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Headquarters for LVMH Singapore

Part 1 Project 2002
Pey Haw Tong
National University of Singapore Singapore Singapore
The project brief called for a headquarter building for LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) in Singapore. The site chosen for the project is an empty plot situated at the tip of the Orchard Road shopping belt. (Singapore’s most frequented shopping area)

I started the project with visits to local LVMH stores. While I was there, the sense of exclusivity which the store exerts stopped me from venturing into its interior. This strong presence of exclusivity has prompted me to explore and experiment with the psychological aspect of spaces.

The design challenges the long established paradigm of gradual transition between public and private space. The gesture – a public streetscape lined right in the middle of the private realm of LVMH. This collision of spaces creates an unexpected tension.The presence ( its people and activities) of these two spaces is being amplified. Try imagining the affluent walking around the retail spaces of LVMH, feeling a sense of both prestige and exclusivity over the rest, who can only wander around the adjacent public streetscape. On the other hand, the common folks will be able to experience the branded lifestyle of LVMH while walking along its internal street. Whether the experience should become a pleasant one or not, this collision of space will undoubtedly create an unique ambience to the streetscape that forms part of the Orchard Road shopping belt.

The design also challenges the definition of exterior and interior spaces. Creating ambiguity in spaces which opens up to new possibilities, new perceptions and new emotions. The notion of exterior and interior space is defamiliarized.

Pey Haw Tong


Critical defamiliarization

Many clubs and luxury shops such as LVMH, tends to be highly exclusive. Very often this type of dividing world is delineated by a definite
physical wall, cutting out the public. In Pey-Haw's LVMH place, exclusive shopping world uncannily overlaps with the public realm, yet
remains strangely separated. The familiar public mall defamiliarizes (Russian critic Victor Shklovsky) the haughty domain of LVMH, rendering illusions of being there and yet not quite. The designer also envisaged the mall to carry goods that are the 'in-between' in terms of pricing and brands that syncopate with the architectural schema.

The inside and external elements are also fused or blurred. The mall is both internal and external. Air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned
spaces cross over in position and boundaries. Trees grow from basement through porous platforms, defusing the horizontal ground level, and allowing the public to casually slide in and out.

The highly flexible populist and environmental skin affords a chameleonic spirit of the place, echoed by the transformable shopping floor systems.

The familiar is never certain, and the exclusive building is like an organism in symbiosis with the urban public realm, pricking consciousness critically.

2002
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