Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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 wow
and woo customers from the 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's body smell metallic and you can't bend its spines backwards, and worst of all, making dog-ears with a steel plier is a real pain). 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

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