Ministry of Design
Historic dwellings like conservation shophouses are repositories of memories, with previous lives and a past of their own. Ministry of Design explores history and our relationship with the past, present and future through the concept of layers in Canvas House at Blair Road.
Blurring the boundaries between space and object, MOD conceptually blanketed Canvas House with a layer of white that provides a canvas for the future, whilst revealing historical preservation in concentrated spots. The house rhythmically reveals parts of its past, with Shadows of old timber as well as Layers of revealed brick and intricate details of re-purposed and upcycled furniture.
同時，MOD邀請來訪者用工作室創作的基於文本的霓虹燈作品Dream（夢幻）來想像未來，並引用了Thomas Jefferson的話，其中包含了MOD對Canvas House的做法。語錄總結了房子的態度。柯林解釋說：“這是對未來有夢想的中性白畫布，而不是對過去的全面致敬。”
At the same time, MOD invites visitors to imagine a future with Dream, a text-based neon piece that the studio created, with a quote by Thomas Jefferson that encapsulates MOD’s approach to Canvas House. The quote summarizes the attitude of the house; Colin explains, “it is a neutral white canvas for the future to be dreamt upon, rather than a wholesale homage to the past.”
開發商（Figment）給了我們固定的預算和4個月的時間（設計，採購和裝修）以重新構想室內設計，目的是將套房出租給外籍人士住3-12個月。 租金每月3300新元起。 簡短的目的是做一些絕對吸引長期租房者的事情，並為這種共同生活的商店脫穎而出。
面對緊張的預算和緊迫的時間表，同時又希望有一個總體概念來支持這一舉措，Colin和他的團隊將“ Canvas House”概念化：
1. The Brief and how MOD answered it
MOD has newly completed an all-white Canvas House for co-living, set in a heritage shophouse in Singapore along Blair Road.
The developer (Figment) gave us a fixed budget and 4 months (design, sourcing & fitout) to re- imagine the interiors, with the aim of renting out the suites to expats for 3-12 month stays. Rentals start from S$3300 a month. The brief was to do something absolutely appealing to long-stay renters, and a way for this co-living shophouse to stand out.
Faced with a tight budget and a tight timeline, alongside the desire for an overarching concept to underpin the moves, Colin and his team conceptualised the “Canvas House”:
Painting the entire house in white, to provide a canvas for the future, MOD decided to focus on “upcycling” to meet both constraints.
Majority of the tables, chairs, chests, mirrors, screens and vanity desks, were repurposed and given a new lease of life.
To pay homage to the past, yet give it character for the future, MOD painted these pieces all white but carved out “playful peek-a-boo reveals” of vignettes on the decorative dragon or longevity vases, ceramic plates hung on the wall, and wooden screens, vanity dressers and chairs.
Not only is this highly sustainable in terms of upcycling, it is also budget friendly, time-constraint friendly, and conceptually striking.
為了對此進行空間展示，MOD創建了基於文本的霓虹燈藝術作品，其中引用了Thomas Jefferson的報價，其中包含了MOD對Canvas House的處理方法。總結了這所房子的態度，並引用Colin的話說：“這是中性的白色帆布，是對未來的夢想，而不是對過去的全面致敬。”報價由The Signmakers製造，報價單筆書寫在白色和紅色玻璃霓虹燈中，並裝在尺寸為1.4m x 2.2m x 0.1m的鋁盒中。
2. “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past”
Blurring the boundaries between space and object, MOD conceptually blanketed Canvas House with a layer of white that provides a canvas for the future, whilst revealing historical preservation in concentrated spots.
Colin explains, “When it comes to adaptive reuse projects, the question is always the same, how do we tread the line between the past and the present? If one opts for the project to be just about preservation, it's as good as time standing still… which could be paralysing and inhibiting. But at the same time, neither do we want to disregard history completely by creating something too foreign or novel. Our response was to layer over the existing history with a proverbial blank canvas whilst leaving choreographed glimpses into the past, blanketing both space and the furniture in it - allowing us to blur the inherent boundaries between past and present, object and space."
To present this spatially, MOD created a text-based neon art piece, featuring a quote by Thomas Jefferson that encapsulates MOD’s approach to Canvas House. The quote summarizes the attitude of the house, quoting Colin, “it is a neutral white canvas for the future to be dreamt upon, rather than a wholesale homage to the past.” Fabricated by The Signmakers, the quote is penned in a single-stroke white and red glass neon, and encased in an aluminum box measuring 1.4m x 2.2m x 0.1m.
從某種意義上說，白色模糊了新舊之間的區別。 它還模糊了空間元素（例如牆壁，天花板）和其中的物體（例如家具和燈光）之間的區別。 在所有白色情況下，對象/空間二分法變得模糊。 房子變得更完整，而不是由進出的物體和人組成的空間。 這使人們能夠利用空間，真正地激活空間，並成為顯著的特徵，而不僅僅是居住空間。
3. Blurring the boundaries
In a sense, the white blurs the distinction between new and old; it also blurs the distinction between the spatial elements (e.g. walls, ceiling), and the objects that sit within it (e.g. the furniture and lights). With everything white, object/space dichotomy is blurred. The house becomes more whole rather than a space populated by objects and people that move in and out. That allows the people using the space, to truly activate the space, and be the prominent features instead of merely inhabiting space.
4. Layers and Shadows
Parts of the past are rhythmically revealed throughout the space, with Layers of revealed brick and intricate details of pre-owned furniture, and Shadows of old timber. This technique is applied to a variety of places, including round timber reveals on the stairs throughout the four-storey house, and playful peek-a-boo reveals of vignettes on decorative dragon or longevity vases, vintage ceramic plates hung on the wall, and wooden screens, vanity dressers and chairs.
Historic details are preserved in a similarly conceptual fashion, where brick walls are revealed in concentrated circles. In the suites in particular, visitors will see “time shadows” cast by the beds: a shadow casting device which is conceptually driven (the past casting a shadow of its presence on the present) which reveals the underlay of the floor.