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O N E  C O U N T R Y,  T W O  S Y S T E M S

baize (bāz), n. a soft felt like fabric, usu. dyed green, commonly used for the tops of game tables. [1570-80; earlier bayes < F baies (n.), OF [estoffes fabrics] baies, fem. pl. of bai (adj.) BAY[5]

This pool bar located at Singapore's Clarke Quay is a Chinese box of surprises with its integration of seemingly opposing styles. With its bare concrete finishes and homogenous decor, the interior projects the image of opulence while maintaining a clean, minimalist feel to the whole space; its antiquated furnishing also looks unexpectedly contemporary.

 

 

ISH

fragments from an urbanscape 6.2 2004

 

Text : Lisha Ojun

Photography : Kelley Cheng

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housed on the second floor of a renovated godown facing the Singapore river, the 7,500 square foot space houses a bar [China One] and an upmarket pool hall [Baize]. The brainchild of four friends, this pool bar is perhaps the first of its kind in Singapore. Conceptualized as a luxurious entertainment spot with a decidedly Oriental theme, designer Ed Poole has been hired to realize the vision of old China with its smoky opium dens and ornately carved mahogany furniture.

After the initial space planning, during which walls were knocked down to form a comprehensive space formerly divided by four tenants, a business trip to China was organized to visit an antique dealer, located just outside Shanghai. There, valuable pieces of antique tables and chairs were identified and ordered for reconditioning. To make up the inventory, several pieces of Chinese bar stools, high tables and even the foldable door screens were custom-made in a similar style. To further achieve the look of authenticity, even the bar top was designed in segments so that the same carpenters could work on them before shipping them over.

Exquisite screens mounted onto the walls seem to hint at a metaphysical entrance into a secret paradise.

 

The result is a sophisticated recreation of a bygone era, housed in the exposed and weathered beams of a converted warehouse. Exquisite screens mounted onto the walls seem to hint at a metaphysical entrance into a secret paradise. Under the soft glow of light bulbs in their variety of metal cages, tobacco leather sofas, translucent silk curtains and seductive opium beds all connive to perpetuate a dignified air of intimacy. At Baize, the designer does away with the cheap metal lampshades found in average pool halls. Instead, rattan lamp shades illuminate the playing surfaces with a warm friendly glow. In psychological terms, this makes for a much more relaxed game. Interestingly, the only use of colored lights is in the kitchen, tucked behind the bar and separated by a piece of frosted glass. With the kitchen lights on, the bar is backlit with an intense wash of color, ranging from chili red to sunflower yellow.

Much thought has gone into the selection of artwork to compliment the lighting of the space. Painted in a style reminiscent of the Dutch master, where a subtle beam of light highlights the subject in an otherwise dark background, mysterious Chinese beauties and Buddha's adorn the dappled concrete walls with shadows of their smiles. With ample wall space still bare, the management is toying with the idea of incorporating an art gallery into the already dual-function establishment.

Both designer and management see the design of China One and Baize as one that evolves over time. There are already plans to construct a 'live' music stage, and to use more carpeting and fabric banners to soften the space. With its daring new concept and enthusiastic embracement of change, this pool bar shows that the 'one country, two systems' formula is perfectly workable.

 

New feature 2014 >
Project teams:  
Owners

Xiao Ping Holdings Pte Ltd

Block E, Clarke Quay River Valley Road #02.01-03, Singapore 179024

website > www.baize.com.sg | www.chinaone.com.sg

Interior designers

Poole Associates Private Limited

Penthouse One - 37F, One Pearlbank, Singapore 169016

website > www.poole-associates.com

project team : Ed Poole, Wong Kim Mei

Graphic Designers

Molotov Creative Consultants Pte Ltd 

60 Fernhill Rd #03-01 Fernhill Court, Singapore 259117

e:mail > alistair@molotov.cc

Project team : Alistair Christie, Peen Christie

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