A 9,300 sq ft home in Singapore with glass floors and plenty of curves
Nicknamed The Stiletto House for its slender, tapering columns, this curvaceous dwelling is a light-filled, whitewashed space that’s the perfect canvas to showcase the owner’s collection of Asian antiques, artefacts and artworks.
Inspired by free-flowing curves in nature, Hsu and his team created The Stiletto House, which blends form and function in its sensual, sculptural structures.
“This house does not fall easily into any category of style,” Hsu said. “We were trying to explore a form, and to break away from the very regular, rectilinear buildings. The idea of this home was to be a display space, like a showroom or a museum.”
From the gates of this 9,300 sq. ft. corner semi-detached dwelling, side walls flow inwards and peel open in contours to become steps leading up to the ground floor. The dramatic entrance is further accentuated by stiletto-like columns (hence the house’s nickname) and curved overhangs. Even in the evenings, as the interiors are lit, this outstanding piece of residential sculpture is hard to miss.
Upon entering the house, you are immediately taken not only by the grand double-volume living area, but also the impressive spiral staircase made entirely out of steel and glass. It was deliberately positioned right in front of the house as a very visible showpiece.
“Structurally, this was very challenging for my engineer. My contractor took many months to build this,” Hsu shared. “When you take a look at it, it’s so smooth. It was smoothened by hand.”
The client had specified the use of “a lot of glass” in the brief, such as for the double-height windows and sliding doors complementing the expanse of the living area. Hsu had to find ways to overcome the problems that came with such extensive use of glass.
“We used large openings for cross-ventilation, deep overhangs to shade the interior from the sun and fans to cool the space. All the glass used is low-emission, so it helps to reduce the heat gained through the glass,” Hsu explained.
The seamless feel of the living area is further accentuated by the mezzanine floor, which is also entirely made of glass. The transparent flooring counters the low headroom below the mezzanine and allows light to filter into the space.
Throughout the house, there are no corridors. Even the master bedroom is immediately accessed from the staircase, with a sliding door for privacy. Hsu said, “The illusion of space is created with the use of curves. These curves add something to the space because they connect things, so you don’t feel an edge. You don’t feel things stop at a certain position, but they continue to flow on.”
The home is almost entirely clad in white – the perfect canvas for the owner’s large art collection – with pops of colour from statement furniture pieces and tropical foliage.
A frequent traveller with a penchant for historical artefacts and avant-garde furniture, his treasures include a framed dragon robe belonging to a Chinese prince that takes pride of place in the dining area.
In the master bedroom, where red oak flooring adds a touch of warmth, there are beautiful silver vessels displayed in glass cabinets. Each is adorned with intricate carvings such as animals and Burmese dancers. There is no ambient lighting in the house. Instead, spotlights are used to draw attention to the art pieces and selected furniture.
In the basement is a cosy bar area with backlit shelves along a curved wall displaying Asian antiques in their full glory. An air well allows light through, and a water wall overflowing from the swimming pool on the ground floor sets a tranquil backdrop to the entire space.
A cavernous space with glass facades and a gallery-like atmosphere, encapsulated in a structure of curves and seamless spaces. This may have sounded like a tall order, but The Stiletto House stands out in achieving them all.
Adapted from the series Remarkable Living (Season 3). Watch full episodes on CNA, every Sunday at 8.30pm.
Disclaimer: This video was filmed before the COVID-19 pandemic.