Janice Seow: What does slow living mean to you, and what made you decide to specialise in the creation of slow spaces?
Vincent Goi: ‘Slow living’ is a term and a concept that surfaced internationally in recent years. While there are many interpretations, we feel it means to enjoy living, to feel present, and to be able to appreciate beauty around us.
We believe that spaces and interiors can dramatically affect us in every sense of the word: our well-being, our mood, our aspirations, how we feel internally and how we interact with others.
In my training in architecture at National University Singapore (NUS), I was much intrigued by the serenity exuded by spaces. Architects such as Tadao Ando and SANAA have designed spaces that are quiet and delightful. The combination of these qualities excite me to this day, and my partner at ARKHILITE, Catherine Low, is attracted by a similar notion.
What does a home that’s centred on slow living look and feel like?
ARKHILITE’s design philosophy consists of five pillars. They are Calmness, Joyfulness, Play of Light, Lifestyle of Dwellers, and Opportunities of the Site.
Slow spaces are delightful and enjoyable. With a calm vibe, one can begin to notice and appreciate the more intrinsic, finer and nuanced qualities of beauty and joy present in the spaces.
This beauty and joy can be found in the form of self-reflection, conversation with people, the meaningful abstract painting on the wall, the imperfection of materials and much more.
With the pandemic and changes that have occurred globally, how do you see our homes evolving in the next few years?
As we reduce the amount of time travelling to work and work at home more often and for longer periods, our sensibilities towards living emerge and evolve. I think slow living is one of these.
Since the pandemic, clients generally simply ask for spaces at home where they can work. However, we often ask them more questions because we want to create not just a space for work but a space where work can be both effective and enjoyable at home.
Homes in Singapore can be small; many people feel they are living and working in an environment that is not effective for doing both simultaneously or sequentially. It’s also a fact that many of the older home layouts do not support the flexibility or specific activities of a home dweller’s lifestyle – both of the present and future.
Thus overhauls and clever planning are essential to achieve many things at once. I had a conversation with a client who spoke about needing to sacrifice function for aesthetics or vice versa in interiors. I explained that we can achieve both. As a matter of fact, we can achieve the third, that of calm, joyful vibes, in our slow spaces.
Photography by Fabian Ong. This article first appeared in Lookbox Living issue 64.