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MOD's all-white house provides a canvas for the future and glimpses of the past

Our response was to layer over the existing history with a proverbial blank canvas whilst leaving choreographed glimpses into the past.
– Colin Seah

Ministry of Design (MOD) have completed an all-white co-living house aimed at making the residents its "prominent features" and giving them a blank canvas for the future.

Canvas House is set in a heritage shophouse in Singapore and is intended to inspire dreams about what could be while retaining historical elements.

Project developer Figment provided a fixed budget and a tight four-month timeline for the reimagining of the building's interiors, including the design, sourcing of materials and fit-out.

MOD's design was conceived to look to the future while preserving the past and to do so working within the constraints of the brief.

The sense of a blank canvas was created by filling the interior with white coverings, materials and elements, with glimpses of heritage revealed in certain places.

Pieces of furniture like tables, chairs, chests, mirrors, screens and vanity desks were upcycled to fit the all-white theme and to help meet the budget and time constraints of the project.

Ultimately, it was hoped that this blurring of dichotomy within the building would shift the focus from its constituent parts to the people inhabiting it.

Glimpses of the past were created by carving out vignettes of colour in the white surfaces, such as of the brick walls, furniture parts or floors in the bedrooms, where so-called "time shadows" are cast by the beds.

Colin Seah, founder-director of MOD, said: “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."

Ministry of Design  co-living  house  interiors  Singapore 
Ministry of Design (MOD) have completed an all-white co-living house aimed at making the residents its "prominent features" and giving them a blank canvas for the future. Canvas House is set in a heritage shophouse in Singapore and is intended to inspire dreams about what could be while retaining historical elements. Project developer Figment provided a fixed budget and a tight four-month timeline for the reimagining of the building's interiors,
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Pieces of furniture were upcycled to fit the all-white theme / Edward Hendricks, CI&A Photography
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