Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DUO Residences—Double the Harmonious Beauty

I felt very honoured to be invited as a feng shui consultant for DUO Residences, a S$ 3 billion mixed development in the Bugis precinct that combines prime residences, Grade A offices, a five-star hotel and 80,000 square feet of retail spaces.

This was no ordinary challenge as DUO is situated in between a rock and a hard place—Parkview Square and the Gateway respectively. These two local properties are well-known more for their feng shui ramifications than their aesthetic appeal. The average person’s understanding of feng shui is that buildings should be constructed in a harmonious way, and that sharp edges directed at your property are heavily frowned upon. How then can I work with DUO’s developer, M+S Pte Ltd (the joint venture company formed by Temasek Holdings and Khazanah Nasional) and the world-renowned architect, Bruno Ole Schereen, on constructing harmony in spite of the gigantic Parkview Square restricting qi flow, and the two massive, sharp edges in the East and West wings of the Gateway? Once we overcome these, we can truly maximise DUO’s prime location and connectivity.
DUO Residences
Image© Buro Ole Scheeren

Before going into the details, I must first say that I’m very impressed and satisfied with Ole Schereen’s interpretation of the task—he designed two stunning beauties which go beyond being merely iconic embellishments of Singapore’s skyline, more importantly, their circular open spaces create harmony, bringing balance to the Ophir-Rochor area and peace to the people living and working there.
When faced with two imposing structures, many may think of creating something that is even more striking, to overpower the existing Gateway and Parkview Square. But that is really not how feng shui should be practiced. Harmony is the key to peace and a sinuous energy flow. So what we need to do is overcome the immense pressure and excessive qi tunnelled by Gateway’s two sharp edges. We want to rechannel this qi, but yet retain some of the qi to be circulated through the development.
qi flows
Image© Buro Ole Scheeren
It’s great that Schereen focused on creating spaces instead of creating masses. His touch of genius was creating circular open spaces that give the entire development the ability to “breathe”. On its own, qi cannot be seen as good or bad, it is the balance and organization of qi that is important. Too much qi makes occupants nervous and stressful, but a lack of it would make the entire development feel listless.
circular open spaces
Image© Buro Ole Scheeren
Breaking free of the rock and the hard place through the concept of harmony and balance is like two people practicing tai ji. The overarching idea is to create and maintain a balance, by connecting the minds and bodies of these two individuals. The same goes for buildings, reduce the imposing feel if it’s overpowering, and add some commanding presence if it is lacking in the area. Schereen agrees, though he feels that the construction is more akin to two people dancing. He says Singapore is increasingly dominated by isolated concrete towers, leaving us more socially excluded than connected, an irony given that Singapore is ranked as one of Asia’s most livable cities! Whether it’s practicing tai ji or dancing, the idea is to move in sync and in harmony.
tai ji - the concept of harmony and balance
Image© Buro Ole Scheeren
That DUO can break free and emerge from in between the rock and the hard place signifies much more. Part of a land parcel exchange agreement signed in 2010 between Prime Minister Lee of Singapore and Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia, DUO was quickly alluded to as the exemplar for future collaborations between the two countries. This joint venture is symbolic of how both countries can work together for the benefit of future generations, thawing the frosty relationship over the last five decades. Besides DUO, Marina One and other projects in Iskandar (Malaysia) will likely bring the two countries ever closer. We can do our part to boost this process by consciously creating harmony and balance in these developments!


  1. Great thanks for such a nice information on duo residences in Bugis and also would like to share the http://www.developernewlaunch.com.sg/duo-residences/ i heard the floorplan & siteplan nice construction you should go it once.

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