This boutique on the 3rd storey of Ngee Ann City shopping mall marked a leap onto the Singaporean retail fashion runway of designers Ann Kelly and Song Wykidd. Song, a Singaporean, trained in fashion design in London and Milan while Kelly studied graphic design in the UK prior to relocating to Singapore. Coming together in 1993 they built up a considerable reputation in the fashion capitals of the world.
The brief for the shop unit was to use a minimalist language; the client required flexibility for the different uses such as readings, shows and exhibitions, but there must be no excess and there should be precision in detailing. The resulting design from SCDA is a monochromatic, almost spartan, interior, yet there is a sensuous quality, which hovers behind the cool, controlled, almost austere image that verges on the erotic.
The garment display consists of four elegantly crafted clothing racks that can be arranged in a number of configurations. Each rack is framed in mild steel with horizontal timber slats on the two ends, the rear and the top. There is an opaque sandblasted behind the horizontal slats so that shadows are cast and silhouettes projected as the clientele examine the clothes. There is something sensual and mysterious about the louvred screen, concealing the faint but unidentifiable silhouette of a human form.
This can be read as an allusion to the traditional wayang kulit (shadow plays) of the Indonesian and Malay archipelagoes.
The racks are mounted on castors and their orientation can be manipulated into several permutations, pivoting around pre-determined steel markers on the floor, changing the spaces that enclose and that are enclosed by them. There is no doorway or glass display window at the front of the shop and the boundary between public and private is ambiguous. The display units 'float' in this indeterminate space in a surreal manner.