by : Cheryl Frois vol 2 no 5
Update : The lease has run out on the space and Frontpage no longer exists
The main lounge and its obvious center of attention. Mirrors are everywhere, even on the ceiling.
All the furnishings were custom designed by Poole Associates and area available by special order from One Degree North Limited
If the customized wine rack rings a bell, that's because it, and some of the tables and chairs, was relocated from the Qhue wine bar-and-restaurant previously at Pasir Panjang Village, which was also a Poole Associates project (Qhue is now no more)
See the story about Qhue
Outdoor terrace seating at the walkway for those who might find the plush interiors a tad intimidating.
The REAL attraction - Front Page serves the finest in premium spirits, wines and champagne with a compliment of fresh crustaceans.
Photography : Fritz Nolting
R E A D B E T W E E N T H E L I N E S
In these fabulously interesting times, there are no limits to designers' imaginations on interior themes for a club or bar - particularly if the project is in the hands of a veteran like Ed Poole of Poole Associates. The new Front Page bar&lounge at Mohamed Sultan Road (not to be confused with a previous club of the same name of some years ago) features an affluent mix of Victorian/colonial/art deco décor laced with oh-so-subtle hints of an S&M bondage theme. Says Poole: "it was decided from the start that Front Page would go against the grain of the commonly chosen futuristic look of most clubs and install its own sense of stylish grace."
Photography : Peter Mealin
At the main lounge in Front Page, guests are treated to a grand reading room setting of dark wood-and-beveled mirrors, Jacques Amile Ruhlmann-style sofas and armchairs upholstered in tanned leather and plush lambswool flooring. Just about everything throughout are shaded in deep gothic hues to evoke a sense of mystique and mystery, and yes even dark mischief, in the place.
Looming large in the center of the room and beckoning like a beacon is a column that actually marks the boundary where the conservation part of the shop house ends and where a recreated/reconstructed extension begins. Says Poole: "This structure could actually be easily construed as a bad architectural move," and even bad feng shui. However, the column had to be there, but instead of being a hindrance, it loomed immense as a a creative possibility for the zealous designer. It is paneled on six sides to give it a hexagonal profile, and each side embellished with a round mirror - the design of which is taken off the plaster-relief patterns on existing structural columns outside the shop house. Topped with a bellowing horn for a capital ringed with a merry circle of pendant lamps (sourced from Germany), and studded with a 'choker' of phallic purple light bulbs, this enigmatic structure yet takes on the semblance - and presence - of a humongous but not-entirely-out-of-place chandelier.
Sheepskin leather draperies in deep purple hang from the chains over a side of the wall - with bullwhips as tie-backs, no less! "I have always wanted to put up leather draperies in a club, the idea of such decadence was just impossible to resist,' Poole confesses. More S&M - albeit mild - references are revealed in different areas of the club. Liberally placed erotic art adorn the castle-gray walls throughout the place, not least that of the restrooms, where the depictions become even more risqué.
The fulcrum of every club is the bar and in this case, the marble-topped counter also demarcates two sections of the club - the front lounge and a more private one within. The bar is double-sided and serves both these sections effectively. At the 'inner section' is the DJ console, placed on an almost pulpit-like raised platform of black-and-white marble. The timber flooring of this dance area of the club is brushed with an intense red, highlighted with streaks of halogen, to heighten the mood even more.
Seating is also available at the bamboo-screened walkway outside at the front, an area that becomes a pleasantly tropical terrace. The accordion timber doors, when opened and not pulled back completely, can also be interpreted as a traditional Chinese screen that separates the two areas !
Illumination is generally dimmed and spot-lit only in essential areas such as the bar and as streaks on the drapery, but still enabling one to read the vintage year on the wine bottles. Patrons are privileged with a choice menu of premium spirits, wines and champagne served along with fresh crustaceans.
The owners of Front Page, who had lavished a generous budget on the design and construction of this place, are the same people who opened the club Next Page in the adjacent shop house. This location for Front Page was selected for the possibility of having two clubs linked up for patrons to experience the best of two carefully crafted yet wholly dissimilar worlds.
"It has, moreover, been proven that horror, nastiness, and the frightful are what give pleasure when one fornicates. Beauty is a simple thing; ugliness is the exceptional thing. And fiery imaginations, no doubt, always prefer the extraordinary thing to the simple thing."
Marquis de Sade
Project design team :