National Kitchen by Violet Oon at National Gallery wins gold at Design Excellence Awards

The interiors are distinctly elegant and the dark wood furnishings work perfectly with the rich blue, gold and jade green accents to highlight the elements of traditional Nonya culture. PHOTO: NATIONAL KITCHEN BY VIOLET OON

SINGAPORE - With its tile-patterned floors, 1920s-era pendant chandeliers and eye-catching green and blue painted walls, Peranakan restaurant National Kitchen by Violet Oon at National Gallery is truly a sight to behold.

For first-time visitors, it is immediately obvious that the colours are what make the space. The interiors, though fantastically opulent, are still distinctly elegant and the dark wood furnishings work perfectly with the rich blue, gold and jade green accents to highlight the elements of traditional Nonya culture.

It was no surprise then that National Kitchen, designed by boutique interior design firm Laank, was awarded gold in the AkzoNobel Colour Award category at the Interior Design Confederation Singapore's Design Excellence Awards (DEA) 2017, held on Tuesday (Nov 21) at the St Regis Singapore hotel.

The newly introduced category at the fifth edition of the awards was added to recognise design projects that have applied good use of colour to enhance interiors as well as to add distinctiveness to spaces. The other two winners in this award category were Index Design's residential project Park Place Residences, which received the silver award and DB&B's design of tech start-up Shopee Singapore offices, which bagged the bronze award.

This year, there were 90 DEA awards in 36 categories handed out, with entries submitted from Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Italy, the United States of America and the United Kingdom. The annual awards recognise the best of local and regional design in commercial, residential and public design categories and is open to practitioners and students in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region.

A total of 180 entries were received this year across two competition tracks - the Interior Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) for interior designers and firms; and Spatial Design Awards for students. For each category, entries were judged according to a scoring band and projects were not compared with each other but instead, scored individually in terms of merit.

The winning entries were selected by a five-member jury panel and there was more than one winner in certain categories.

Said founder and creative director of The Press Room and jury member Kelley Cheng, of this year's entries for the awards: "There were a wide range of projects this year and I was truly impressed how some designers took a technical floor plan and brought it to life in a way that redefined conventions and prototypes, with consideration for the smallest details."

William Lau, principal at A.Alliance Design International and fellow jury member concurred, adding in his citation that the winning projects this year have achieved a high standard of mastery and showed an incredible spectrum of design concepts and ideas, even whilst charting completely different directions.

Besides winning the AkzoNobel Colour Award, Laank continued their victory streak by snapping up Best F&B Design in Asia Pacific (for spaces more than 2,000 sq ft) for National Kitchen and Emerging ID Firm of the Year, another new category added this year.

Said jury member Pann Lim of Kinetic Singapore of the five-year-old design practice: "I am both impressed and inspired by Laank because the spaces they create demonstrate breadth and depth in thinking. They understand brand design well, and as a result, no two spaces designed by Laank are alike, yet they exude the same sense of familiarity in the way the customer's experience in the space is curated."

Laank founder Cherin Tan, 34, was elated and said of the eight-person firm's win: "This is the first time we submitted our projects for awards and I'm so happy to have won all three awards that we were nominated for. I had a good feeling coming in and this is an important recognition of the hard work that the team has put in."

Besides Laank, other big winners of the night were the Nissan Crossing Experience Centre in Tokyo, designed by Tim Kobe from Eight Inc which won the much-anticipated IDEA Project of the Year. Also going home winners were local design firms Metaphor Studio, One Plus Partnership and Wee Studio, who were awarded the night's highest honour of Top 3 ID Firms of the Year.

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