By : Arthur Sim :  ID Magazine
Oct | Nov 1993

A few key elements are all that's needed to suggest something of a 'Santa Fe' look. Says designer Ed Poole:  'The form of the columns was to relate subconsciously to the angles of a shaft of wheat'. Grains also appear in the design of the lamps.

This heavy, recreated barn-door at the entrance, like the columns inside the cafe, are made from discarded timber.

Photography : Peter Mealin


B  L  A  Z  I  N  G     T  R  A  I  L  S

Pioneering his own brand of whimsy for the chain of Scoops Cafeterias is Ed Poole of Poole Associates. The latest outlet at Ngee Ann City invites you to 'camp out' in country and western style. It is filled with the imagery of the American Wild West: Ed Poole of Poole Associates, achieves relative authenticity by using a few key symbolic elements in his design of this 1,800 square foot space with a seating capacity of 50.

The most striking of these elements is the real pony skin covering the benches. Here, the simple black-and-white furniture has a catalytic effect on the imagination. Could there be a more appropriate way of evoking Lone Ranger territory other than by covering the furniture with the skin of 'Silver'? (Actually, the skin was specially ordered from Italy)

This cafe was designed to counter the high-tech atmosphere of Ngee Ann City. Although the general trend has been to move away from the over-designed stainless steel confections of the 80's, the new Scoops Cafe goes even further - it re-uses a lot of old discarded timber from construction sites and kampongs. All the decorative columns and the heavy, recreated barn-door at the entrance are made from discarded timber. This idea of using recycled timber could easily have made this cafe a Mecca for the 90's had it consistently stuck to this theme. Alas, cost restraints often dictate design, and compromises usually have to be made.

Says Ed Poole: 'The cafe was to have a menu that included macrobiotic cakes and breads. These items were later omitted from the menu, but the shape of the columns remained. The form was to relate subconsciously to the angles of a shaft of wheat. Grains also appear in the lantern design; additional lanterns, yet to be installed, have further grain references'.

He adds: 'Poole Associates Private Limited has completed over 30 projects with the HPL Group of companies, which has developed into a certain understanding of conceptual license'.

One of the refreshing things about the Scoops chain of cafeterias is each outlet is given a different look. There is opportunity for each one to be quite exciting. In this case, the cafe has opted for a hill-billy charm which, when set against the glitz of Ngee Ann City, looks richer and more appealing than many of its fluorescent lit neighbours.

Project Team:
Ed Poole, Dinah Bornat

Scoops Cafe outlets designed by Poole Associates

1991 to 1995


Scoops Cafe at BlueMoon

Ngee Ann City, Singapore
Serangoon Gardens, Singapore
Sarina Dept. Store, Jakarta
Change Alley, Singapore (not constructed)
Raffles City, Singapore (not constructed)
Le Meridien Hotel, Singapore (not constructed)
Pasir Ris Central, Singapore (not constructed)

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