[LATEST UPDATE] Amber Sea breaks convention for home design

By EdgeProp Singapore
/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Amber Sea, at 30 Amber Gardens, is a redevelopment of the former Amber Glades by Far East Organization (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
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Latest Update from Far East Organization:
"In view of the current evolving market conditions, we are reviewing the concept and planning for Amber Sea to ensure we deliver an enhanced residential development with enduring value," says Michelle Tang, Deputy Director, Sales & Leasing Group, Far East Organization. "As such, the launch of Amber Sea will be on hold to allow for further evaluation. We will share more details on the launch once ready.."
Tang adds: "At Far East Organization, we are committed to creating spaces and experiences that will inspire better lives.”
SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Located within the Amber Gardens neighbourhood in Singapore’s East Coast is the 132-unit freehold development Amber Sea. Designed for a wide range of lifestyles, it is a redevelopment of the former Amber Glades, which giant property developer Far East Organization purchased a decade ago for $118.12 million. The project previewed on Oct 16, and is scheduled for launch on Oct 30. Prices are said to start from $1.042 million or from $2,490 psf.
“Amber Sea is probably the last new launch of a freehold project in the Amber Road-Meyer Road precincts until end-2022,” says Lee Sze Teck, senior director of research at Huttons Asia, the exclusive marketing agency for the project. “New supply of homes in this precinct is also very limited.” (Browse newly launched condos in Singapore right now)
The kitchen and dining areas for selected units are placed next to the window, with views of the surrounding neighbourhood (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Perhaps that is why Far East Organization has held Amber Sea for 10 years, “it’s saving the best for last,” says Lee. Far East Organization is no stranger to this prime District 15 residential neighbourhood, having developed and completed three projects there in 2014: the 76-unit, freehold The Cape at Amber Road; the 383-unit Silversea (redevelopment of the former Amberville privatised HUDC estate) at Marine Parade Road; and the 408-unit The Shore Residences that sits at the corner of Amber Road and Mountbatten Road.
Amber Sea occupies 40,918 sq ft of freehold land, and has 17 layout types across 19 storeys, offering more choices to home buyers than most other developments, says Seah Chee Kien, managing director at RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, the appointed architect for the development. To facilitate design and construction, units in other developments with the same layouts are commonly stacked on top of one another. In contrast, Amber Sea offers a ground duplex villa unit of 4,133 sq ft, a single-level penthouse of 2,454 sq ft, and a mix of one- to four-bedroom layouts from 398 sq ft.
“Traditionally, stacking seems the easiest. But once you stack, you lose the opportunity to [cater to] a mix of different sets of people,” says Seah. “What we tried to do was to have different sizes… [and] a diverse range of unit types.”
One of the layouts offered by Amber Sea - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
One of the layouts offered by Amber Sea has the kitchen right next to the living area, separated by a glass panel so that homeowners can still socialise with their guests in the living room while they are preparing meals in the kitchen (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The reason behind having a wide selection of layout types was to cater to the neighbourhood profile in the wider Katong enclave. “We felt it was something that goes very well with the overall district,” he explains. “If you are a multi-generational family, you could actually have your second-generation [family member] living in a unit next door, instead of within the same unit. So there are various possibilities of how life can happen on each floor.”
Seah adds: “The sense of a wider community is traditionally what has been taking place here, and although we are densifying it, I think it is important to still keep that mix.”
Situated at 30 Amber Gardens, the development is within close proximity to amenities like Dunman Food Centre, Katong Shopping Centre and Parkway Parade. East Coast Park is within a 10-minute walk, while the upcoming Tanjong Katong MRT Station on the Thomson-East Coast Line is a six-minute walk from Amber Sea.
three-bedroom show unit at Amber Sea - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
A three-bedroom show unit at Amber Sea (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
The two MRT stations are scheduled to be completed in 2024, while Amber Sea is expected to obtain its Temporary Occupation Permit sometime in 2026. For those who drive, it is 10 minutes to the city and 15 minutes to Changi Airport, says Huttons’ Lee.

Curated provisions

The idea of providing a duplex unit on the ground floor of Amber Sea pays homage to the history of the site. “In the old days, it’s all low-rise. We had bungalows with outhouses, and that is something that we wanted to keep,” says Seah. He likens the duplex unit to a “bungalow on the ground”. “We wanted to preserve that intimate scale,” he adds.
“We could have four smaller units [in place of the larger duplex unit], but that loses the opportunity to have a mixed bag of different lifestyles...we studied the whole area, and we felt that there is a window for this kind of product,” he explains.
Seah: We were always very mindful that you need some flexible transitional spaces that you can change as you go along (Credit: Samuel Isaac Chua/ The Edge Singapore)
Inspired by villa-living, the duplex home comes with two floors and a basement level. The homeowner of the unit would also be able to enjoy a private pool and deck, a private lift lobby and a designated carpark lot.
The same careful considerations apply to the single-level penthouse unit. “There are people who prefer [a house of] one level, with a big verandah. We felt that such a product is less available,” he adds.
To create a sense of community, communal spaces are introduced on the ground and on the roof terrace of Amber Sea. Seah’s team initially toyed around with the idea of placing the condo facilities on the second floor, but decided against it as not all residents would then be able to enjoy views from a high point. This is also why the development offers only one penthouse unit, as opposed to having the top floors fully built with penthouse offerings.
Facilities on the ground floor, which include a 25m lap pool (Credit: Far East Organization)
When embarking on the design of the development, the team was guided by the notion of community. “We freed up half the roof for a communal garden, and this could then be an extended outdoor space for any of the units,” says Seah.

Breaking convention

For the smaller units at Amber Sea, RSP Architects tried to break away from the convention of layouts where the kitchen is often placed to the right or left of the entrance. “We have units where your dining area becomes your main social space, instead of your living room,” says Seah. To tweak the spaces a little, the kitchen and dining areas for selected units are placed next to the window, with views of the surrounding neighbourhood.
There are also units where the kitchen is right next to the living area, separated by a glass panel, so that homeowners can still interact with their guests in the living room while they are preparing meals in the kitchen.
40,918 sq ft of land - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The development occupies 40,918 sq ft of land and has 17 layout types across 19 storeys (Credit: Far East Organization)
Seah believes that the modern way of living has changed, and as a result, the design of spaces should change accordingly. For instance, everyone is now perpetually on their phones, and “there is no need for a 60-inch television anymore”, he says.
Some units come with a balcony, while others do not. “We don’t [provide one] for every unit as we want to offer a variety of lifestyles,” he says.

Designing for a post-pandemic lifestyle

Seah has been working on the design for Amber Sea for eight years now, and the current design has gone through multiple reiterations. But the main design for the development has not changed much: “It’s not a total revamp, because our starting point had always been very attuned to the needs [of the end-users],” says Seah. “When the pandemic hit, we were not that far off [in making changes to the design], because we were always very mindful that you need some flexible transitional spaces that you can change as you go along.”
Artist’s impression of the penthouse unit - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
Artist’s impression of the penthouse unit (Credit: Far East Organization)
One such change that Seah made was increasing the size of the two-bedroom units by expanding their width. “From a gross-floor-area efficiency standpoint, you would want to do a deep unit, and have your living area by the window,” he explains. But in this case, the team expanded on the width of the unit. With this layout, a homeowner could carve out space for a home office that allows the user to enjoy the natural light outside, he explains.
Due to Covid-19, Amber Sea now offers more of such layouts because of the increasing number of work-from-home arrangements for many employees.
Ultimately, “we also want [the spaces to be able to] evolve to suit your lifestyle over time”, notes Seah, pointing to the trend of ageing-in-place. He adds: “Even after we have finished [a project], we keep it on our radar, because we want to see how people use the spaces over time.”

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