fbpx DAN | Daily Architecture News Canvas House: co-living quarters for expats by Ministry of Design - DAN | Daily Architecture News
Canvas House: co-living quarters for expats by Ministry of Design

Canvas House: co-living quarters for expats by Ministry of Design

Interior Design
Residential Design

Confidently rising to the challenge of creating a co-living space within a traditional shophouse on Singapore’s Blair Road, Ministry of Design (MOD) responded with a striking all-white scheme. Appropriately called Canvas House, the now ‘blank’ dwelling is targeted at expats seeking lengthy stays in the colourful Tanjong Pagar neighbourhood. “It is a neutral white canvas for the future to be dreamt upon, rather than a wholesale homage to the past,” says MOD founder-director Colin Seah.

The new all-white Canvas House faces Singapore’s colourful Blair Road.

The colonial shophouse buildings of Singapore, so-named due to the shared retail and residential functions, evolved from the early 19th century.

With a restricted budget and only four months to complete the project, MOD opted to blanket Canvas House with an all-white veil, a brave move that Colin says, “blurs the distinction between new and old” yet also “blurs the distinction between the spatial elements”, such as the intersection of ceilings and walls.

The objects, furniture and fittings that reside within the interior spaces – predominantly vintage, occasionally new – are painted the same shade of white as the house’s surfaces. “This allows the people using the space to truly activate the space, and be the prominent features, instead of merely inhabiting space,” says Colin.  

An interior view of Canvas House in Singapore.

Travelling through the dwelling, the only bursts of colour and immediately readable texture are provided by a series of what MDO call “playful, peek-a-boo vignettes”. These heightened sensory moments appear in the form of circular openings that reveal the original brickwork of the shophouse, and through the occasional discovery of traditional vintage screens and doors, decorative accessories and contemporary artwork.

MOD collaborated with local upcycling/plastic artist Kang on the creation of luminaires made from fused cling wrap, two of which glow softly at the entryway of Canvas House. The process of crafting these lighting pieces saw cling wrap layered and then heated to create a waterproof, leather-like material – a further celebration of old and new.  

Related stories

Login to join the conversation

Subscriber comments are moderated first. Respect others. Criticise ideas, not people. No offensive language View commenting guidelines

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Further Reading
View all in Interior Design
Fugazzi bar and restaurant in Adelaide by Studio-Gram
The term, derived from the slang word fugazi, roughly meaning ‘fake’, was thrown around in the movie by Mark Hanna, played by Matthew McConaughey, and Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jordan Belfort. Discussing the reality that nobody really knows whether the stock market is likely to go up, down (or as Hanna says, “sideways or in circles”), […]
Interior Design
The Los Angeles home of Kalon Studios stuns with three levels of furniture and art
“With so much of our lives having gone online,” Johannes adds, “we felt it [the showroom in Los Angeles] was a powerful moment to channel some of our energy towards creating a physical space in the world, where people could come to experience Kalon Studios and all we stand for, touch the materials, and see […]
Interior Design
Dimore Studio's Aesop store in Milan is just as beautiful as the day it opened
Completed in late 2015, the 35-square-metre Aesop store is described by the Dimore Studio team as a “whimsical essay” on typical materials employed in the butlers’ pantries of 1930s Italian villas. Think tiles and joinery in saturated pastels, polished chrome details and no-frills linoleum flooring. The designers refer to the store as a contemporary version […]
Interior Design
Inside the Saint-André des Arts Hotel in Paris by Studio Chloé Nègre
Stepping off the street and passing through the hotel’s original solid-oak entrance doors, guests arrive in a lobby area seemingly preserved through time. Tunes from another era fill the space, resonating from a small record player in the corner. But an emerald-coloured lacquered rattan reception desk offers a glimpse of what’s to come – a daring […]
Interior Design
Step inside Hotel June, the Proper's suave Californian spin-off
With multiple stateside locations, including San Francisco, Downtown Los Angeles and Austin, the Proper hotel group claims to offer a “looser kind of luxury” through its Kelly Wearstler-designed properties, part-owned by her husband Brad Korzen (who is one of three co-founders of the now cult-status brand). There’s even a Proper hotel in Santa Monica, just […]
Interior Design
Room service: Inside the Ace Hotel Sydney by Flack Studio
News of the hotel arrives as many Australians continue to endure lockdowns, while international travel has been a no-go for almost two years. But as the state of New South Wales now moves swiftly to open its borders, and the city of Sydney prepares to once again unfurl its glittering splendours, overseas tourists won’t be […]
Interior Design

Back to Top