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Peter Tay: Beneath the high-gloss veneer Total: 1 Posts | 0 Replies | 177 Views

August 09, 2019 04:30 PM
By: cecilia.chow@bizedge.com | Posted on: Aug 08, 2019

At the peak of his career, the celebrity designer is sought-after by the glitterati, tycoons and top developers. But he takes time to pause and reflect on his life and works.

Tay: I want people to stop and think when they step in, to appreciate the spatial quality and to enjoy the space. It’s this enjoyment of space that freezes time. (Photo Credit: John Heng)

Peter Tay is often known as the “interior designer to the stars”. His name is linked to celebrity clients such as Chinese-American singer Wang Leehom, whose home in Taipei he designed and completed last year. Tay is now designing a new music and film studio for Wang, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of the month. “It’s going to be a very contemporary, New York-style loft, with exposed ductwork and of course, my signature reflective ceiling,” says Tay in a recent interview with EdgeProp Singapore.Other celebrity clients include Chinese actress Zhang Zhiyi, whose penthouse in Beijing Tay designed a decade ago and recently refreshed; Singaporean singer Stephanie Sun; actress Zoe Tay, and celebrity hairstylist David Gan. Chinese actress Vicki Zhao is also said to be a client-to-be.Even tycoons rank among his clients. He recently completed the design of a Good Class Bungalow at Belmont Road that was snapped up for $39.8 million ($2,653 psf) by Angela Loh, the former wife of Centurion Corp director David Loh just last month.Tay is in the midst of designing the residence for another tycoon, Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim, as well as the residences of his family members.

Living room and swimming pool with reflective ceiling of a Good Class Bungalow at Mount Echo Park designed by Tay (Photo Credit: John Heng)

His signature? A reflective ceiling
Increasingly, Tay’s name has surfaced in luxury condos. Upscale projects in the pipeline for launch that will bear Tay’s hallmark include the redevelopment Pacific Mansion by Hong Leong Investment Holdings and GuocoLand;GuocoLand’s Midtown Bay residences at Guoco Midtown on Beach Road and the redevelopment of the former Casa Meyfort; as well as Allgreen Properties’ third and most luxurious development in its Bukit Timah Collection, Royalgreen (redevelopment of the former Royalville).Other show units he has done include GuocoLand’s Martin Modern; Lum Chang Holdings’ One Tree Hill Collection; Midas Land’s maiden development Jervois Privé; and more recently, the three- and four-bedroom showflats of Frasers Property’s Rivière.

Showflat of a three-bedroom unit at Jervois Prive, Midas Land's maiden project with 45 luxury residences (Photo Credit: John Heng)

In every showflat that he has designed, Tay leaves his signature behind – a high-gloss reflective ceiling. “It’s my identity,” says Tay. “I love the idea of reflection from a high gloss ceiling.”However, not all mirrored or reflective ceilings are Tay’s handiwork. On one occasion, his good friend, a photographer, had called him at midnight: “He asked me, ‘Peter, did you design the McDonald’s in East Coast?’ I said ‘no’, but he insisted, ‘Don’t bluff, you did McDonald’s at East Coast.’” Puzzled, Tay drove to the outlet immediately and looked at the mirrored ceiling there.“Sometimes design is like that,” he says philosophically. “So, I use a lot of steel now in my show flats. And I want to try another material – marble. But I’m still trying to figure out a way to hang marble on a ceiling.” Super penthouses Tay was the interior designer for the penthouses at Wallich Residence in Tanjong Pagar Centre including the biggest penthouse – the 21,108 sq ft, super penthouse recently purchased by British billionaire-inventor James Dyson. Tay had done the finishing work for the super penthouse, which was just a bare shell before it was sold. He chose the flooring materials, the kitchen and bathroom fittings and accessories, kitchen cabinetry and wardrobes. He also incorporated his signature reflective ceiling in the triplex penthouse.

One of the five-bedroom duplex units at Leedon Residence designed by Tay (Photo Credit: John Heng)

Tay was also recently appointed the interior designer for the biggest penthouse at Far East Organization’s Boulevard Vue. The 11,098 sq ft, duplex penthouse was sold to a Chinese business magnate for $52 million ($4,686 psf) in June. At United Industrial Corp’s V on Shenton, Tay recently completed the show suite of one of the penthouses and is working on another. He is now completing the interiors of a triplex penthouse at South Beach Residences, developed jointly by City Developments and Malaysian conglomerate IOI Group.“I’ve done a lot of penthouses,” Tay reflects.Other penthouses he has designed over the past decade are: three penthouses at The Oceanfront in Sentosa Cove; two of the penthouses at St Regis Residences; one at Ardmore Park, Richmond Park, Beverly Hills, Marina Bay Suites, Scotts HighPark, and the penthouse at The Sail @ Marina Bay purchased in September 2008 by entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bhupendra Kumar Modi. The founder and chairman of Spice Corp was said to have paid $15.5 million for the 5,834 sq ft simplex 11 years ago.

Luxury lifestyle brands

Swiss kitchen appliances V-Zug's gallery at Scotts Square comes with an open kitchen and dining area overlooking Orchard Road (Photo Credit: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)

Tay is also the designer behind many of the luxury lifestyle brands. He designed the flagship gallery and office of Swiss kitchen appliance brand V-Zug at Scotts Square in Singapore, and will be designing its galleries in Beijing and Shanghai too.The new flagship Simmons Gallery at Capitol Piazza designed with three individual sleeping pods – where potential buyers can test the premium mattresses by taking a 45-minute nap – also features interiors by Tay.He is also designing watch brand Richard Mille’s office, with a new extension at Ngee Ann City on Orchard Road. Tay designed Manolo Blahnik’s boutique in Singapore. He also designed Surrender’s flagship store in Shanghai, which won a gold medal for retail space in an i-DEA competition in Singapore. That led to him designing the Surrender boutique in Marina Bay Sands and the revamp of the
one at 268 Orchard Road.

Showflat of a luxurious four-bedroom unit at Riviere designed by Tay (Photo Credit: John Heng)

What keeps him going?
Tay maintains a relentless schedule. “I sleep at 2am or 3am and wake up at 7am, and then I go to work,” he says. “I’ve been doing that for many years, and I continue to do so because I have a lot of very good projects coming up and I want to spend time on my designs.”He travels up to three times a week, to three different cities. And he can only do that by taking the red-eye flights. “I will take the midnight flight so I can sleep on the plane,” he says. “I will fly in to see Wang Leehom or Zhang Zhiyi and then fly straight back on the next late-night flight.”According to Tay, his design perspective changed following two momentous events in his life. The first was a car accident in 2006: Tay had crashed his car, a Toyota Supra, into a tree. He was in a coma for three days and required several rounds of reconstructive surgery to his face and jaw.Hence, in addition to his work for the glitterati, tycoons and blue-chip developers, Tay makes sure he takes time to do pro bono design work. So far, he has designed churches and centres for the disabled. “It’s important because it’s about bringing happiness to people,” he says.
Tay's hallmark reflective ceiling and wall is evident at the lounge of a Good Class Bungalow on Mount Echo Park (Photo Credit: John Heng)

Another milestone was when he was named the Designer of the Year in the Singapore President’s Design Award 2014. “It’s the highest accolade for a designer,” says Tay. “It’s very hard to build a name in design, especially in Singapore. To me, winning the award is just the beginning. I have more to learn and grow. What’s important to me is my love for design.”Instead of expanding abroad, Tay wants to establish a strong foundation in Singapore, his home market. “I want to do better, more beautiful and meaningful projects,” he says.He recounts the reaction of his secondary school friends from Dunman High when they heard he won the Singapore President’s Design Award. “They said, ‘Wow, this guy can’t draw. And now he is an award-winning designer.’”

The architect who can’t draw
Tay admits he still can’t draw today. “My staff all know I can’t draw,” he says. He remembers one Thursday afternoon in Dunman High School, when his teacher had asked him to stay back after everyone had left the classroom at the end of art class. “He said, ‘Peter, you can’t draw. How can we help you?’ I told him I really tried my best. He asked me to draw a bird, but I couldn’t even draw the shape of a bird,” Tay relates. “When I walked out of the classroom, I told myself, I will never do design for the rest of my life.”

Swimming pool and reflective ceiling of a bungalow on Goodmass Road designed by Tay (Photo Credit: John Heng)

When he graduated from Temasek Junior College with flying colours, Tay faced another dilemma: Which course to take at university? “I could get into medicine, law, accounting, business and architecture,” he says. “Everyone had already submitted their applications except me. And I had only five minutes left to submit mine.”He decided to choose his course by casting lots: He wrote the different courses down in five small pieces of paper, folded them up and picked one at random. “When I picked it up, I said to myself, ‘Gosh, architecture’, so I did architecture.”However, he soon found out that the university he was at, University of Western Australia (UWA), also produced top architects: Kerry Hill graduated from UWA in 1968 and his son was Tay’s schoolmate. Richard Hassell – co-founder of Singapore-based WOHA – also hails from UWA.At the end of his first year at UWA, Tay went to see his professor to find out how he had fared. “He asked me to close the door and to sit down. Recalling what happened at Dunman High, I asked him if I had failed the year, and he said ‘no’. I asked if I had just passed, he said ‘no’ again. I asked him if I was somewhere in the middle, he said ‘no’. He said, ‘Peter, you’re the best in the school.’ And he proceeded to write a letter of recommendation for me to go to AA [The Architectural Association School of Architecture in London], for an interview.”Tay recalls going home and relating the exchange to his father. Tay was concerned that his parents could not afford to send him to AA, which was a top design school. But his father encouraged him to attend the interview anyway.“The interview was in a small room with five top architects,” says Tay. “I brought my portfolio, but they didn’t even want to look at my work. They asked me: ‘What do you do on Sundays?’ Most people would say they go to the bookstore to look at books on design and architecture, or walk around to look at buildings. But I didn’t think I was going to get in, so I said what came straight from my heart: ‘I do nothing at all. I just sit at the beach and look at the sea, the sky and the birds.’ But at the end of the interview, they told me I was in.”

Reflection from a mirrored surface as seen in a living room of a Good Class Bungalow at Mount Echo Park (Photo Credit: John Heng)

Honing his craft
Tay’s inspiration comes from the likes of Jiro Ono, the 93-year-old sushi chef whose restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, has been awarded three Michelin stars for the past 11 years. The restaurant in Ginza is where it has always been, near the train station, where Jiro first opened it in 1965.“It’s still in an old office space and he doesn’t want to expand and he doesn’t want to move,” says Tay. Apparently, there is a waiting list of up to 500 people, and the restaurant has a capacity of 10 guests. Tay laments that he still can’t get a seat.What is more striking for Tay is that Jiro is still behind the sushi counter and that he still visits the Tsukiji fish market at 5am every morning to select the fish for his sushi. “You can really see his love, and the dedication to his work,” he says. “And he is a three-Michelin-star chef. This is real passion, which is something I must learn.”Tay intends to release his second book entitled “Reflections” next year. “It’s not just my reflections on my work but my life over the past 50 years,” he says. “It’s also about how the car accident in 2006 changed me and made me stop to look at what’s important in life.”And that is also something that he incorporates into his designs: “I want people to stop and think when they step in, to appreciate the spatial quality and to enjoy the space,” he says. “It’s this enjoyment of space that freezes time.”

Source: https://www.edgeprop.sg/property-news/peter-tay-beneath-high-gloss-veneer?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=article&utm_campaign=Echo
« Last Edit: August 09, 2019, 08:11:51 PM by PropertyChat »


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