Telok Ayer Arts Club Opens

News | Written By, Ben Wu | September 7th, 2018

Telok Ayer Arts Club, a new multi-concept venue by The Supermarket Company, is now open at 2 McCallum Street in Singapore’s bustling Central Business District—at the crossroads of cultural, business and dining communes. Positioned as a fresh take on the beloved community centres of Singapore’s heartlands, it is a space for everyone that brings together art, music, food and drink in new and accessible ways.

Facade
Telok Ayer Arts Club was formed from a community of its own. Curators Anmari Van Nieuwenhove (SPRMRKT, Singapore Art Museum) and Kamiliah Bahdar (National Museum of Singapore, Asian Film Archive, Galerie Steph, etc), music director Hasnor Sidik (W Hotels, The Lo & Behold Group) and The Supermarket Company founder Sue-Shan Quek, collectively conceptualised the multi-use arts space. Through creative residences and events helmed by multidisciplinary artists, themed club nights and more rule-bending programming, they hope to shape the way Singaporeans approach the arts.

“We want to engage our guests meaningfully through our arts, music and cultural programming, which we have taken lengths to ensure speaks to everyone,” says Sue -Shan. “We see Telok Ayer Arts Club as a natural evolution of The Supermarket Company brand, and our talented team of curators, DJs, chefs and bartenders are committed to the vision.”

Located on the ground floor of a shophouse at the edge of Telok Ayer, surrounded by towering inner-city commercial buildings, the design ambitions of Telok Ayer Arts Club surpass its humble physical space. Described as “70s modernism remixed” by homegrown multidisciplinary design practice FUUR Associates, the design elements in the space are tactile and sculptural, yet at the same time avant-garde and baroque.

A curvaceous and sensuous façade finished with handmade terracotta tile is reminiscent of the iconic brick-faced buildings of Singapore’s past, updated with a modern sculptural twist. A wooden door constructed with 100-year -old teak reclaimed from old Chiang Mai villages opens up into the space and programming within.


ART + MUSIC

Designed for both creative and curious types, the arts programming at Telok Ayer Arts Club transcends the traditional “white cube gallery” through a malleable mash-up of art, music, food and drink that allows each artist to respond to the Arts Club in their own way, and vice versa. Neutral cement flooring and white and dark green walls play the perfect backdrop for the art intended to fill the space. The hope is that guests continue to actively question and ruminate in the forces behind the world we live in.

Curators Anmari and Kamiliah will collectively invite local and regional artists—both emerging and established—to inhabit the Arts Club and fill the space beyond the walls with multidisciplinary works and performances that aim to jolt white-collar senses from their everyday routine. This could range from a one-night performance to a weeks-long showcase, demonstrated through a variety of mediums from light, sound, installation, 2-D and more.

Intended as a respite from the non-stop demands of the city, the music programming at Telok Ayer Arts Club overturns notions of work and play with tongue-in-cheek concepts like “Office Hours”, a weekly Friday evening DJ set helmed by music director Hasnor; and “Kelab Malam”, an intimate club night in the CBD focusing on debut international guest DJs that is interjected between artist residencies. Upcoming plans include indulging weekend excursionists in Saturday daytime parties that will inject life back into the CBD beyond the confines of the proverbial weekday nine to five.


FOOD + DRINK

The culinary team is led by head chef Bertram Leong, whose career was spent in iconic institutions such as Raffles Hotel Singapore and Ritz-Carlton Millennia. At Telok Ayer Arts Club, chef Leong brings his rendition of French Mediterranean cuisine, flecked with rustic, comforting and occasionally Asian flavours to an all-day dining menu. Start with a delightful Tomatoes & Tofu (S$14++) dressed in a sweet and savoury medley of white miso, shitake pesto, red wine vinegar and generous sprinkling of parmesan; or dive straight into the Seafood Fettuccine (S$25++) tossed with Manila clams, crab meat and mussels in a rich, umami shellfish reduction. Locally-Bred Spatchcock (S$28++) is a tender oven-roasted French coquelet served with bacon matchsticks and a creamy garlic mash; while Oat-Crusted Lamb Ribs (S$32++) is glazed with creamy béchamel.

An industry veteran with over two decades of experience behind some of Singapore’s most iconic nightspots and innovative cocktail bars, beverage manager Din Hassan leads the bar programme, where he takes the best of Southeast Asian flavours and distils it into a concise but clever menu of reinvented classics well-suited to local palates—all served from an artisanal bar counter formed from custom white terrazzo with blue and green specks.

Time-honoured signatures from the region take centre stage at the bar, from Burma’s Pegu Club (S$20++), a tart, refreshing gin-based cocktail bestowed with the complexity of bitters; to Kuala Lumpur’s Jungle Bird (S$20++), a bracing blend of Mount Gay rum from the barrel and Campari, smoothed out with fresh lime and pineapple.

Bar-(Wide-Angle)
As an advocate of day drinking culture in the CBD, an extended happy hour menu of draught beers, wines by the glass and low-ABV (alcohol by volume) concoctions priced from S$10++ is available from 12.00pm to 7.00pm on weekdays.

With each artist that is featured at Telok Ayer Arts Club, the culinary and beverage team will develop special menus comprising dishes and drinks inspired by their work, as a response to the artist in the medium they know best. Guests will be able to enjoy these limited-time offerings throughout the duration of each artist’s showcase, and experience the creative process through food and drink.


HAPPENINGS

Telok Ayer Arts Club’s inaugural show will be in-inhabitations, a seven-week site-specific commentary by up-and-coming artist Goh Abigail. Taking place from 29 August to 23 October, Abigail will observe and document the site’s transition from rubble to Arts Club through reconfigured sounds created with objects collected from the site. As the project unfolds, Abigail will play Artist-in-Habitué—an inhabitant of the Arts Club—where guests can witness her process as she builds on her work within the space every Tuesday from 4 September to 9 October, 2.30pm to 4.30pm.

During this time, acclaimed local artist Ruben Pang will be joined by Adam Staley Groves, Stephanie Hsueh, Kenny Png and Dane Tan for Primordial Stance on 11 September, a one-night musical discourse on failure and experimentation.

Come 16 November, Telok Ayer Arts Club will welcome Michael Green aka Fort Romeau, an electronic music producer and DJ from the United Kingdom with a background in Visual Arts and a love for music and vinyl’s dating back to his childhood. Having played all over the world from Mexico to Tokyo to residencies at some of Europe’s most revered dance floors, he will make his Singapore debut at the first instalment of Kelab Malam.

Telok Ayer Arts Club is open every Monday to Saturday from 11.00am to 11.00pm.
For reservations, please email contactus@telokayerartsclub.sg or call +65 6221 0712.
For more information, please visit www.telokayerartsclub.sg.

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  Ben Wu

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