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When East Meets West: Contemporary Homes Infused with Asian Influences

27 July 2022

Contemporary modern homes have traditionally looked to the West for design inspiration. But with globalization and the melding of cultures within countries and families, Asian influences are inevitably on the rise – and unsurprisingly so in a cultural melting pot like Singapore.

From incorporating subtle Asian aesthetics to making a bold cultural statement, more homeowners these days are increasingly turning to interior design to express and spotlight their cultural roots or preferences.  

Pasir Ris by Pearlin

In this Pasir Ris project, designer Pearlin achieves a delicate balance between contemporary interior design and subtle Asian-inspired accent features that work in perfect harmony.

Speaking of balance, the choice of calming whites, light, and dark wood, makes for a great neutral backdrop for incorporating colourful Asian accents. The elegant and lifelike calligraphic artworks, and the recurring theme of Peranakan tiles of various designs each with its unique charm in the balcony, dining table, kitchen bar table, and bathrooms, in this case, work well to bring little touches of Asian-inspired design and pops of colour that livens up the space. 

Another traditional Asian design element incorporated effectively within the contemporary space was the subtle floral patterned metal screens that worked effectively as space dividers without the same oppressive feelings of walls. This is reminiscent of traditional ornamental Oriental windows that are prevalent in Chinese architecture but elevated with a modern twist thanks to a simplified design and striking choice of material.

West Coast by Derrick

Tasked to create a family home that is both modern and traditional at the same time to incorporate the homeowners’ love for all things Oriental, designer Derrick successfully designed a space where the elements coexist seamlessly.

At first glance, the space’s monochromatic black and white palette exudes a contemporary yet timeless ambience. It is only upon a closer look that one notices the subtle nuanced motifs and cultural design elements that have been thoughtfully incorporated – understated, and without stealing the limelight.

One such example? The smart use of screens, in various forms, from traditional silkscreen designs to its most modern metal and glass iterations, help to provide much-needed privacy in this open contemporary space without the harsh boundaries that come with walls.

When it came to furniture, the designer toed the fine line of contrasting functional modern wood-based pieces with decorative Chinoiseries pieces with old-school charm. Lacquered in a dark colour, these vintage pieces work effectively in blending in with the modern space while evoking the much sought-after Oriental vibe.

Sin Ming Ave by Dess

Contemporary spaces with their typically minimalist aesthetic sensibilities and the maximalism of Asian-influenced interiors may seem at complete ends of the design spectrum and unreconcilable. 

And yet, in this two-storey Sin Ming Ave project, designer Dess creatively juxtapositions two seemingly differing interior concepts by giving both their own space to maximize their potential. The communal areas of the first storey showcase the homeowners’ modern contemporary inclinations while the private areas of the second storey exhibit their intimate love for their precious oriental collection.

In the contemporary modern space, designer Dess goes wild with bold and playful choices of architectural elements, textures like marble, and statement pieces of furnishing that work perfectly against the clean modern backdrop. To avoid an overly harsh vibe, arches were incorporated as a recurring motif to soften the overall ambience.

Going up the stairs to the second floor, one is immediately transported to a different world. From intricately patterned screens, and vintage Chinoiserie furniture, to the curated selection of calligraphy paintings on display, the oriental theme, to go with the home’s prized oriental collection, is proudly on display in every corner.

469B Admiralty Drive by Roy

The desire to reflect the homeowners’ diverse cultural background and heritage is apparent in this 469B Admiralty Drive project by designer Roy – with an eclectic number of design elements drawing from Asian cultures in the region against a contemporary backdrop.

In paying homage to the potpourri of Asian cultures, the designer is not afraid to mix and match – whether it is pairing bold colours against a plain background or ornate designs with sleek contemporary ones.

The striking entrance doorway for one is a big disclaimer that this house does not subscribe to any cookie-cutter theme. By combining a sleek panelled storage area with a dramatic entryway partition made of oriental patterned bricks, floral patterned tiles, and a bold yellow oriental stool, the simple entryway into the home is immediately elevated to a different level.

And it is exactly this bold juxtaposition of Asian-inspired motifs and modern contemporary elements repeated across the home, that gives off its charming vibe. From the asymmetrical shelves of the opulent moon-shaped Oriental display cabinet in the living room, the vintage lighting fixtures, to the intricately designed wash basins that stand out in the modern bathrooms, the designer has truly outdone himself in giving this contemporary space its unique character profile.

East Coast Avenue by Paul & Ivan

A tribute to the homeowners’ love for travel, this East Coast Avenue project by Paul and Ivan draws inspiration from the various destinations that the couple loves, with an inclination for Asian favourites like Indonesia and Japan.

To subtly remind the couple of the travel destinations that they love, the designers take extra care in incorporating design accents that are reminiscent of the various cultures within the predominantly contemporary space.

From an understated feature wall made up of granite that reminds them of the outdoors, Indonesian-inspired rattan sliding cabinets, and Japanese-inspired latticed timber window frames, to the outdoor Zen rock garden, every corner of this thoughtfully designed 5-storey townhouse is built to inspire the couple’s wanderlust.

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