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T Suggests: An Industrial Shophouse, a Taste of New York in Singapore, and a Chic Youthful Fragrance

By T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore

Alexandra House is Figment’s latest boutique shophouse in Lorong 24A Geylang.
Courtesy of Figment
Alexandra House is Figment’s latest boutique shophouse in Lorong 24A Geylang.

Singaporean Shophouse Living With a Modern Redesign

To many Singaporeans, conserved shophouses are physical repositories of nostalgic charm; a visual treat wherever they appear in sporadic clusters around the island city. But to members of Figment, a boutique co-living initiative, these time-hallowed buildings also play the role of modern homes.

“A lot of the other co-living operators are run by expats, and they don’t have a first-degree understanding of shophouses. So a lot of it would focus on Peranakan tiles or the facade,” says Fang Wei Low, the co-founder of Figment. “But that’s been done to death.”

The Alexandra House, Figment’s latest addition to its growing roster of modernised shophouses, is a prime example of how Fang and his team are reimagining these old-world buildings. Situated amid the row of pre-war shophouses lining Lorong 24A in Geylang, Alexandra House fits right into the lane’s aesthetic code. From the street, it’s identical to its flanking neighbours: an archetypal narrow front that seems to enshroud a no-frills two-storey abode. But step inside, and you’ll quickly realise that what’s within is worlds apart from what its unassuming façade would have led you to believe.

Alexandra House is, in fact, a four-storey shophouse; its two extra floors are built as mid-storeys by FARM, a Singapore-based studio responsible for designing boutique hotels including Lloyd’s Inn, The Great Madras and the new Wanderlust. FARM retains the house’s original structure but reimagines it into a warm, industrial haven. Most of the walls in the house are exposed, made up of rustic red bricks that have been preserved for close to a century. (Named after Alexandra Brickworks, Singapore’s first industrial brick manufacturer the house’s name is a nod to this element).

On the ground floor is a sprawling lap pool. Walk up the stairs and you’ll find the communal dining room. Take another flight up and you’ll enter the living area, where five different suites are nestled all the way up to the fourth floor. “One experiences the continuity of space through a series of stairs that loop the length of the shophouse on multi levels,” writes FARM of the house in its design statement. “The dialogue between the old and new is constantly questioned and revealed through the shift in geometry, height, volume and material.” — Bianca Husodo

The Figment Alexandra House is located Lorong 24A in Geylang with rental prices starting from S$2150/ month with a 3-month minimum stay. Enquire for more information at +65 826 2162 from 10am to 6pm.

In Singapore, A Taste of New York in a Cocktail

Courtesy of ManhattanThe Monsieur Saint-Jour, S$26.
The Monsieur Saint-Jour, S$26.

Manhattan, as its name suggests, presents an all-encompassing experience of the luxurious Upper East Side in New York — a step through the solid double doors of the cocktail bar, located within Regent hotel, instantly transports one to another world and a different era. Its grandiose interior of marble Art Deco tiles, plush Chesterfield sofas and subdued lighting serves as a befitting backdrop to taste its latest menu concept, New York Personified. Taking inspiration from illustrious figures of the city (such Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Fitzgerald and the Ramones), Manhattan distills their stories into an array of artisanal, unique cocktails. 

An intriguing drink for the connoisseur — named the Monsieur Saint-Jour — presents itself as a twist on the classic vesper martini. The Anthony Bourdain-inspired cocktail is served in a flute with an olive wrapped in an oyster leaf, like an hor d’oeuvre, its salinity and brininess highlighting the botanical notes of the gin-based concoction.

An intercontinental gastronomy illustrative of the melting pot that is New York complements the drinks. Some choice dishes include crisp chicken shawarma wraps topped off with a chipotle aioli sauce and pomegranate pearls, Chinese-style smoked pork belly and cabbage slaw sandwiched in steamed buns, and an unusual option for a bar snack — a creamy clam chowder with rosemary focaccia — that is rich without overwhelming the palate.

While the menu includes a selection of delectable desserts, try the 3000, a Robert Downey Jr.-inspired cocktail that references a famed scene from “Avengers: Endgame” (2019). An obvious crowd-puller of the menu, this dessert cocktail is a warm, velvety blend of rum, chocolate and vanilla cream, frosted with strawberry dust in the distinctive shape of Iron Man’s arc reactor. — Marisa Xin

Manhattan is located at Regent Singapore, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715.

The Fragrance That Captures the Essence of Youth

Courtesy of ByredoByredo’s first ever boutique in Singapore presents the brand’s fragrance and makeup offerings under one roof and features a campaign for Lil Fleur at the entrance.
Byredo’s first ever boutique in Singapore presents the brand’s fragrance and makeup offerings under one roof and features a campaign for Lil Fleur at the entrance.

Byredo has built a house based on beautiful fragrances and chic design elements. It has also dived into accessories and recently collaborated with celebrated makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench to offer up a curated makeup collection that will be sold here from the month of October.

Recently, the brand has made a bigger foray into Singapore with the opening of its first standalone boutique in Singapore. The store displays and furniture uses coloured anodised aluminium, and has a concrete floor, casted seating, a high gloss sculptural centrepiece and a hand-made carpet. There you’ll be able to get your hands on the brand’s latest scent, Lil Fleur. Lil Fleur is a traditional floral built around a heart of Damascena rose, with notes of cassis, tangerine, blonde woods, amber and vanilla adding depth and sophistication to the fragrance. Brand founder and creative director Ben Gorham says, “I feel that perfume often tries to capture one idea or one emotion; Lil Fleur is about capturing a complex personality, one we can all recognise. As a brother to a sister, and a father to a daughter, in my experience it does not get more beautiful and interesting than the personalities of a young spirit.” The fragrance has an unusual campaign created by M/M (Paris) and Craig McDean that uses traditional portraiture with hand-drawn elements to represent their personal thoughts and feelings. The brand cast 12 real women in New York (six of whom appear in the first wave of advertising) to capture the multifaceted teen spirit that Lil Fleur embodies. — Renée Batchelor

Lili Fleur is available at the Byredo Boutique at Takashimaya Shopping Centre, #B1-34.