S’porean photographer muses about decision to repaint Tampines BTO lobby, warns of stifling innovation – Mothership.SG – News from Singapore, Asia and around the world

In case you missed it, a lift lobby in the Tampines GreenVines BTO project has been the talk of the town recently.

This comes after its floor-to-ceiling crimson-red colour scheme drew the ire of several incoming residents, some of whom complained about the lift lobby’s eerie vibes come nightfall.

Photo from Lianhe Zaobao.

Already, the red lift lobby has undergone some changes with workers seen painting over some areas in white.

Singaporean photographer weighs in

Yet not everyone is entirely pleased with the swift action taken to redecorate the HDB block.

Following the entire debacle, Singaporean photographer Darren Soh weighed in, lamenting that the yellow lift lobbies were soon to be not-so-yellow anymore.

“I went to photograph the yellow lift lobbies at Blocks 641A, B and C at Tampines St 62 early this morning because I fear that like their red brethren at Block 640A, their ceilings and walls will not remain yellow for long.”

In his Mar. 4 Facebook post, Soh — whose work has been to capture Singapore’s architecture and urbanscapes — did not deny that the red lift lobbies could be “overpowering”, adding that its effects were “exacerbated at night”.

He also commented that the designers and architects may have gone a step too far in their attempts to carve an identity for Tampines GreenVines and differentiate between the 11 HDB blocks with “identical facades” to help residents better find their way home.

Nevertheless, Soh applauded the designers’ and architects’ bold attempts in using bold colours.

Using Singapore’s public housing as an example, Soh said it would be naive of anyone to think that all that is being enjoyed in a contemporary HDB estate, block and flat are things that happened overnight.

“Like all processes, what is unsaid and often forgotten is all the trial and error that goes on behind the scenes by the tireless architects and engineers working on Singapore’s public housing.”

Calls for public to be more empathetic and mindful with feedback

He called on the public to be more empathetic, saying that they should not assume that everything is done right on the first attempt.

Instead, it is a constant work in progress, where some new things work while some do not.

“We adopt the things that work and continue to refine those that don’t. Those are facts of life we need to accept.”

Soh also called for the public to be more mindful of their feedback, cautioning them about its stifling effects on design.

“Unless we are happy living in faceless boxes where we can never find our way around, we should be mindful of how stifling some public feedback can be to design.”

Most of the commenters were in favour of HDB being bold

After seeing Soh’s photos in his Facebook post, a majority of the individuals commented that the yellow lift lobbies should be left as is.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

However, like every internet topic, not everyone has the same views, and understandably so according to a Tampines GreenVines resident, who suggested that the yellow and other bold colours may be overwhelming for some individuals.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

With that said, most of the commenters were in favour of HDB being bold and innovative.

Image screenshot from Facebook.

Tampines GreenVines, which is bounded by Tampines Street 62 and Tampines North Drive 2, comprises 11 HDB blocks.

All of the block’s lift lobbies have a colour scheme inspired by tropical fruits to help residents find their way as “Tampines GreenVines is a big district”, a Housing and Development Board (HDB) spokesperson told Mothership.

Photo from Lianhe Zaobao.

From the estate, four blocks have red lift lobbies, four have purplish blue lift lobbies, and the remaining three have yellow lift lobbies.

However, the walls and ceilings in the red lobbies — as well as that of those with other colour schemes — will be progressively toned down following the public feedback, the HDB spokesperson said.

Photo from Lianhe Zaobao.

More about the not-so-red Tampines BTO

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Top image from Lianhe Zaobao