Spread the Word
Singapore's jet set wines and dines at Marmalade, a bar and restaurant designed by Albano Daminato
Jen Renzi -- Interior Design, 6/1/2002 12:00:00 AM
Maine lobster and U.S. tenderloin may sound down-home to Americans. But offer them on a menu in Singapore, and they take on decidedly cosmopolitan overtones. "The owners of Marmalade yearned for a kind of restaurant that didn't exist in Singapore—a Western-oriented eatery with a clubby, late-night vibe that would attract well read, well traveled urbanites," explains local designer Albano Daminato.
Given that Marmalade's four co-owners are all prominent in legal, medical, and financial fields, luring Singapore's hippest diners wasn't a huge challenge. Converting two adjacent traditional Chinese shophouses into a swanky restaurant, on the other hand, was. Because of regulations governing the century-old buildings, Daminato couldn't tamper with structure. "Luckily, the proportions were really beautiful. The buildings are as high as they are wide, about 15 feet," the designer says. He installed wall-to-wall coir matting ("the color of melted chocolate") over the concrete slab floor and slipped panels of ebony-stained ash between structural columns protruding from the sidewalls, tucking incandescent strip lighting behind.
Daminato worked hard at keeping down architectural costs to preserve a portion of the budget for stylish seating. The main restaurant seats 66 in Piero Lissoni chairs. Together, it and a private party room wrap in an L shape around the bar, which opens to the sidewalk—a boon, given Singapore's strict antismoking laws. In the bar area, chairs are by Harry Bertoia.
For the concrete bar itself, Daminato chose a finish of metallic, champagne-hued automotive paint from BMW. The treatment has only one drawback: With all the activity from the jam-packed crowds, a fresh coat is required every six months.