This new co-living space makes us want to take a staycation, with luxe designs created with Lamitak laminates

This classy space on the first floor of ST Signature in Chinatown is where guests can take a rest upon arrival. Touch screens are provided to communicate with the hotel’s e-concierge.

From cheap and cheerful backpacker hostels, to no-frills budget accommodations, and upscale branded hotels, Chinatown has them all. Enter ST Signature, a new co-living space which upends traditional hospitality models. Located in the heart of heritage enclave Chinatown in two unassuming three-storey shophouse units, ST Signature Chinatown is the first of a chain of establishments planned by its owner, Straits Organisation.

Left: The hotel entrance along South Bridge Road. Right: The ST Signature experience starts from the stairs up, currently flanked by black and white photographs taken by a local photographer of people and places in Chinatown.

Getting the design right for this first branch was thus crucial, and this task was handed to design director Dickman Tan and design associate Nithipong Subaneknan of Milk Inc Pte Ltd. Their challenge was to deliver a hybrid model based on the concept of a capsule hotel, but with more value, and communal spaces which give the establishment its co-living credentials. “This project stands out with its more mature and sophisticated look for its capsule-hotel model. Young people now have an appreciation for luxury and this is the market we are appealing to, as well as to older travellers,” explains Dickman.

Left and right: The upper deck-, and lower deck bed in adjacent cabins ‘lock’ into each other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, saving space in both cabins. Each cabin comes with a TV set, writing desk, chair, vanity mirror, and storage space for luggage.

Left and right: The Grey Rosenheim Maple wood-look laminate on the surfaces surrounding the beds in each cabin create a cosy cocoon for rest. Warm cove lighting in each cabin provide soft indirect illumination.

Unlike conventional capsule hotels, where guests rent a private bed space which come with little else, guests at ST Signature have the luxury of their own room or ‘cabin’ as they are called here, complete with a desk, chair, and space to hang clothes. Bathroom and shower facilities are communal. Prices for cabins start from an affordable $70 a night. “Guests usually spend the whole day out and only return at night to sleep, so this is a practical solution. Our main challenge was to maximise the space in the shophouses, plus work within a tight timeline,” says Dickson.

The designers were able to carve out 40 cabins, each averaging 55sq ft in size, thanks to an ingenious use of vertical space. Most cabins either have beds near the ground or on overhead decks – the overhead deck in one room cuts into the upper void of the room next door, while the grounded beds cut into the void left by the overhead bed next door, fitting like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Customised built-in furniture and fittings make the best use of the limited floor area. To provide a sense of cosiness and comfort in these petite spaces, the designers chose Lamitak’s wood-look Grey Rosenheim Maple laminate (WY 5260D) for all the rooms. “We chose this laminate for its greyish tone, which expressed the upmarket look we were after,” explains Dickman.

The deep charcoal of the metal-look Cyprian Steel laminate was chosen for the Cook Lab on the second floor, a chic space for guests to meet and mingle.

When they’re not out or in their rooms, guests can most likely be found hanging out in communal areas such as the kitchen (Cook Lab), Patio or Lawn. The stylish Cook Lab, in particular, is a favourite. The dark, pared down contemporary space, which features Lamitak’s Cyprian Steel laminate (DXP 5346XM) on the cabinets, is illuminated with warm ambient lighting and fitted with a suite of Miele appliances, creating a look worthy of any big name kitchen showroom.

Left: Wayfinding signage backed by the Grey Rosenheim Maple laminate pointing the way to the Patio (pictured right), beside Cook Lab.

The men, and ladies bathroom (pictured left) and shower facilities are located on different floors. Partitions for shower cubicles go all the way up to the top to provide a more secure environment.

The common washrooms and shower rooms are decked out with a similar look of modern luxury with their palette of dark colours, with wood tones for a welcoming look. “We included a lot of design elements found in boutique hotels. My client had a rough idea of what they wanted, giving us a free rein in terms of design, and they’re happy with the outcome,” says Dickman. So well-received was this design that the latest ST Signature at Tanjong Pagar, also designed by Milk Inc, has adopted similar aesthetics and feature the same laminates!

See the Lamitak laminates featured in this post at the Lamitak Studio at 114 Lavender Street, CT Hub 2 #01-61, Singapore 338729. For more information, contact the studio at 6592-5200 and; or drop by during the opening hours below:

Monday to Thursday: 10.30am–6.30pm
Friday: 11.30am–6.30pm
Saturday: 10.30am – 4.30pm
Sunday and Public Holidays: 12.30pm – 4.30pm
Click here for directions!

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