Considering the time limit and budget constraints set for the renovation of this heritage shophouse along Singapore’s Blair Road, we can confidently say that Ministry of Design passed with flying colours. Not in the literal sense, of course, because the Canvas House was given an all-white palette by the interior design studio: a strategy that was not only budget- and time-friendly, but conceptually striking.
Canvas House was developed as a co-living space, aiming to appeal to expats looking to rent a place for around 3 months to a year. A Thomas Jefferson quote, emblazoned across a wall in a neon art piece by The Signmakers, sums up the soul of the architectural project quite succinctly: “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” But while the whiteness of the space symbolises a blank canvas with immense possibilities, the studio paid homage to its past in glimpses: a swatch of exposed brick, intricate details of pre-owned furniture, shadows of old timber, peek-a-boo vignettes on decorative dragon or longevity vases. The approach is playful yet meaningful, with every detail present for a reason.
Speaking more about the project, the studio explains, “our response was to layer over the existing history with a proverbial blank canvas while leaving choreographed glimpses into the past, blanketing both space and the furniture in it – allowing us two blur the inherent boundaries between past and present, object and space.”
Ministry of Design works in the fields of architecture, interior design and branding, operating from their headquarters in Singapore and their Beijing and Kuala Lumpur offices. More on their website and Instagram.