Wing Tai Asia has entered into a three-year partnership with LASALLE College of the Arts to create, curate and integrate art into The M, its upcoming condominium development on Middle Road within the arts and heritage precinct of Bugis and Bras Basah. The partnership enables artists to integrate art at the early design stage and throughout the development process of a condominium project. This is different from the usual practice of engaging artists after a project has commenced and as the design team has considered its interior aesthetics.
By bringing together notable alumni of LASALLE’s McNally School of Fine Arts and LASALLE’s School of Spatial and Product Design to produce unique pieces of urban living art for The M, the partnership aims to open up new avenues for creative work and ideation revolving around the fine arts, environmental, technology and design disciplines.
In an interview with Marketing, Wing Tai Property Management, head of marketing, Stacey Ow Yeong said it purchased the land for The M last year and during the tour of the site, it was inspired to collaborate with LASALLE and provide local artists the opportunity to showcase their works. Also, both The M and LASALLE are neighbours as they share a culturally vibrant district. As such, the company was even more compelled to reach out to the school's lecturers for the partnership.
According to her, LASALLE will select 10 to 20 individuals for the project. They will split into different teams to work on proposals, and collaborate with the architects and landscape consultants in designing and fine tuning their artworks, including sculptures and furniture pieces, for the condominium. Ow Yeong said it will be "a very interactive process" when working with the artists over the next three years.
"The overall image of The M we are aiming to project is very contemporary, chic, and clean type of city living. The lecturers at LASALLE have visited our sales gallery many times so they are very familiar with the overall feel we want to project to consumers," she explained. When it comes to the condominium's name, Ow Yeong said "M" stands for Middle which refers to "being right in the middle of everything". It also stands for the mark of quality which Wing Tai has established over the years in the local property scene. "M" also refers to Millennials, who are the property's main target audience as well as individuals in their 40s.
Ow Yeong said Wing Tai has planned "a big and exciting budget" for digital marketing, which will focus on Facebook, YouTube, Google Ads, as well as publishers such as The Straits Times, PropertyGuru, and The Edge Online. She declined to reveal the exact amount of the budget. The agencies involved in The M are formul8, Havas, Catherine Ong Associates, architect firm P&T, as well as real estate agencies ERA, PropNex and Huttons Singapore.
The land for the proposed development is more than SG$490 million and will comprise three 20-storey towers, and one six-storey and retail component at ground level. It is minutes away from three MRT stations - Bugis, City Hall, and Esplanade - which are served by four MRT lines - East-West, North-South, Downtown, and Circle lines. The property also offers a novel live-work design concept for the studios and one bedroom units called "Home/Work", which caters to the changing lifestyle needs of young working professionals who telecommute. This new design concept allows for living areas to be converted into workspaces.
"We want to reach individuals who work in the city, tend to stay back late and are happy to have a home that is nearby so they don't need to drive or encounter traffic jams. Another group of people we are targeting are slightly older individuals with money to invest and see potential in their rental yield. This particular group of people can get potential tenants such as expats who work in grade-A offices around Bugis Junction, Raffles City and the CBD," she explained.
According to Ow Yeong, Wing Tai sees plenty of potential in the Bras Brasah-Bugis area, especially since the Urban Redevelopment Authority has been stepping up efforts to rejuvenate the Beach Road district through the government land sales programme.
"Also, the typical city life can be described as quiet because everyone goes home after dark and there is no one on the streets. However, that is not the case for Middle Road as it is a place that already has a night life and is not dead after dark," she explained. Thus, Ow Yeong said Wing Tai believes it can develop a condominium that is not only hip and trendy as a home, but also one that is able to offer younger consumers city living.
Edmund Cheng, deputy chairman of Wing Tai Holdings, said by involving artists at the very start, it helps them to capture the spirit of the place better so that their artistic expressions can enliven the space in an authentic, organic manner, as the art works with the space.
“Art is not only for beauty and enjoyment, it also serves as a conduit to bring diverse groups of people together, to engage communities and create our living heritage. The artists will be working closely with our design teams, I believe they are a good match and their different perspectives will make for better solutions and richer outcomes. It is a harbinger of exciting new headways in urban art and architecture design development in Singapore," he added.
Steve Dixon, president of LASALLE, said the ground-up approach gives ownership to its alumni artists and designers who together will be able to reflect the ethos of the property in a more purposeful and meaningful way.
"We hope to permeate this exciting new development with an extraordinary urban arts vibe that is inspiring to both its residents and visitors,” Dixon added. Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Wing Tai said more than 2,000 prospective buyers visited The M sales gallery in the first weekend of public preview last week.