a MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S party : 2000
Text : Mishop Photography : Chaun Do
125 year old frangipani trees were trucked in from Malaysia and tilted to form an enclosed canopy at the entry steps
The entry bar does not have bar stools at the counter, but instead, lined along the opposite wall for a more intimate experience
A subtle Japanese aura invades the entry bar, clad with gold plated stainless steel, black granite and floating off a black lacquered timber floor
T H E N E O T E S T A M E N TA Man. A woman. The Garden of Eden. This is not from the Bible's Book of Genesis, but from our modern day pleasure zone, where nocturnal creatures rise and revel in the latest hotspot at the local club district, Mohamed Sultan Road. To the Adams and Eves and all the boogie animals of today, the new Club Eden which opened last month may almost be God-sent. The trendy row of shop house-nightspots which has seen many a night of retro-thumping music and young crowds have no doubt, left the feathers of the mature-and-seen-it-all types (Read: glamorous *fake* intelligent *fake* beautiful people) a tad bit ruffled.
So it comes as no surprise that this spanking gorgeous creation with the music of house, garage, jazz and Latin (yes, nothing too common and commercial please) would get the bold and the beautiful shaking and rattling. No intentions to disparage this jet set of course. After all, who could resist not stepping in to see this tempting watering hole, and to be seen?
Indeed, this newer club entrant which sashayed its way into the rear end of the Mohamed Sultan shop house joints has gained much attention. Nightspot neighbors along the stretch muse to themselves about the alleged 7-figure amount that was spent in putting the club up while clubbers preen with a certain sense of chic superiority, "Oh I was at Eden last night". As for the young ones who frequent the front end of the row, there goes that disappointment of not being 25 years of age (males in particular actually).
But besides being new, the striking design elements of the club have undoubtedly lent more than the usual hype to the club as with other run-of-the-mill night joints. Club Eden is designed by Ed Poole from Poole Associates, who also engineered the looks of other nightlife establishments such as the China Jump Bar & Grill at CHIJMES, the former Lava Lounge at Orchard Road, Hu'u Bar at the Art Museum, Provignage at Robertson Quay and Next Page Pub at Mohamed Sultan Road, amongst others.
The frontage of this traditionally structured shop house unit is painted with glowing vermilion red. Yet as one is ready to write off Eden as yet another Oriental-inspired outlet (red lanterns anyone?), a certain sense of individuality remains in the air, and indeed, there is certainly more than meets the eye at this haven of heaven. As one walks up the steps past the gateway ach formed by frangipani trees, a garden lounge of tropical foliage and water-trickling Koi pond has a manner of soothing the weary soul. So serene, this sanctuary is, that had you not known this club hub better, the initial impression of the place might as well been a health spa or a new age resort.
Step into the 3000 sq ft - large insides and the ambience takes a turn. The heavenly theme remains in the air, yet a sense of foreboding lurks. The natural greenery of Eden is not so apparent now, with a steel bar of 24K gold veneer by the side and black wood floorings and seats. Bar stools were purposely left out, reason being that probably, patrons have to mingle and make their rounds anyway. But bar stools or not, house specialties such as Adam's Apple, Forbidden Fruit and Serpent's Bite could still be enjoyed at the ample seats around the lounge.
According to co-owner, 33-year old Raymond Ng, part of the plan was to create a sense of progression in the nightlife experience as patrons step from the idyllic garden lounge into a darker urban jungle.
"It's going back to the biblical times where it originally was about innocence, bliss, ignorance and sexual temptation. We're trying to get the same sinister undertones here at Club Eden," explained the other co-owner, M. Darin Friedmann.
Having said that, the next transition in the Eden experience comes when one steps into yet another demarcated section - the dance bar, where the music palpitates hard and strong and the colored lighting swerve in psychedelic motion.
It is almost as if one has entered the belly of the serpent, which has been so subtly incorporated in the club's logo and interior elements. Both the bar at the front lounge and the padded walls in the dance area have been specially designed to resemble the scales of a snake.
Chances are, that nightlife patrons will pick up the bareback girl by the bar rather than on these clever architectural metaphors.
But what one might really notice, is that the look and feel of Eden does not fall into the conventional shop house standards along the other joints of the road. For a shop house space of 5 by 50 meters, the tendency to create another narrow dance bar - pub is frequent.
To break this spatial claustrophobia, subtle use of steps starting from the front door to the back helps to create an undulating feel about the club. From the moment a person steps into the club and walks to the back end, he or she would have already endeavored five series of steps, all of which help to separate the long space into various zones.
So much for a designer dance club. Never mind if the whole partying notion is just to have a sloshing good time. At least at Eden, you lounge in luxury and get sloshed in style.
If you happen to think of Adam and Eve's original sin, [oh yes the serpent is lurking in some corner] chill out. This is your night. Your prerogative to party as hard as sin.
25 Mohammed Sultan Road Singapore
Update March 2003 :: Club Eden no longer exists : the lush entry garden has been covered with concrete by the current tenant
Project Design Team :
Poole Associates Private Limited
Ed Poole, Mateo H. Osorio Jr.,
Wong Kim Mei, Norman Anton
T 65 | 6536 | 3928