New and improved museums are coming up in Singapore and they are ready to support corporate event planners. By Paige Lee Pei Qi
Singapore‚Äôs flourishing creative scene has led to a mushrooming of new and improved homes for the arts, giving business event planners a more beautiful unique venues to choose from.
The most prominent development is the National Gallery Singapore which will open this November. Occupying the former Supreme Court and City Hall, buildings that are steeped in history, the National Gallery Singapore will house 19th– and 20th-century art pieces from Singapore and South-east Asia. Facilities include an auditorium, a performance venue, a children‚Äôs gallery and caf√©s.
It will also offer two memorable event spaces for corporate gatherings, one of them being a rooftop plaza with majestic views of the Padang and Marina Bay Sands. The other space can accommodate a 300-pax standing reception.
Opening also this year is the Singapore branch of the famous Pinacotheque de Paris museum. Slated to welcome visitors in May, the 5,500m2 attraction will have spaces for private hire. Event organisers can also work with Pinacotheque de Paris to come up with customised tours of exhibitions and unique entertainment opportunities.
Pinacotheque de Paris is positioned as a premier venue of cultural activities and educational events, and will feature retail and F&B outlets.
While the National Gallery Singapore and Pinacotheque de Paris continue their construction in earnest, event planners seeking unique art inspired venues can already take their events to the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall. The grand dame of Singapore‚Äôs performing arts scene and a beloved national monument opened in July 2014 following a S$158 million (US$127.1 million) refurbishment.
First launched in 1862, the refreshed Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall now offers new public spaces, changing rooms, a loading bay and a central atrium as an additional area for activities.
Since last July, the venue has played host to several events including the Singapore International Festival of Arts.
According to Linda Low, relationship manager at Pacific World, a global event specialist, corporate clients are always looking for such heritage venues for their events.
Low said: ‚ÄúMuseums make a coveted venue for most corporate events. The intimate setting of museums inspires creativity in (event programme) and use of spaces as compared to conventional ballrooms.
‚ÄúFurthermore, with exhibits forming the backdrop, museums set a unique mood for every event.‚ÄĚ
Low expects interest to start streaming in for these new venues.
The existing Peranakan Museum on Armenian Street is well sought after by corporates, according to Low who has previously held a few events there. The museum, which displays a comprehensive collection of culture across nine galleries, offers event planners the Ixora Room which can host up to 50 guests. A private tour of the museum is available upon request.
However, Low warned that it would cost more to take an event to a museum.
She said: ‚ÄúSuch venues usually incur higher costs as third party contractors are required for things such as set-up and audiovisual production.‚ÄĚ
Sharing similar sentiments, Aonia managing director, Daniel Chua, said: ‚ÄúThe key issues in such venues are the lack of professional staff and F&B facilities (that are) available in a hotel.‚ÄĚ
Judy Lum, group vice president sales and marketing, Tour East Singapore, also warned that great care must be taken when the event is held in a space where a renowned collection is on open display.
‚ÄúYet at the same time, it is these priceless exhibits that excite the clients to have the event held at the museum,‚ÄĚ she remarked.
Chua recommended that museums be used for ‚Äúspecial corporate events‚ÄĚ such as those that entertainment business partners or product launches.
For artistic attractions that occupy conserved heritage sites, their beautiful architecture can lend a touch of elegance to events held there. When the Singapore International Festival of Arts opened at the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall in August last year, decorations for the gala event were intentionally kept to a bare minimum to bring focus to the colonial architecture.
Ideas –¬†Explore Kampung Glam on foot
Now that business is done, it is time for some fun. Start your extension in Singapore with a little history and culture lesson at Sultan Mosque, the oldest mosque in Singapore, built in 1820. Take time to appreciate its exterior before entering (for free) to admire its impressive Indo-Gothic style architecture. Be sure to check out the grand prayer hall where guides are on stand-by to dish out a detailed history of the mosque.
After a tour of Sultan Mosque, backtrack to its visitors‚Äô entrance. You will be faced with a pedestrian street lined with two rows of colourful shophouses. This is Bussorah Street, a popular tourist destination in the heart of Kampong Glam.
Strolling down Bussorah Street, you will arrive on Baghdad Street. Turn right, walk on and you will find two traditional caneware shops: Gim Joo Trading on your left and Rishi Handicrafts at the corner of Baghdad Street and Arab Street on your right. Take time to stock up on souvenirs.
From Rishi Handicrafts, you have already arrived on Arab Street. You can spend hours shopping at the numerous textile, carpet, fragrance, and Islamic religious stores found here. Be sure to walk along Aik Bee Textile Co., the only store left on Arab Street that has retained its original setting. Cafe L√© Caire @ Al Majlis is a good place to recharge on Middle Eastern cuisine and rest those tired feet.
As you walk down North Bridge Road, you will arrive at a small back alley on your left. This is Haji Lane, where you will find a mixture of original, locally designed products and unique vintage pieces retailed in home-grown fashion and lifestyle boutiques.
The shophouses along Haji Lane and Bali Lane are painted with interesting arty designs and graffiti, which are uncommon in Singapore.
Conclude your walking tour with dinner, drinks and live music at the popular Blu Jaz Caf√©.
Itinerary provided by Guidegecko.com
Need to Know
Splashing good time
The ever-popular musical Singin‚Äô In The Rain, a production from London‚Äôs West End, will open from July 9 until July 26 at the MasterCard Theatres, Marina Bay Sands.
The high-energy choreography and sumptuous set design ‚Äď including 12,000 litres of water ‚Äď promise to entertain and charm the audience, along with songs from the MGM score, including Good Morning, Make ‚Äėem Laugh, Moses Supposes and the classic Singin‚Äô in the Rain.
A word of warning: there is a high chance of a shower spray over the first four rows of the stalls, so go for these seats if you are game enough!
Tickets are on sale from S$65.
Dinosaurs in Singapore?
Why, yes, at the new 8,500m2 Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum, which swung open its doors in April.
Home to over a million plant and animal specimens, the museum‚Äôs highlights include Prince, Apollonia and Twinky, three 150-million-year-old diplodocid sauropod dinosaur skeletons.
Tickets are priced at S$20 (A$15) for adults and S$12 for children and the elderly.
Visit lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg for more information.
Stay and meet in Singapore‚Äôs up and coming west
The fast developing Jurong Lake District welcomed its first major hotel last month with the opening of Resorts World Sentosa‚Äôs Genting Hotel Jurong. The 557-room hotel is a 15-minute drive from Tuas Checkpoint, which connects Singapore to Johor Bahru in Malaysia, and a 40-minute drive from Singapore Changi Airport.
Its range of MICE facilities include the pillarless 427m2 Genting Ballroom which comes with a high ceiling and ample natural light, and seats up to 300 guests. Five meeting rooms at the hotel offer natural daylight and flexible layouts, while the rooftop sky lounge with an adjoining lawn is suitable for more intimate events.
Top entertainment option
Located at the 43rd storey of Ocean Financial Centre ‚Äď 240m above the ground and on the topmost floor, Italian restaurant Zafferano makes a memorable venue for corporate gatherings. It specialises in modernised classic Italian dishes and stocks an extensive range of wines by the glass.
Zafferano can be hired entirely for exclusive events with up to 150 guests. For smaller coctail parties, the open-air rooftop terrace is a delightful venue as it affords guests panaromic views of the island.
Email email@example.com for enquires.
This way on a Segway
Singapore‚Äôs beautiful Marina Bay waterfront can now be enjoyed atop a Segway.
Starting from the Marina Bay City Gallery, the two-hour tour takes visitors around sights like the Marina Bay Promontory, the Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience Museum.
Prices from S$68 for the activity, which runs from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10.00 to 19.00.
Visit www.segwaytours.com.sg/tours/marina-bay-signature for more details.
Wine and dine at La Terrace
Treat your delegates to an expansive sunset sea view, set against the silhouette of yachts moored at the Marina, while sipping wine and cocktails at the new La Terrace by Saint Pierre at Sentosa Cove.
Freshly opened in April, this 100-seater French restaurant offers an exquisite menu which includes oysters, caviar, scallop sashimi and its house speciality home made foie gras. Corpoate dining events can be arranged for up to 50 guests in the private room. Complimentary corkage services are available as well on Sundays and Monday nights from 5.30pm. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations.