Last month we partnered with our friends at Figment, a company offering co-living en-suite studio rentals in heritage shophouses, to offer holiday-starved Singapore residents a free two-night Singapore staycation.
We received more than 3,500 entries and the lucky winner was chosen at random to enjoy two nights at Figment’s Alexandra House in Geylang, plus a walking tour of the area by Jane’s Singapore Tours!
“We knew that the combination of an extraordinary Figment house and a heritage tour with us would appeal, but we are simply delighted to see the level of interest this offer has generated,” says Jane Iyer, founder of Jane’s Singapore Tours.
All of Figment’s shophouses have been restored and prettied-up by top local designers in Singapore, like Farm, Ministry of Design, Scene Shang, Shu Min Low and Studio Juju. Each offers five or six en-suite studios along with a shared kitchen, dining area and living room. Weekly cleaning is included in the monthly rent. Flexible leases start as short term as 3 months on up to a year and longer.
The properties are in Geylang, Joo Chiat, Balestier, Jalan Besar, Tanjong Pagar and Orchard area, all areas explored on our Jane’s SG Tours walking tours.
We sat down with Founder Fang Wei Low to learn more about Figment and Singapore’s heritage properties.
JST: What makes living in one of your properties different than a living in a condo or even some other shophouse in Singapore?
Figment: Figment prides itself on its curated portfolio of shophouses. We are excited to share the unique character that comes with the storied history of each and every shophouse that we work with. We mainly select boutique designers with a distinctive personality and provide a shophouse as a blank canvas for them to work their magic. Carte Blanche, so to speak.
JST: What makes you passionate about Figment and heritage properties? Why does it matter?
Figment: I grew up in a Chinese-baroque shophouse in Tanjong Pagar. I think growing up in a shophouse showed me what it was like to be living in a neighborhood full of “kampong spirit.” My afternoons were spent playing badminton in the carpark, spying on famous celebrities who lived down the street, or holed up reading books in the independent bookstore on the corner of the block.
I felt much of that was lost in Singapore’s relentless march towards economic development, as more and more skyscrapers increasingly dotted our skylines over the years. Shophouse living is largely forgotten today, and locals view shophouses more as commercial properties for offices or retail shops even though the word “house” makes up part of “shophouse!”
I wanted to help bring back shophouse living, and the first step in establishing Figment was to take a risk and reimagine that very same shophouse I grew up in as a boutique home for co-living.
JST: Would you ever offer one of your properties as a hotel, as a Singapore staycation option? And for foreign visitors when travel opens up again?
Figment: We’re focused on the extended-stay market for the moment as we see few options for boutique living there. Of course, we are always on the lookout for properties with character and that possibility might include boutique hotels down the line!
Singapore Staycation Contest
Alexandra House, featured in the Shophouse Staycation Contest, is a striking 1920s heritage building in one of Singapore’s more intriguing parts of town, Geylang. Its exposed brick walls, atmospheric lighting and long shimmering lap pool tiled in deep blues and greens are the creation of the award-winning design studio Farm.
In parts elegant and raw, modern yet nostalgic, the house at Lorong 24A in colourful Geylang boasts five private en-suite guest studios, each with its own unique style, as well as inviting common areas.
Now, Figment doesn’t normally offer a Singapore staycation option, but it was a great way to introduce Figment’s special brand of heritage co-living to more people, while introducing Figment fans to Jane’s Singapore Tours—a pair of passionate heritage-focused businesses.
“We love working with Figment as they, like us, really appreciate the historic and architectural significance of Singapore’s characterful shophouses. It’s great to see how many people want the opportunity to live in one when they come to work in Singapore,” adds Jane.