SMU students get to test Ascott's new lyf brand of serviced residences for millenials

A co-living concept room.
A co-living concept room.PHOTO: THE ASCOTT
The park, a social area.
The park, a social area.PHOTO: THE ASCOTT
A beach-inspired discussion room.
A beach-inspired discussion room.PHOTO: THE ASCOTT
CapitaLand’s president & group CEO, Mr Lim Ming Yan (left), and Ascott’s CEO, Mr Lee Chee Koon, trying their hand at baking at Lyf’s ‘Bond’ social kitchen.
CapitaLand’s president & group CEO, Mr Lim Ming Yan (left), and Ascott’s CEO, Mr Lee Chee Koon, trying their hand at baking at Lyf’s ‘Bond’ social kitchen.PHOTO: ASCOTT

SINGAPORE - The Ascott has launched its first living lab to field test its newest brand, lyf (pronounced "life"), at Singapore Management University (SMU).

SMU students will get to experience lyf's unconventional form of serviced residences designed for, and to be managed by, millennials, Ascott announced on Thursday (Feb 23).

At the living lab, dubbed lyf@SMU, the students can test out various co-living concepts, making them the first "customers" to experience and shape upcoming lyf properties.

With more than 32,000 square feet spread over three storeys, there are co-working lounges with modular furniture, large communal tables at the social pantry with interactive voting boards, multimedia rooms to encourage collaboration and free flow of ideas, days beds and napping pods.

As part of lyf's concept to enable guests to "Live Your Freedom" and connect with like-minded residents, Ascott will test out recreation areas where students can rock out in the soundproof music jamming studio, pedal up a sweat on the bike to power up their mobile phones or head to the exercise zone for a game of foosball or table tennis.

Ascott, a unit of property major CapitaLand, said feedback from the students will influence how it continues to evolve the design of lyf's social spaces.

Ascott will also organise various social activities at lyf@SMU to identify those that best resonate with the millennials, bringing together local artisans, entrepreneurs and technopreneurs. Students will be invited to co-create community programmes and co-organise or take part in TED talks, workshops and hackathons. SMU students can also sign up to be lyf guards at lyf@SMU to gain hands-on hospitality management skills.

Said Ascott CEO Lee Chee Koon: "We will be directly engaging the more than 1,200 millennials expected to visit lyf@SMU daily to field test various co-living concepts and community building activities. With each of the students clocking an average staying time of about four hours, we will be building up a sizeable data reservoir of user preferences and space usage patterns. The data will be translated into actionable insights to better tailor lyf to their needs as they prepare to become working professionals, our main target customers of lyf."

With a target to have 10,000 units under the lyf brand globally by 2020, Ascott has set its sights to roll out lyf in gateway cities of markets like Australia, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and the United Kingdom.

SMU president Professor Arnoud De Meyer said the university's tie up with Ascott will benefit its students by developing new SMU courses and projects and creating internship opportunities.

In particular, Ascott will be leveraging the mobile sensing technology from one of SMU's research labs, the LiveLabs Urban Lifestyle Innovation Platform, to gather data on millennial students. It will also be partnering with SMU on a "Design Thinking" course in August this year, where students will work on two projects related to the branding and development of lyf."