Forett at Bukit Timah: A visual feast at the sales gallery

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Yen Chong (right), deputy general manager of Qingjian Realty, receiving the award for Showflat Excellence at the EdgeProp Excellence Awards 2021 from Angela Lim, co-founder of SuMisura (Photo: Albert Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - Forett at Bukit Timah, nestled in the Toh Tuck area of District 21, was launched for sale on Aug 8, 2020, the eve of Singapore’s National Day. As the first major project launch following the two-month-long Covid-19 circuit breaker, it was naturally closely watched by property agents and other property developers.
That day, 190 units, or 30% of a total of 633 units, were sold at an average price of $1,880 psf. The sale was done via balloting that was livestreamed on Facebook. It was conducted at the sales gallery of Forett, with Singaporean actor Irene Ang (famous for her role as “Rosie Phua” in the long-running local sitcom Phua Chu Kang) as a host together with Qingjian Realty (South Pacific) Group deputy general manager Yen Chong. About 25,000 viewers tuned in that day.
The name “Forett” is a play on the French word “forêt” for forest and “tt” for Toh Tuck, according to Chong. The project is a redevelopment of the former Goodluck Garden, which Qingjian Realty and Perennial Holdings had jointly purchased en bloc for $610 million in 2018.
Forett sales gallery - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
One of the tunnelways from the green room with the landscape model to the island bar (Credit: SuMisura)
Right from the start, Chong wanted to create “a multi-sensory experience” at the 12,000 sq ft sales gallery. “We wanted people to walk through a tunnel where they could experience what it would be like to live in the Toh Tuck area, near Bukit Timah Nature Reserve,” she says. “And we wanted them to experience it not just visually, but through the scents and sounds too.”
From the tunnel, visitors emerge into a cavernous space of the sales gallery, where the scale model is. Another tunnelway leads to another open space where the landscape model is, showing the different garden themes, which are based on the three seasons: spring, summer and autumn.
“When we were designing the sales gallery, we were already thinking about the look and feel of the different pockets of space, the instagrammable corners and the bigger area when visitors emerge from the sensory walk,” says Angela Lim, co-founder of interior design firm SuMisura, who had designed the sales gallery and the showflat of the two-bedroom loft, one of three showflats within the gallery.
The pièce de resistance of the sales gallery is still the island bar - EDGEPROP SINGAPORE
The pièce de resistance of the sales gallery is still the island bar, although it has been scaled down due to Covid safe management measures (Photo: Qingjian Realty)
The instagrammable corners ended up being sealed off to prevent people from mingling. “I had up to 15 security guards at the Forett sales gallery — I never deployed so many security guards before,” relates Qingjian’s Chong. “We had to have security guards stationed outside each show flat and other spaces to make sure people didn’t mingle, and to make sure that they kept within the viewing time slot of six minutes for each showflat. This allowed us to move people through the sales gallery smoothly.”
The pièce de resistance of the sales gallery was supposed to be the island bar, where people could enjoy specialty coffee and drinks. But with Covid, safe management measures meant food and beverages could not be consumed within the sales gallery. “I’m just comforted that it still serves its purpose, although the original intent was more ambitious,” says SuMisura’s Lim.
To make the space more inviting, the discussion areas are dispersed in various pocket spaces to create a café-style setting rather than a cafeteria, she adds. “We wanted people to be excited when they moved from one place to the next. And we wanted it to be a visual feast.”
The two-bedroom loft unit designed by SuMIsura (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
The months in the lead-up to the opening of Forett’s sales gallery however, were a roller-coaster ride for Lim. The sales gallery was still a carcass with ceiling and lights missing, and the flooring was not finished when she took over the space after the reopening, she relates. The main contractor could not finish the job as the workers were still not allowed to return to work due to an outbreak in the workers’ dormitories last year.
Hence, Lim took over the completion of the main contractor’s work. “As interior designers, we are at the end of the food chain,” she says. “We needed the main contractor’s part of the job to be completed. We can’t open a sales gallery that’s just 90% finished.”
Ultimately, the sales gallery was completed, and it was close to what Lim had envisioned. The sales gallery ended up being well-utilised — for both physical visits and as a backdrop for webinars starring agents, lawyers, bankers or fengshui masters.
One of the bedrooms of the two-bedroom loft (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
To date, over 500 units at Forett have been sold, translating to a take-up rate of 80%. Average selling price of units have also edged up to $2,051 psf since August.
Another feather on the cap for Forett is that it has picked up the Showflat Excellence Award at the EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards 2021.
As Angela Lim, co-founder of SuMisura, is part of the judging panel at the EdgeProp Singapore Excellence Awards 2021, she abstained from scoring for Forett at Bukit Timah
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