Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Orchard Road Art Trail 2: Orchard Central Shopping Mall

Orchard Gateway, Orchard Central and 313@Somerset all connected as one shopping malls with free flows of people traffic.

Especially with Orchard Gateway and Orchard Central, one you're inside either mall, you really have no idea which mall you're in, unless you're deliberately seeking out the info. There're small signs up the top of a very high ceiling that tell you which shopping mall you're in (the signs are probably big. Just look small from down on the ground level). Even then, it's not an simple task.

The Runway in OG is trying to direct the shoppers around the OG mall so as not to move to disappear into another mall.

While it's far from the largest shopping mall on Orchard Road, it's the tallest, and it has a couple of thing to hint or emphasize that fact.

Most malls tend to design with central atriums that give shoppers a 360° view of their shopfronts. If there's such a thing in Orchard Central, it would be called the rear atrium.

Here in the rear atrium is where the Tall Girl (2009) stands at a whopping 20m tall. She draws your attention to this unique spatial architecture of this mall. Her head nearly touches the roof. This is because Tall Girl is especially commissioned by OC to place it here for the purpose that I mentioned above.

Tall Girl (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
This red boot is slightly larger than the one in Orchard Gateway.
Tall Girl (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
Showing the effect on a body when it goes through a black hole.
Tall Girl (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
Make good ad for weight loss centres or community message about anorexia.

This sculpture is created by Inges Idee, an artist collective based in Berlin. The slightly larger-than-life figurine is made of polyurethane and glass fibre reinforced gypsum on steel frame.

The perception of height is enhanced further by distorting the different proportion of Tall Girl. Her feet is made very large compare to her head. As this is designed to view from the ground level, the disproportionally small head accentuates the vanishing point and makes her looking even taller than she really is. (Next time when I visit, I'll get some photos of her boots and head along with some people in it so that one can make comparison of sizes). This is the opposite of the Parthenon where the ancient Greek architect designed it to be top heavy to correct this vanishing perspective distortion that when viewed from ground level.

Another structure that's reinforcing this idea of height is the Via Ferreta Wall. This is supposedly the tallest indoor rock-face wall for abseiling (for now until China decides to beat that record).

Via Ferreta Wall, Orchard Central, Singapore Via Ferreta Wall, Orchard Central, Singapore

Orchard Central, Singapore
Shop window cantilevers out like a drawer in a wardrobe
Orchard Central, Singapore
As seen from a skywalk with Via Ferreta in the back
Orchard Central, Singapore
Floats like a Kongming or sky lantern

I won't cover every little hidden gems of arts and sculptures around the mall. I leave you to discover them yourself. According to OC, their permanent arts display worth over S$9 million.

I'll cover their most well known roof garden. Take their glass walled elevator to get to level 10, and then take the stairs to the roof. That's where I took my brother and his wife when they visited me.

On level 11, you'll find a colourful diorama of Yayoi Kasama's works, showing her 2 favourite elements of polka dots and tulips.

"Let's Go to a Paradise of Tulips" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
"Let's Go to a Paradise of Tulips" (2009) by Yayoi Kasama.
Ya, Yayoi, let's go !

"Let's Go to a Paradise of Tulips" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
Barking up the wrong tulip?

My sis-in-law showed me her mobile phone's wallpaper. which is another work by Yayoi Kasama, showing the similar child-like playfulness, somewhat psychedelic bright colour, and circles galore.

On level 12, you'll find a rooftop garden.

"Let's Go to a Paradise of Tulips" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
From level 12, not only you can see the diorama, you can also get a good aerial view of
Emerald Hill with low-rise brown roofed buildings

These several sculptures in this rooftop garden are works by Victor Tan. A well known local artist, Visually-impaired, who chooses to create sculpture out of the difficult medium of metal wires.

"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009) by Victor Tan

There's only one slinky sculpture being suspended above the stairs. The 2 figures on either side, like the 2 men in yellow jacket are reflections from the wall, producing the optical illusion that there're 3 sculptures.

"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
View on the top of stair, we can see that there's only 1 figure, and it's climbing up the stairs.
"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore

"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
"The Stair, the Clouds and the Sky" (2009), Orchard Central, Singapore
Shake like a leaf in the wind...

Because the loose and springy metal wires that form these human figures, they're designed so that they can spring to life by breezes.

Ginger flower
Ginger flower and bud (couldn't identify the variety. Could be red button ginger)
Ginger bud

"Nutmeg Grove" (2009) by Michelle Righetti, Orchard Central, Singapore
"Nutmeg Grove" (2009) by Michelle Righetti

This large sculpture sits on the sidewalk of Orchard Road near OC's main entrance. This bicycle helmet looking sculpture is in fact a nutmeg seed, which is one of the 3 major spices that grew in orchards in the 1840s that lined either side of this road, giving rise to its name.

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Orchard Road Art Trail 1: Orchard Gateway Shopping Mall

Going to Orchard Road could be a wealth hazard. Your pocket could be hit hard and takes weeks or months to recover. If you're lucky like me who are totally immune to the affliction of shopaholism, completely blind to the big red 50% sales posters (oddly enough, my vision is restored if the sale sign is 90% off), you're safe to cruise down Orchard Road, and enjoy what it has to offer without costing a cent. Yes, there're a lot arts to look at in Orchard Road if you know where to look.

Maybe you can leave your partner on a spending spree, and instead of dozing off at lounges in fashion stores, you can go and stimulate yourself by doing some arts loving around town.

3 shopping malls on Orchard Road that I think provides good art trails to explore. They happen to be the ones that go the extra miles to gain visibility: ION Orchard, Orchard Gateway and Orchard Central. And so hardly surprising, when Xmas comes, these 3 also going all out in its decorations (see it here).

Other than visibility, All 3 also try to distinguish themselves from the rest by incorporating modern and contemporary art and sculpture pieces into their malls to impart it an artistic vibe, a touch of chic.

All these commonalities that these 3 malls share are perhaps not surprising when you realise that they all new malls (less than 5 years old) and thus represent a new type of malls that set a new trend and branding. As they're new kids on the block, they simply have to work harder to steal customers from the older and more established malls that littered Orchard Road.

With only a narrow frontage left for OG to place a shopping mall, it solves the problem by expanding into the other 2 axes, going vertically and across the road by connecting the 2 halves of OG with a glass-walled sky-bridge called the Tube. Talk about attention grabbing. It's the equivalent of a building sticking out its slender leg into the street to stop traffic (and getting whistles from admirers looking up). The sky-bridge also double up as big snazzy signboard.

The Tube that connects the 2 Orchard Gateway malls, Orchard Road, Singapore
The Tube that connects the 2 Orchard Gateway malls

Orchard Gateway @ Emerald Hills, Orchard Road, Singapore
The curved tower of Orchard Gateway @ Emerald Hill

Speaking of lower limb. At OG's entrance, you'll see a large singular red shoe (I'm guessing it's size 25 that fits the foot of Goliath or the Giant who lives at the castle high in the sky at the top of the beanstalk. Yes, even legends shop at Orchard Road). Is this just a a solo shoe? Step into the shopping mall, walk (or doing catwalk if you must) the cool looking Runway towards the opposite door, you will find the other long-lost missing twin. It's like a typical teenage (giant) bedroom with pair of shoes scattering at its 2 opposite corners of the room.

The Red Shoe outside the Orchard Road entrance, Orchard Gateway, Singapore
The Red Shoe outside the Orchard Road entrance
The Red Shoe inside the Somerset Road entrance, Orchard Gateway, Singapore
The Red Shoe inside the Somerset Road entrance

At the bend of The Runway, you will see a few bow-tie shaped benches, and a few dummies that share these seating with the shoppers. There's also a rest bench in the shape of a pair of sunglasses, and another a wristwatch.

Rest Bench, Orchard Gateway, Singapore
The Dummy balances precariously on the seat. It fell in the next moment.

The Runway decorated with the Chinese zodiac animals during Chinese New Year.

While you're in OG, you might want to go to level 4, and stroll into into Library@Orchard (if you don't mind the smell of book. I hate ebooks. It smell metallic and you can't bend its spines backwards, and worst of all, I have to make dog-ears with a steel plier). This is a public library quite unlike others you most likely have come across. It takes on the trendy style that befitting OG. It's the  library equivalence of the Pinnacle@Duxton, which is a showcase of public housing.

Library@Orchard, Orchard Gateway, Singapore
Conical cubicle designed for optimal privacy, quietness and comfort.

Library@Orchard, Orchard Gateway, Singapore

Library@Orchard, Orchard Gateway, Singapore
Fully automated book borrowing system

Next to this stylish public library is probably the most stylish barbershop you've come across. The shop is called Premium Barbers, and you wouldn't call them a barbershop. They call themselves more appropriately as Barber Spa as they offer anything from the old fashioned lather shave, Mani-Pedi (pedicure for man), foot reflexology, and even body massage. Oh, did I mention they also provide haircut?

Just like the name suggests, this place combines the services of a traditional manly barbershop with the services of a girly day spa. In short, this shop is catered specifically for the metrosexual guy.

While you're waiting or put your feet up (while someone working on it), you can knock back a few coldies, liquor, or sip a cappuccino. So you now know where to get some pampering after you drop from all that shopping (or waiting for your partner to shop).

Premium Barbers, Orchard Gateway, Singapore Premium Barbers, Orchard Gateway, Singapore

Premium Barbers, Orchard Gateway, Singapore

Go to Orchard Road Art Trail 2: Orchard Central