethnic groups like Chinese, Malay, Eurasian, Peranakan and Indian. There is no lack of dining options in this cosmopolitan city, it all depends on your budget or whether is there a snaking queue (this is an unspoken code among Singaporeans which imply that the food here is good). And if you wish to get a taste of the local cuisine but you’re travelling solo or pressed for time, you can sign up for the Singaporean Food Trail here. For the food-obsessed travellers who have done their research prior to the trip, we recommend downloading the app – Chope!

Chope

The word ‘chope’ is a local slang for reserving a seat/table, which aptly describes the purpose of the app. With over 1,400 restaurants right at your fingertips, Chope, is the perfect app for the modern-day wayfarer to discover top dining spots and book a reservation instantly. But that’s not all, Chope offers exclusive dining offers and discounts from time to time.

Laundry

We know, you’re on vacation and doing laundry is possibly the last thing on your mind. But the weather is warm and humid in Singapore, having a set of fresh and clean clothes to wear for the rest of the trip is a necessity. If you’re not in the mood to sit and wait at the laundrette or even attempt to create your makeshift washing machine in your hotel’s bathtub— it’s time for you to meet Piing! your on-demand, cost-effective laundry assistant.

Piing

You might have accumulated a pile of worn clothes during your trip and waiting for the right time (procrastinating) to wash them. It’s time to download Piing! to make your life easier. Your personal laundry assistant will arrive at your doorstep according to your scheduled date and time to collect your items. You can choose to pay by cash or credit cards once your items have been washed and delivered back to you. Piing!’s reliable and efficient service means that next-day delivery is possible too. If you’re wondering how much the laundry service will cost prior to your order, the price list is available on the app.

After a day out exploring the city, you just want to put your feet up and chill by the pool, laundry is the last thing on your mind. So, why not leave it to Piing! and all you need to do is simply tap on your mobile screen.

Staying connected in Singapore

Last but not least, if you’re wondering how to stay connected to the internet service in Singapore, you can rent a pocket wifi router at the airport when you’ve arrived here.

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