The project intent was to create a distinctive retail space within a heritage shophouse that responds to the site context of Tras Street. The proposed shophouse sells vinyl records and focuses on boosting awareness of the independent music community.
The spaces of the shop were designed after conducting rigorous site research, especially on the human flow and consumer types. The site is located in Tras Street, which has a vibrant urban setting. As most of those who visit Tras Street are working adults in the vicinity who go to the bars and restaurants after work to socialise, the target consumer groups were need-based consumers, passers-by and window shoppers.
The design concept was based on using the hexagonal geometric form, where a horizontal hexagonal grid system was established over the floor plate. Each hexagon has a side length of 1,350 millimetres. Elements of the shop were extruded from this grid at varying heights to create floor plates, shelves, podiums and furniture. The increments in height were determined by a vertical liner grid system of 675-millimetre height increments. The six-sided hexagonal grid created six different spatial experiences and usage of hexagons throughout the entire shop house.
A distinctive feature of this design is that the entrance of the shop house is intentionally located at the back alley. The store gives off an ‘underground’ vibe as independent music is a more hidden and lesser-known genre. However, it is easy for consumers to find their way to this entrance because the shop house is located near the access to the back alley.
The shop front is simple, with a brass framed full glass front window that is sleek and ties in with the consumer type of Tras Street. The glass frame allows passers-by to look directly into the shop so that they will be able to see what the shop is about, especially when there are performances going on. The intention is to ‘push’ independent music out to gain the interest of the public.
The second floor plate is undulating to create different spaces in the shop house. The difference in spaces was determined by the heights of the ceilings and the amount of natural light entering the space. The two main staircases connect the spaces diagonally from open space to open space and from compressed space to compressed space. The open spaces have higher ceilings and are brighter than the compressed spaces.
As most of the target consumers of the area generally visited bars and restaurants, the materials selected for the shop house were similar to those finishes seen in food and beverage (F&B) spaces, including brass, Crema Marfil Marble, Dark Emperador Marble, fabric and timber. Timber was used on the ceiling for better acoustic qualities during performances.
The shop house is of heritage value so the structure, façade and certain key elements within the shop house could not be modified. The air well and courtyard within the shop house had to be retained, so it was important to select suitable materials for these exposed areas.
Sound Hive won the gold award for best retail design at the Spatial Design Awards (SPADE) 2017, part of the Design Excellence Awards 2017 organised by the Interior Design Confederation Singapore (IDCS).
Student Name: Ye Xiao Xuan
School: Singapore Polytechnic Design School
Programme: Diploma in Interior Design
Instructor: Sharmila Kanagalingam
Project Name: Sound Hive
Location: 42 Tras Street, Singapore
Site Area: 265 square metres
Gross Floor Area: 485 square metres
Building Height: 2 storeys; 12 metres
Images: Singapore Polytechnic Design School