Singapore's residential boom has resulted in architects being commissioned to design a slew of temporary sales gallery buildings to facilitate the sale of condominium apartments. In 2011, a new high of 18,000 new condominium units were launched. Developers are often pressured to sell their units quickly, within 3 months if possible, as it would become more difficult once the neighbouring developments launch their units.
Savills estimates that the supply of homes in 2012 will surpass the 18,000 in 2011; however since late 2011, the rising global economic challenges and Singapore's inflation have reduced the purchasing appetite and developers have become increasingly worried that their units would go unsold. It is in this climate that UOL Group Limited commissioned MOD to design a sales gallery for Katong Regency, a 244-unit residential development located along Singapore's eastern city fringe. MOD was commissioned to design a holistic experience including the architectural form, sales gallery & show flat interiors, signage and key furniture pieces.
Effective sales: all units sold out within 8 days. The project met with phenomenal sales success, selling out completely within 8 days of its launch in April 2012. Within 3 days of its launch, 214 of 244 units were sold (88%); by the 5th day, 93% were sold, and by the 8th day, all units were sold out (100%).
In comparison, 2 competing condominium projects similarly located on the city fringe were launched in the same week, but 1 managed to sell only 25% within its 1st week and 26% within 3 weeks; the other sold 29% within the same 3-week timeframe. Both continue to possess unsold units. UOL and MOD conclude that the sales gallery's design was a key factor in enabling the strong sales record, i.e. the choreographed experience made it easy for potential buyers to appreciate the sophisticated value of the development and make decisive purchases.
For example, the design moves potential buyers from a busy street through a quiet uninterrupted tunnel before entering the gallery, cleansing their senses and preparing them for the sales experience. Buyers are then greeted by the building model in a generous double-height space, which feels enclosed and protected, yet open with streaks of natural light streaming in. Buyers then proceed up the grand central stairs to see the two show units, which prove effective in showcasing the apartments in terms of their layout flexibility and design provisions.
The show units are designed with different themes to ensure that the visitor's imagination is not limited. Of the two show flats on display, one is designed to appeal to the lifestyle of a contemporary young family whilst the other is tailored for a single professional in the design industry. Both units explore the notion of contemporary luxury and eschew the typical elements of ostentation and ornamentation, updating them for greater relevance in the current climate of understated luxury and authentic material richness.
Once the buyers comprehend the available unit types and sizes, they return downstairs to a sheltered and cocooned discussion area with a coffee corner; its intimate scale is conducive for discussions and confirmation of purchases.
This systematic progression made buyers psychologically comfortable and able to confirm their purchases in record time.Effective innovation: a new sales gallery model for Singapore Most sales galleries are homogenous and formulaic: architectural glass cubes with unrelated interior design, typically styled ostentatiously, to entice with visions of luxury. Most also seem to ignore the eccentricities of site context and rely on grossly over-sized billboards or gimmicky banners to generate sales. MOD sought to establish a possible new alternative model for the Singaporean sales gallery, relying instead on the inherent branding value of an iconic architectural statement to position the development, employing form-making as a more relevant, subtle & sophisticated form of advertisement.
The result is a museum-like structure that weaves perfectly into the restrictive site geometry yet commands a strong presence that successfully negates the visual pollution at the traffic junction. UOL and MOD both believe this challenges the current precedents and presents significant innovation in the design field for the sales gallery typology.