A private theatre in the Shaw family’s Singapore estate has been converted into a Soho-inspired home that pays tribute to the magic of movie-making

First constructed by Shaw patriarch Runme Shaw as part of the Shaw family’s grand estate in the 1930s, this pre-war building is a building rich with history. Once used as a private theatre by the family that founded Shaw Organisation, the venue was where private screenings for their closest friends and business associates were held, capturing the magic of the silver screen and the heyday of 1930s Hollywood. 

Recently, this former cinema has now been converted into a residence and home office for one of the third-generation family members. Its interior has been updated with an edgy industrial-style look that takes inspiration from the loft apartments in New York’s Soho district. 

Don't Miss: Home Tour: A Soho Loft-Inspired Historic House Designed by Evocateurs

Its stunning transformation is a collaboration between homegrown firm Krieit Associates and sister firm Evocateurs. “It was a delicate project in conserving its historical significance and modernising it for its new functions as a working studio and residence. The original cinema screen is still completely intact and is used for movie screenings regularly,” says Roy Teo, founder and creative director Krieit Associates.

“This theatre was completely transformed into a contemporary, Tribeca-inspired luxury loft living,” says Teo, referring to the influence of the artist loft apartments in New York's Tribeca district. “The brief was to convert a home theatre building to a modern, multi-functional residence for a cosmopolitan gentleman and his family to cater to all aspects of life, be it personal, family, business or entertainment.”

In Case You Missed It: How Singapore Studio Evocateurs Designs Beautiful Celebrity Homes and Restaurants

Movie Magic
The designers took inspiration from the artist lofts in New York, along with the client’s passion for photography, film, and sound, and also adapting elements from David Fincher’s iconic Fight Club film for an “edgy inner-city vibe” in the living area.

“Our goal was to restore and celebrate the provenance of the home theatre, and to create an edgy interior design based on the architectural concept of modern city loft-living inspired by trendy loft conversion of New York’s Tribeca and the lifestyle vibe which goes along with it,” says Teo. 

Read More: 10 Inspiring Female Interior Designers in Singapore

The primary cinema area has now become a multifunctional open-plan space with living and dining areas. Here, the original architectural elements such as the timber beams and joists have been left exposed and repainted in a dark finish to celebrate its near century-old construction. The circle seats that were part of the double-tiered cinema layout have been converted into a mezzanine seating lounge.

“Audiophile requirements were a key consideration throughout design planning with final adjustments made by the occupant,” says Teo. “The manipulation of colour-transforming lights turns this interior into a cinematic experience of (akin to) physically being in a movie set. Imagine the neo-noir ambience of Blade Runner, with the audiences’ peripheral senses engaged by the evocative atmospheric lighting from different corners (of the room) while watching the movie.”

Industrial Roots
Adjacent to the living area is a kitchen area with an ingenious mechanism. It features a motorised countertop that can be raised or lowered to adjust the height of the table, such that the island can function as both a bar counter as well as a dining table.

Additionally, smart home systems have been cleverly incorporated into the home. These include voice and app-controlled controls for the motorised blinds and curtains, colour-changing light bulbs, along with sound and heat insulation integrated throughout the property.

The designers also took an eco-conscious approach to the accent pieces selected for the home. Adds Teo: “We’ve taken an upcycled approach by repurposing as much of the existing furniture such as the former cinema seats; the old garden spotlight was also stripped down to its base metal and rewired for LED bulbs.”

The former projector room is now the master bedroom, with the original projector pod holes and mechanical shutters carefully conserved in tribute to the building’s history and the family’s cinematic legacy. Myriad other elements can similarly be found in other areas of the home, including the home office and a guest room.

What was once a home theatre has now been fully converted into a stylish, multifunctional abode. “This is a truly unique project in terms of the design concept, restoration, and luxury living incorporating clever innovation and bespoke solutions,” sum up the designers. “It was an exciting project working on this one-of-a-kind property with an enthusiastic and engaging client!” 

Above Evocateurs and Krieit Associates recreate the Soho loft aesthetics in a historic building that was formerly a home theatre. Learn more about its design, as shared by Lian Miew Ching, principal and co-creative director of Singapore-based studio Evocateurs.
© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.