Woods Bagot Hong Kong completes the envisioning, masterplanning, architecture and interior design for new integrated lifestyle destination Funan in Singapore, representing a new era in retail and mixed-use.
The redevelopment of CapitaLand’s Funan DigitaLife Mall, Funan is designed to be a civic hub where people can carry out all aspects of life, from playing to working to living, thanks to the experiential mall with retail, entertainment, leisure, wellness, food and beverage offerings, offices, co-working space and co-living serviced residence.
Singapore is known for its tropical landscape, which is reflected throughout the physical site, externally and on walls to create a strong landscape statement in a commercial development. The dynamic nature of community, creativity and innovation are translated into concepts of accessibility of planning, synthesis and overlapping of creative ‘in-between spaces’.
The design concept is manifested in The Tree of Life. The Tree of Life is symbolic of the idea that creativity grows from collaboration. This integrated redevelopment addresses the new generation of tech-savvy consumers who are in search of collaboration, experiences and recreation under one roof where visitors can engage and build community.
The Tree of Life represents a habitat for creativity, and this manifests in platforms up and down the tree, each one a flexible space that centres on a passion or hobby. Referred to as Passion Clusters, these centre around tech, fit, taste, craft, chic and play, and are destinations for people to come and engage in activities and experiences spanning retail, culture, learning and business, to express themselves and to showcase their creativity. This is the symbolic of creative energy at the heart of a community.
The notion of organic growth extends outwards to the podium, with dichroic panelised façade in earthy tones that recall trees roots that wrap around the building’s exterior and shimmer in the sun. On the rooftop an urban farm is symbolic of the top of the tree.
The Tree of Life design concept is the architectural centrepiece at the heart of Funan, around which Woods Bagot has created an efficient retail offering. The Tree of Life is a wooden and steel structure that rises through six storeys, from Basement 2 to Level 4 at the centre of Funan. Level 4 is the Connector Floor where everything meets. Express escalators drive visitors up to Level 4 to activate the upper levels of retail, allowing them to then cascade down. Level 4 is a place to meet and connect.
Funan’s co-living component, lyf, is an integral part of Funan. A new brand from Ascott, CapitaLand’s wholly-owned serviced residence owner-operators, it offers 279 units – up to 412 rooms – spanning 121,000 sq ft across nine storeys. The concept for lyf was developed for considered millennials’ preference for connecting and collaborating within communities and came up with a solution that offered the unique features reflective of local culture that comprise lyf.
The offices above the retail mall will host a diverse community of creative professionals from public sector, private sector and the service industries, and be home to a co-working space. There’s also a black box theatre, W!LD RICE, which embodies creativity and engagement with the community. Additionally there is a co-living community, which will inhabit a diverse range of accommodation. All these features connect on Level 4 – the Connector Floor. The Tree of Life winds its way up to this level to support these diverse functions and here on the Connector Floor people can circulate vertically and horizontally at the place where dining, theatre, wellness, coworking, offices, co-living and outdoor space come together.
It was important that Funan connect to the city. The public space on the ground floor is porous, with the Tree of Life at its heart. It is designed to be flexibly ventilated and accessible by pedestrians and allow cycling through the building at Level 1 of the complex. The building links to tourist routes of the city – on foot and by bicycle – and links Funan to key landmarks in Singapore to promote and integrate the different aspects of the city.
Green stairs lead from the Connector Floor to Level 7, which is home to the largest rooftop urban farm in Singapore’s CBD at 5,000 sqft. There is also a 18,000 sqft food garden, a futsal court and outdoor leisure space. The green stairs encourage movement and exercise. Additionally, the office blocks on the upper levels have external stairwells that allow for easy accessibility to these green spaces, promoting wellness.
“Woods Bagot’s involvement in the development of Funan, from envisioning through masterplanning, architecture and interior design, which also saw us lead an international team of creatives, allowed us to deliver a highly integrated, richly layered project that we believe marks a new era in mixed-use and retail. This integrated redevelopment addresses the new generation of tech-savvy consumers who are in search of collaboration, experiences and recreation under one roof where visitors can engage and build community.” Stephen Jones, Director of Woods Bagot.