Cover A home-threate outfit set against the exposed brick characteristic of Soho lofts in New York

Lian Miew Ching of Evocateurs recreates the Soho loft aesthetics in a 60-year-old building that was formerly a home theatre

It’s hard to deny the allure of the Soho loft aesthetic. A place we have come to associate with the artists that popularised these industrial buildings for their voluminous space. Now, these expansive spaces, high ceilings and cast-iron fixtures that circulate the walls characteristic of industrial buildings remind us of that appeal. 

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Above Singapore-based design firm Evocateurs recreates the Soho loft aesthetics in a 60-year-old building that was formerly a home theatre. Learn more about its design, as shared by Lian Miew Ching, principal and co-creative director of the studio.

And, that’s what you will see as you step into this cosy refurbished 60-year-old home theatre. With its exposed brick walls, cast-iron trimmings as well as an impressive home theatre set-up, you will certainly feel transported into a New York loft. 
 
Tucked away in one of the prestigious addresses in the lush Bukit Timah enclave in Singapore, this building was once a privately-owned home theatre in a family estate, which in its heyday lent itself as a venue for loved ones and guests to gather together, to not only enjoy the cinematic screenings but also the convivial company that came with it.  

Initially taken over as a home office by the current owner—a scion from a notable family—he began missing the sense of community this space once garnered and brought it upon himself to revive that spirit.  

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Knowing that restoring and refurbishing a 60-year-old building while maintaining its delicate fixtures and audio-fidelity in its voluminous space, the current owner turned to Evocateurs. With this interior design firm’s intimate and experiential approach to designing that evokes the feeling of reminiscence through our senses. 

In fact, co-creative director Lian Miew Ching would explain the firm’s design philosophy like this: “We chose the name Evocateurs as it was a perfect description of our design approach. It is designing through evoking memories—which is inspired in us through sensations and experience of a physical space.” 

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Despite the 60-year-old building’s magnificence on its own, which Lian has noted as ‘truly a hidden gem with its impressive spatial volume’, it still presented a unique challenge for her. “It came down to two main things: working with the conditions of a 60-year-old and recreating the industrial aesthetic for my client, while still achieving a polished and modern living space,” says Lian, summarising the factors she had to workaround. 

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However, with challenges come often come prospects for change. In the process of removing asbestos—which was done properly with a licensed contractor—from the main living area, it presented the building original timber beams and pitched roof. This was a brilliant discovery for Lian and her client, as it presented the opportunity to evolve the space further with the increased volume.  
 
“The thing about creating an industrial-esque aesthetic is that even though it looks simple, it paradoxically takes meticulous artistry, engineering and attention to detail to recreate,” Lian states about the Soho loft aesthetic.  

Alongside the classic element of Soho district lofts that have its wiring encased in beautifully in cast-iron fixtures that run along the walls, the scene was set. Lian had realised her client’s vision: home theatre building and living space stylised after the lofts of the Soho district. 

Looking at her project now, Lian is proud of what she has accomplished with her close working relationship with her client. In fact, it was due to this close relationship that gave rise to hers and the client’s favourite furnishing: the custom kitchen island that doubles as a dining table.  
 
Initially a simple kitchen island, it was outfitted with a tabletop that can be lifted on-and-off the island through hydraulics, a marvellous ingenuity brought about from the client’s love for hosting gatherings. 
 
“The kitchen is the nucleus of the home, and by extension the island counter. It is the (centre) that everyone gravitates towards. Not only functionally, it becomes an intersection for the kitchen, bar, living room, and the entertainment space, tying the spaces together,” says Lian. 

  • Content DirectionTerence Lim
  • VideographyDaryl Eng Jun
  • Video EditorDaryl Eng Jun
  • Photographer's AssistantNicola Ng
  • Photographer's AssistantJufri Husne
  • Art DirectionCharlene Lee
  • ProductionJeremiah Khoo
  • Make-UpDelanie Wong-Bonnefoy
  • HairDelanie Wong-Bonnefoy
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