By : Thio Lay Hoon, vol 2 no 5
Threaded bolts [made in Germany] attach the steel frames to the wall niches to timber backing. So secure is the bolting that to disassemble the unit would take about 30 minutes. [Bolting is also used to secure the steel legs of the display benches] Surrounding the steel wall frames are slivers of glass - 'the frame represents strength, it protects a precious, and desirable item, but the glass fin expresses an elegance and delicateness in that strength'.
A C I T Y M A N S I O N
By now anyone who has ever been to the new CityLink Mall to browse, shop, or just pass through, will have eyeballed Lee Hwa Jewellery's latest [and 21st] outlet, the Lee Hwa Diamond Gallery, that sports a sharp new upper-class image - or as designer Ed Poole says, in a moment of lightheadedness: "Audrey Hepburn's Breakfast at Tiffany's gone cybermad!"
On a less facetious note, the new look is described as "The City Mansion", which is more mature and appealing to an older clientele', and speaks of Lee Hwa being an 'established and solid' jeweller. 'The City Mansion' look is also markedly appropriate for the chic and urban location of this new outlet. Other aspects that Poole took into consideration for the design included 'the ad campaign, demographics of the store, known customer base, and future targets, as well as the design and price point of the product'. The 1,000 sq.ft. boutique is designed and built at a cool $2 million. Showcased here are high-quality diamond jewellery costing $1,000 to $60,000, aimed at 'filling the gap in the market between international brand-name jewellery and local products'. These pieces include several exclusives - such as the "Hearts on Fire" diamonds of perfect polish, proportion and symmetry - as well as stock from in-house designers priced at $3,000 to $5,000 apiece. This gallery will be the first in Lee Hwa's plans to open more Diamond Gallery outlets in Singapore and overseas, in the near future.
A holographic silver vinyl-dressed column with an expanding diameter that rises to the ceiling is undoubtedly the most commanding interior feature in the gallery; the quilted pattern of the vinyl dressing is noticeably done to resemble the cut chamfers on a diamond. The column is meant to 'grab attention from a distance', to attract the customer into the gallery first and then to direct focus to the podium displays that represent each collection in isolation'. Existing site conditions included a fixed door position, column and cut-off corner.
In planning the layout, Poole placed the office at the far left [of the entrance] to hide the irregular shape, then masked the cut-off upper left corner through the introduction of a flowing curved shape that relates to the [existing] central round column. The termination of the overlapping curvature is the glass case that holds the Hearts on Fire diamonds. 'This showcase was also the most expensive item, as stainless steel molds had to be made to form the curved glass pieces. Good precision workmanship was required to make it work properly. The rest is logical traffic flow, easy in movement for the staff and customer, and the overall effects of balance to the composition.' The lighting scheme too was precisely planned. 'We wanted to focus the customers' attention, as the product is very small.' Like a museum or gallery, the light is very bright at the product displays but the surrounding space is left dark. A giant ring of movable lights around the central column - representative of a diamond wedding ring - allows for flexibility in illumination: some are directed on the column and some over the podium display units which sit on a soft field' of carpeting. Even the thickness of the glass for the casings has to be of a carefully selected thickness as the inherent greenness would effect the appearance of the precious ware displayed.
Aspial : Diamond Gallery
11 locations in Singapore designed by Poole Associates
A softer, lounge area of the gallery: a special weave of silk and stainless steel makes up the fabric for the drapery; the cyber green sofa is a modified idea of Rodolfo Dordoni design called "waiting" and the low tables too are customized.
Project Design Team :
Poole Associates Private Limited
Ed Poole, Mateo H. Osorio Jr., Wong Kim Mei, Marie Bogart
T +65 | 6536 | 3928
Main Contractor :
Niche Interior Pte Ltd
150 Orchard Road #03.17
Orchard Plaza, Singapore 238841
T 65 | 6836 | 6626