To mark the launch of our Entertaining issue - out now - we are taking you on an interactive tour of three houses designed with hosting in mind. From this ambitious private home on Sentosa Island, to a rectilinear house in the UK, with open-plan spaces opening onto bucolic views, to a self-contained retreat on a remote Norwegian island, these houses have entertaining in their DNA.
Ever since people began building on it in 2003, Singapore's Sentosa Island has finally begun to justify its self-proclaimed title of 'Asia's favourite playground'. Indeed the number of ambitious residential projects on the island could certainly support a claim for Sentosa to be the architects' favourite playground. Case in point: Sentosa House by Nicholas Burns Associates, a resort within a resort and a playground writ large.
Briefing the architect with a need for open, interactive spaces and flexibility, the private client requested a structure that could easily adapt to a variety of occasions and one that would remain timeless within the fast developing locale. At first glance, the long balconies, abundant floor-to-ceiling glazing and slim, vertical cladding suggest a linear focus but it is the main core that dictates the space inside.
The spatial arrangement around the core allows for a large sitting room, kitchen and terrace on the second level, sandwiched by a set of three generous bedroom suites on the first floor and a master bedroom and living space at the top. Nicholas Burns and his team designed spaces that transcend 'function recognition', however, so the kitchen hides any hints of appliances and interior furnishings are warm and inviting, like a wine-tasting bar at a lush vineyard.
The main circulation stairwell with peek-a-boo risers sits at the heart of the layout, carrying visitors to the three levels, each visible from the last. The floors are divided into front and rear wings, creating intimate spaces to escape the open plan. The same can be said for the outdoor spaces, connected at each level by staircases and the steep slope of the land; they benefit from a visual exchange with the indoors, enabled by openings in the front façade and ceiling-height windows in back. If you lose a friend at a party here, it won't be long before you spot him descending the stone steps to the pool, or lounging on the second-floor balcony.
This attention to detail extends to the construction; all timber is reclaimed teak whilst extra care was taken to form the concrete slabs. The concrete is mainly untreated with the exception of a few surfaces that have been left with a slight sheen.