Located along Singapore River overlooking Robertson Quay, the M Social Singapore is an avant-garde boutique hotel created by French visionary designer Philippe Starck. The vibrant hotel boasts 293 rooms and is characterized by the use of raw concrete that is balanced with the concept of immateriality by the use of multimedia projections and video screens.
In the driveway, be greeted by steel sculptures of two peanuts as well as a cube, all finished with a bronze, rust-like patina. The latter conveniently doubles up as additional luggage storage area. Enter the reception area and be greeted by a 10m-long high table flanked with three display cabinets designed by Starck. Underneath, a veined alabaster floor lit from the inside recalls the effect of marble, and delineates this section, which can double up as a mini business centre.
A second public area is the restaurant and bar, Beast & Butterflies, deliberately kept in a separate part of the hotel to differentiate the experience. Unifying them are the patterned floor tiles specially flown in from Spain that lend elegance and a sense of identity. At Beast & Butterflies, an extraordinary universe of community and conviviality await. Look up and be wow-ed by the eight chandeliers recessed into the ceiling. Each is intentionally different from the next to emulate diversity and stimulate creativity. Along one wall in the restaurant, 40 tablets are mounted and run its length, projecting contemporary artworks. These screens are conceived as a unique opensource platform of expression and creativity, where artists from all around the world can submit their creations to be exhibited.
The furniture is all designed by Starck, featuring tan-coloured leather armchairs interspersed with retro-style checked sofas made by weaving leather together. On the tables, clusters of lava lamps add a contemplative touch as the wax inside rise and fall hypnotically. Venture further into Beast & Butterflies and come across communal tables made using the same inside-lit alabaster as the flooring in the reception that encourage meeting and mingling.
An open kitchen gives diners a glimpse of the inner workings of the culinary team, while two 13.5m counter tops overlook the bar, embedded with a total of 28 television screens. Up above, LED lights incorporated with motiondetection technology get activated when there is a flow of human traffic.
Equally eye-catching are the black columns that run along Beast & Butterflies. Onto them are painted murals by Spanish artist Luis Urculo, who also customised pieces in a similar style to line the walls of the lift shaft. At first glance, they appear disconnected and fragmented, much like a cabinet of curiousities. They invite guests to view them several times to conceive their own interpretations, and, in the process, create an intimate relationship. Ride the lift up to the fifth floor and enjoy the experience created by Urculo’s mural that almost evokes cinematic travel. In the open-air deck, a 31m-long lap pool tiled with glittering blue mosaic stretches out towards the historic Singapore River. Woven grey lampshades hang on the green wall where lush plants grow, each placed beside a wooden outdoor lounger.
Up in the guest rooms tucked across 10 floors are four different tiers available for selection: The Nice Room, The Nicer Room, The Big Room and The Bigger Room. The rooms are conceived to offer confortable and timeless elegance to the modern and avant-garde millennium tribe – think warm colour tones, luxurious pashmina throws and thick carpets, ensconced within spaces that have generous ceiling heights of up to 5m. The versatility of the rooms naturally creates different spaces in which guests can work, play, read, sleep with the best possible service.
Each of the accommodation options come in varying sizes and configurations. For instance, The Nicer Room has a terrace attached to it, while The Bigger Room is actually a duplex-style loft with a terrace.
all images courtesy of M Social Singapore