The 100-year-old teak used to create the bar was sourced from old villages in Chiang Mai.
Offices of bespoke tailors, as well as clubs and cultural spots. The missing ingredient in this assortment that makes up Telok Ayer? A community club. In comes Telok Ayer Arts Club, which opened in August.
Owned by home-grown hospitality group The Supermarket Company, the club was designed to emulate a multi-purpose neighbourhood community centre. It was created to reshape how the public, including white-collar workers in that area, experience art, and therefore offers an atmosphere that is unlike stuffy “white cube” galleries.
All are welcome to create, partake of and browse the artistic endeavours showcased here. Art and music play equal roles in creating an immersive environment, and artists are encouraged to use the space in any way. As for visitors, they can check out (and buy) art pieces, as they nosh. The club’s bar has a menu with an extensive list of drinks for happy hour in the afternoon, and grain bowls are on the way.
The element that ties everything together, and which creates a welcoming ambience, is nostalgia. The endearing name (“Arts Club”), the long tuckshoplike bench outside the venue, and even the yellow paper dossier on artists, bring back memories of school. Down-to-earth materials, such as the handmade terracotta tiles that clad the facade, and the bar made with 100-year-old teak, were also used to create a sense of familiarity.
This is all part of Jasper Chia’s idea of “70s Modernism, remixed”. The co-founder of Fuur Associates designed the space with materials that reflect domestic architecture, so as to stir memories of home – just like art does at times. It is his hope that in the inviting space, visitors are “never too far from home”.
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Text Eliza Hamizah