Orchard Road in Singapore is normally associated more with shopping than with art – so grab some comfy shoes and a bottle of water and I’ll show you something a little different. This won’t be a long walk as the heat and humidity combined make outdoor activity far more strenuous than normal, but it will be entertaining.
Starting at the western end of Orchard, where it meets Tanglin, we head east as far as the first major junction , where several modern shopping malls cluster around the crossroads. On the south west corner stands the pointed glass tower of the Wheelock Centre, but we are heading for the striking Ion Mall on the opposite corner. Supposedly shaped like an upside down flower, with its stem pointing skywards, its sinuous design stands out even in this city of high rise glass of metal.
Outside the mall are two interesting sculptures. The first one you’ll spy is Doggy 240, a multi-coloured French bulldog, made of painted bronze by the French painter and sculptor Julien Marinetti in 2014.
Close to this, set back slightly from the main road is an older bronze sculpture, one that takes us back to the Orchard Road of the mid-1800s, when it led to nutmeg, pepper and fruit orchards.
This giant bronze nutmeg, weighing 2 tonnes, is by Kumari Nuhappan. It is a great celebration of this prized spice, unusual for providing two flavours from one fruit – nutmeg from the seed and mace from the red lacy seed covering.
Now we go back to the main road and walk along the front of the Ion Mall to take a look at the shiny, bright Urban People.
This aluminium crowd is the work of Kurt Laurenz Metzler, a Swiss sculptor, whose aim here was to capture everyday urban life, ion-style.
Next we will walk a short way along this south side of Orchard, taking time to admire the etched glass panels along the roadside that recall some of the plants and buildings that used to line this street.
The panel above depicts the old cast iron Koek Market, a covered market dating back to 1891.
This is not an easy road to cross, so we’ll go to the junction with Orchard Link and cross over to the Paragon Mall, to enjoy Sun Yu-li’s leaping and dancing sculptures.
Now we’ll pop across Bideford Road to the Knightsbridge mall, where the yellow, wavy water feature might just make us feel a little cooler.
At this point, it’s time for a bit of retail therapy – not because I want to shop, but I really need to feel their air-conditioning. We’ve only walked about a kilometre, but it feels like five!
I’ll see you back here next week when I’ll take you off Orchard Road, to an area with a very different look and feel.