Latitude/Longitude: 1.30059, 103.856
Iluma is an entertainment and retail development, located at the famous Bugis Street area in Singapore, now a designated arts, education and entertainment district. The design contrasts a rectilinear block against a curvaceous sculpted form. The rectilinear element accommodates large, regular components of the car park, retail anchor tenants, cinema and performance spaces, while the curved form accommodates smaller retail and entertainment activities along meandering paths. The dialogue between the two elements is heightened by the architectural treatment, with vibrant hot colours animating the rectilinear block and monochrome shades of grey and white cladding the curvilinear block. Overlooking, overlapping and directing views up, down and across, are strategies throughout the building, inside and outside, to enhance vibrancy, people-watching and excitement.
The building, although contemporary in form, relates in scale and texture to the surrounding neighbourhood. The colourful rectilinear element recalls the brightly painted public housing blocks, while the decorative curvilinear façade translates the varied massing, fine texture, and exuberant, intricately detailed decoration of the historic shophouses into a different expression.
The internal activities are zoned in three strata with interlinked central spaces. The ground floor forms a continuous network with the surrounding streets, drawing in pedestrians from all directions. A pedestrian bridge at the second level flies out across the road to create a link with the neighbouring development. All paths lead to the main atrium, a 40m high space, which is divided horizontally into a lower and upper volume, each with their own character, but visually connected. The atrium is provided with lighting and sound for entertainment events and performances. The lower atrium is focused on smaller, specialized retail, while the upper atrium is surrounded by the entertainment activities. Dividing the two spaces is an urban piazza, floated 20m above the street, populated by bars, games, cinemas and restaurants. The third major space is the rooftop theatre and event space, which opens up to open air lush landscape, roof terraces and café pods – Ibiza meets Bali on the Singapore rooftops. The roof terraces are located around a central glazed skylight, affording views back down into the atrium spaces, and from the atrium up to the planted roof.
In order to achieve the planning authority’s vision of a vibrant nightlife district, and to amplify visibility within the bustling neighbourhood, the project features a custom-designed, artistic Crystal Mesh media façade composed of faceted jewel-like fixtures that glitter in the day and glow in the night. The crystal media façade was conceived and developed in close cooperation with Berlin based artists and architects realities:united, and features simple energy-saving bulbs in a custom designed reflector, controlled by a custom designed software. The façade is treated as stacked, undulating strips that overlap and recede, the interstitial spaces forming gardens and terraces overhanging the street. The neighbourhood art institutions have been engaged to assist in ongoing curating and award programs to produce content to animate the façade, and an on-going series of exhibitions and events will showcase the work of local art, architecture and design students.
The crystal media façade is a three dimensional canvas on which media artists, art students and even the public can apply fast moving, legible images, text and graphics and architectural treatments, all at the scale of a city block. Over time, this will build a sense of ownership by the surrounding creative community, supporting the events and activities within the development, and making iluma more than just a retail space – it is hoped it will become a true urban place. In the modern city, the urban fabric is controlled by the authorities, developers and construction industry, a power remote from the man on the street. Iluma has the new and exciting potential to give ordinary citizens the opportunity to impact their surroundings at an urban scale.
⇒ Architecture Guide to SINGAPORE