The Tastings Room is a new addition to the heart of Singapore’s Central Business District, Marina Square with the fine combination of French/Italian bistro cuisine and wine cellar under one roof. The restaurant’s vision was to refresh the perception of wine and food culture in Singapore by providing them at affordable prices. The overall spatial experience sandwiches the crafted black volumes between two layers of industrial aesthetics: exposed ceiling and concrete screed floor, to juxtapose/merge opposing aesthetics of being sophisticated yet affordable.
The programmatic composition was divided into three areas namely Wine, Bistro and shared spaces of Wine/Bistro. A U-shaped band of these programs was deployed as it provided the most flexible layout with regards to shared functions, main circulation and points of entry/exit. The Central Bar sits firmly in the middle to negotiate the needs of both Wine and Bistro, as well as providing the point of sale for this establishment.
Drawing inspiration from the outer aesthetics of the dark wine bottle and antique weaved wine basket holders, the outer skin of these volumes adopt a series of black diagonal tiles while the interiors are inspired by the “hidden” flavors of wine, taking on singular hues for rooms such as the red wine cellar and yellow kitchen.
The “Cabinet of Curiosities” was a reference to the collections by the aristocratic of Renaissance Europe who sought to collect interesting samples from areas of geology, biology, natural history and works of art in a designated room. Here, the design’s red “Cabinet of Wine” is a collection of new and old world wine, along with its accessories like decanters, preservation devices and wine glasses. The juxtaposition of all these articles on a curved shelving makes cataloging/indexing visually more legible thus encouraging easier comparisons, experimentation and sampling of the wines.
The coupling of the 2 almost identical function rooms allows a singular space to be converted through a foldable looking glass. One room is shaded in white while the other in black, providing an Asian yin-yang balance to an essentially European gastronomical experience.
The Central Bar is the most chiseled of all volumes as each specific chisel adheres to each practical aspect of hiding services, supporting service counters, anthropometrics and sight lines. The floating tapered form houses a giant light fixture while simultaneously accommodating the bar’s wine racking needs.
A selection of strategically placed visibility cut-outs are subtracted from these dark volumes to reveal internal workings of each enclosure as framed spatial appetizers perhaps liken to how wine should be enjoyed, one sip at a time and always in a controlled manner.