Of Community and Change

A wave of entrepreneurs, creatives and social innovators — from new-age hawkers to upstart product designers — is shaking up the status quo in Singapore and creating demand for a new breed of private members’ clubs. Enter The Straits Clan. Housed in a heritage shophouse, the club provides an environment conducive to creative connections.

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Managed by lifestyle company The Lo & Behold Group under the direction of Wee Teng Wen, the clubhouse celebrates contemporary living in South East Asia while offering an update to the colonial- era hallmark. ‘We had a vision of creating a private members’ club that sought to challenge what that has traditionally stood for,’ explains Wee. ‘We wanted a club that is a modern representation of how we live, work and play in our part of the world.’

As guests enter the 2000-square-metre heritage building, they are immersed in homage to the city-state. With interiors deftly handled by local design duo Takenouchi Webb, references to Singapore’s architectural markers include Shanghai plaster adapted from neoclassical colonial buildings, ventilation blocks from public housing stairwells and Peranakan- inspired tilework. According to the designers, staying true to local culture was the cornerstone of the project brief.

And when it came to the historic structure, scrupulous attention was paid to period detailing. ‘A big part was to see what elements we could bring back to the original form,’ says Marc Webb. A second-level courtyard was thus restored,flanked by a bar and bistro on either side that evoke distinctive eras in Singapore’s history. The bar, decked in contrasting wooden and rattan furnishing, is reminiscent of a colonial taproom, while the bistro recalls 1970s coffee shops with its geometric floor tiles and onyx feature wall.

In the lobby lounge, Clan Café is open to members and the public alike, and offers a refined tea salon setting that transitions into a convivial bar in the evenings. During the day, sunlight streams in through the glass-panelled facade, highlighting a whimsical mural by Singaporean artists RIPPLE ROOT and a towering shelf of eclectic ceramics curated byflorist John Lim of This Humid House. At the same time, the uninterrupted view is reflective of Straits Clan’s ethos — extending a warm welcome to all who share in their appreciation for entrepreneurial zeal and ingenuity.

The community element of the club is key, cultivating conversation and collaboration. ‘Singapore has been pushing boundaries and driving change on so many fronts, but these have been for the most part led by individuals in their own silos,’ explains Wee. At The Straits Clan, he aims to change that.

Text / Joseph Koh
Images / Jovian Lim

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