ORCHARD ROAD – New Buildings. Old Substance.


There have been many new developments in Singapore since I left in 2006 – (The Singapore Flyer, New IR Marina / Sentosa, New KYE Expressway, VivoCity, The New East Coast Lagoon, F1 Night Race, Airport Terminal 3, Roof-top Walk, Dempsy, new Cathay, HK Cafe etc) Of course, all of these sounded so "out-dated" now.

Meijie and Joanne have told me about the new "Orchard Road" (the new 313 Somerset, Ion etc) I was very eager to explore those new shopping attractions. Thanks to my good old poly friend, Mok Ching – she took some hours off on Wednesday afternoon and showed me around. (Yes, she is an excellent Tour Guide). We visited the new ION, 313 Somerset and Orchard Central. Of course, we walked past the new Mandarin Hotel and Centerpoint.

My verdict of the new Orchard Road? ION is clearly overhyped, boring and disappointing. Other than its fancy "organic" exteriors, there is nothing new inside. Just duplicate of top-end fashion brands. 313 Somerset is another let down. Small low entrance, tight shopping space and raw interiors. I wonder why are we building more new duplicates of the 90s? Shouldn’t we build new "world firsts" (I thought that was our forte?) Seriously, there is nothing new to attract and offer to our tourists.

The only new place which attracted and impressed me is Orchard Central. I like the long external "escalators". I love the roof-top garden dining concept. And I love the concept of blending arts & retail. This is modern living. I really hope to see more of such "new experience" in our new IR-developments. We do not need another duplicate of the past. But something new for the world to come and see.   

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