My Perfect Weekend with architect Melvin Tan

For architect Melvin Tan, weekends are for family time, and pursuing his interests in coffee and still photography. PHOTO: MELVIN TAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Who: Melvin Tan, 47, is the founding partner of award-winning practice Laud Architects and the newly elected president of the Singapore Institute of Architects. Projects his firm has worked on include a Sparkletots pre-school in Punggol, which was awarded the President's Design Award Singapore in 2020. He and his wife, a 47-year old civil servant, have two daughters aged 15 and 18.

"Saturday mornings are probably the only day in the week I get to catch up on sleep because I send my girls to school every weekday. Even then, I am usually up by about 8am or 9am.

Brunch would be with my wife at Pek Kio Market & Food Centre, which is near our home in Newton. This is where we get our fresh produce and enjoy our favourite local food - kway chap (noodle soup with offal) from Double Spring Teochew Lor Duck Kway Chap for my wife, and white carrot cake from Heng Leong Carrot Cake for me. Both topped off with a stick of you tiao (fried bread) from DeliSnacks and tea.

In the afternoons, I try to visit shows or exhibitions on art and photography, such as those at the Singapore Art Museum at Tanjong Pagar Distripark.

I also work on my side projects of content creation. During the pandemic, I learnt to create YouTube videos. My YouTube channel (@ Melvin HJ Tan) combines my first love of analogue photography and my professional interest in architecture.

Saturday dinners are always family affairs. A favourite of ours is Novena Steamboat Delight in Thomson Road. We have been supporting this establishment since it started at the basement food court of Parkway Parade about 30 years ago. We love its housemade chilli sauce.

I am a self-professed home barista, so my Sunday mornings start with a coffee not just for myself, but also for my worship band whom I prepare a flask of long black coffee. I grind my own beans and use a Rocket Espresso machine.

Church takes up a good portion of my Sunday. I play electric bass primarily and, occasionally, acoustic guitar in the worship band.

That is followed by a casual family lunch at Jewel Changi Airport. In my opinion, it is the most unique mall in Singapore. The work of home-grown architects has developed by leaps and bounds, and the standard of design is top-notch. I sometimes spend Sunday afternoons visiting newly completed buildings to admire and enjoy the efforts of my fellow architects.

Alternatively, if I have time, I spend Sunday afternoons processing my black-and-white photographs while enjoying another cup of coffee at home.

Dinner is at Ginza Anzu at Great World. It serves a mean pork loin katsu (cutlet), which reminds me of Japan.

Sunday nights are when I catch up on design work, sketching and preparing for the week ahead.

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