An (Asian) American Club
Lorenzo Logi explores the shifting balance of power between east and west as represented by modern Asian architecture and design.
A Singaporean institution for almost 60 years, The American Club, Singapore has recently undergone a major renovation, carried out by ONG&ONG.
The bar and dining area of the club, named ‘The Second Floor’, has been transformed into a reserved and elegant restaurant expressing a confident, modern Asian aesthetic.
Liberal use of silver travertine and black marble gives the space a somber, aloof mood, underscored by purple fabric highlights and a latticed, vaguely baroque ceiling. Solid, plush furnishings, black timber detailing and crisp white linens complete the aura of wealth and power.
The space can be cleverly divided into different sectional areas through the use of sliding portal frames; finished in black metal and minimally decorated with Asian-inspired patterns they simultaneously maintain continuity with the dark flooring and create intimate, private dining areas. The fit out is refined and meticulous, speaking to the professionalism and experience of the Singaporean design firm.
Whilst the concept adopts an east-meets-west philosophy, and indeed elements of American and Asian are both evident, the end result gives more the impression of east-beyond-west than of equal input. As with the flourishing contemporary architecture and design of the broader region, borrowing and transforming elements of the western aesthetic suggests a nascent and individual Asian point of view that no longer needs to look to the west for inspiration.
This is neither the first nor the most dramatic declaration of this changing balance, but it is particularly relevant given the current economic and political floundering of the west. In the vacuum left by Europe and America’s creative deceleration international design and architecture communities – particularly in Asia – are receiving more attention and resources. And, whilst the Occident will always be hallowed ground for iconic, classical design, it is the Orient (and the conveniently adjacent Oceania) that will drive the next wave of new ideas.