Cover A large sofa lines the length of a wall in the living room, accompanied by a glass coffee table, soft furnishings and a Flos Arco floor lamp

RT+Q Architects crafts an idyllic abode with enviable views and a treasure trove of artworks

Art can play a key role when it comes to infusing an interior with life and character. Besides adding visual interest on the blank walls of an abode, artwork and prints can also tie a space together and inject it with personality. 

For a cosmopolitan couple who are avid art collectors, they tasked Jonathan Quek, director of RT+Q Architects, to design a contemporary and inviting home for them and their two children, where their prized artworks and paintings take centre stage. “The homeowners are big supporters of the local art scene,” notes Quek. “They have an extensive art collection that they have accumulated over the years. In many ways, the house was designed around their collection.”

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As the couple also have busy careers—the husband is a private equity investor and the wife is an endocrinologist—they were also looking to infuse a functional and restful ambience into the abode. Quek crafted a 5,000sqft soothing sanctuary by designing a simple and bright space that enhances the homeowners’ art collection with no unnecessary distractions. 

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A subdued colour palette consisting of calming shades like white, beige and light green dominates the rooms and serves as the perfect backdrop to display a selection of thoughtful artworks. In the open-plan living room, this is accompanied by a stone-cladded feature wall that anchors the composition and brings elements of the outdoor in. 

“The materials of the house played a supporting role for the art that was to be displayed,” the architect shares. “Neutral colours of travertine, white oak floor and walls were used to create a canvas for the art to shine through.”

A massive sofa with a sleek structure sits underneath a medley of paintings in the living room. The furniture piece is strategically oriented in a manner that encourages the family and their guests to look outwards to the lush greenery.

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The principal architect placed an emphasis on indoor-outdoor living by installing a myriad of sliding doors at various aspects of the home, including the living and dining zones. Created at the homeowner’s request to “experience elements of water and greenery at any part of the house”, the easy access to the pool and pockets of garden space also added a tropical charm to the home.

“It came back to the concept of achieving a clear visual and physical connection to nature throughout the house,” says Quek. “On the ground floor, we managed to open out the floor plan to both water and a lounge deck. On subsequent floors above, the C-shaped form (of the balconies) connects to the planters along the entire length of the house.”

Uniquely, the pool also houses a floating bonsai tree, which Quek highlighted as a challenging feat. “The floating bonsai had to be composed perfectly with the round moon window,” he recalls. “The Covid-19 pandemic derailed the delivery of materials and because of this, the plant grew and changed shape. We had to take measures and sink it further down for us to prune the plant and achieve our initial goal.”

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Upstairs, lofty living areas continue the monochromatic colour palette, allowing the artworks to form as the main protagonists of the areas. Quek dressed the walls with ​​an exuberant combination of artworks and photographs in the homeowners’ collection. The home bar entertainment area, for example, features a mix of family photos and shots from their travels. 

In the master bedroom, one’s eyes are immediately drawn to the feature wall that’s cladded in a calming sea green hue and lined with artworks. The connection to nature is further emphasised here, where “full-height glazing and deep-set, timber-lined overhangs allow a tropical and sustainable environment, alongside cross ventilation, natural sunlight and views to the planters and beyond”. The verdant foliage lining the perimeters of the bedroom created a welcoming retreat where one can lounge and soak in the peaceful ambience. 

The result of 16 months of hard work is an urban sanctuary that displays the homeowners’ diverse art collection with an elegant flair. Quek credits much of the success of the project with the easy working relationships that were formed throughout the construction process. “We had a trusting client who believed in our designs as well as a dedicated builder who took up the challenge to execute our plans for us.”

The architect himself is also beyond satisfied with the project: “We tried to fuse craft into the details of the house, whether it’s the custom-made powder room basin, cantilevered planter box, or the floating bay window. It’s nice to have these items as elements of surprises, and they’re also nice talking points when guests visit.”