GRiD Mall and Education Hub Selegie Arts District Singapore, Southeast Asian commercial architecture design

GRiD Mall and Education Hub in Selegie Arts District, Singapore

post updated 17 February 2024

Architect: SPARK

Location: Selegie Arts District, Singapore, South East Asia

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Selegie Arts District Singapore
photo © KhooGuoJie

Photos by StudioZeros and KhooGuoJie

2 August 2023

GRiD Mall and Education Hub, Singapore

Spark introduces GRiD, a youth focused mall and education hub at the heart of Singapore’s Selegie Arts District, sandwiched between the adjacent School of the Arts (SOTA) and several time-worn shopping malls. GRiD is the next chapter in this narrative and a great example of vibrant retrofitting of an existing building that extends its community relevance through positive reuse, rather than wholesale demolition and re-construction.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Selegie Arts District Singapore GRiD Mall and Education Hub Selegie Arts District Singapore
photos © KhooGuoJie

The metamorphosis of GRiD’s street-corner into a “beacon” and attractor, as well as housing an increased quantum of high revenue generating F+B units, is SPARK’s signature gesture and a cultural “nod” to the night-time luminosity of the local shophouses.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore South East Asia
photo © StudioZeros

A new ‘social stair’, a key component of the dynamic new corner is located opposite SOTA, driving footfall to “food joints” in the basement. The stair is a place to relax with friends, watch onscreen shows, or enjoy live performances by GRiD’s arts focused tenants.

The corner shops and social stair have become a vibrant digital generation friendly “instagrammer” canvas for content creators and experience seekers.

GRiD has been deliberately designed to stand apart. The energy of the exterior is carried into the interior spaces, redolent of a post-industrial aesthetic with neon lights and supersized utilitarian graphics.

Design description

GRiD sits at the heart of Singapore’s Arts District,sandwiched between SOTA (School of the Arts) and Park Lane and Peace Centre, two of Singapore’s older generation of shopping malls. GRiD is a great example of a positive transformation of a failing building into a socially focused youth retail and education hub for the community. The upgrading work is centred on the core purpose of increasing asset value through social interaction, increased accessibility, and the celebration of self and community.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore South East Asia
photograph © StudioZeros

GRiD Mall and Education Hub – Key elements

1. Transformation of the Building Image

The primary gesture is the transformation of the building’s corner, it’s key address, and threshold to the street. The reenvisioned corner becomes the building “beacon” and attractor, a vibrant digital generation friendly “instagrammer” canvas for content creators, and experience seekers.

The multilevel, high rent ‘flagship’ corner is the result of moving low rental value shops from deep parts of the building interior to the easily accessible and high visibility street corner. The low value shops were “voided” out to create visual and spatial connections from the ground floor into a double volume gymnasium in the basement.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore South East Asia
photo © StudioZeros

2. Programmatic mix to suit client objectives

An increased quantum of youth focused “food joints” are located at the transformed corner, replacing an unproductive 4-storey void. The new corner facilitates great Al fresco dining spaces with terraces that increase visibility to and from the building and, importantly, underpinning the notion of urban interaction.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore
photos © KhooGuoJie

Key facts on the leasable area increase:

Area at key corner threshold: 50%
Area along street front: 35%
Social Stair

A new ‘social stair’ is introduced adjacent to the School of the Arts (SOTA), an important part of the dynamic new corner and a place to relax with friends on benches watching shows onscreen, or live performances, in a naturally ventilated triple volume space. The stair volume provides more façades for the restaurants and creates a socially focused addition to the arts district urban grain.

The social staircase provides direct access to the basement, food street, and other “attractor” facilities like the ‘social washroom’, public study and work zones, vending machines, and lockers, all designed to transform utilitarian functions into social spaces.

Social Washroom

The impact of mobile gadgets and social media on everyday life inspired SPARK’s design of utilitarian space into positive places for chance meetings, gossip sessions, and image creation, while taking a break between shopping, education, or work. The social washroom’s bespoke post-industrial washbasin and WC cubicles are designed to be “photobooth” backdrops, with super graphics which prompt fun and unexpected spontaneous selfies.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Selegie Arts District Singapore GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore
photos © KhooGuoJie

Branding Design. GRiD

The new corner restaurants and interior of GRiD create a positive convergence of social spaces with multiple platforms for self-expression, located at a city junction which is in a constant flux of people flow vibrancy and energy. The building is graphically personalized with a slot machine style jackpot GRiD Logo, the letter “i” representing “self”.

The “GRiD” building and brand name was developed by the design team and has been integrated into the design of the facade, entrances, wayfinding, and interior design.

Setting the stage with graphic interior design and wayfinding

The post -industrial material palette embodying the spirit of grunge, freestyle expression, and arcade neon renders GRiD generationally different to its neutral neighbours, instead taking its colourful character from the vibrantly illuminated shophouses across the street.

The supersized road marking graphics and neon logos are a real life stage, setting a flux of people and activities supported by GRiD’s urban theme. The urban graphic theme guides users around the building, from street to basement and up through the escalator voids and lift lobbies to the restaurants, shops, and education campus located at the building’s upper levels.

Pop-up stores, remote-working / study zones, and social shared spaces encourage communal events, public interaction, and space sharing.
Floor graphics and ceiling patterns incorporate abstract and supersized versions of street directional signage and road markings. Ceiling directional signs guide visitors to key attractor social facilities and tenancy areas within GRiD. Graphic icons are designed for casual youthful insouciance and motion.

SPARK has transformed GRiD into a regenerated place to “be”. A learning campus, a workplace, and a place to socialize, shop, eat, and connect with the local arts community. It is an outwardly looking destination that is social, experiential, and an authentic “local” experience in an offbeat location.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub in Selegie Arts District, Singapore – Building Information

Design: SPARK –
Structural Engineer: ARUP
M&E Engineer: ARUP
Lighting Consultant: Brandston Partnership Inc
Builder: Gennal Industries
Graphics: Tripple
Branding, Logo Design & Marketing Collaterals Collaborator: TRIPPLE
Client: GAW Capital Partners, Manful Wings Pte Ltd


Spark sees possibilities and leverages them into vibrant, distinctive designs focused on contributing positively to people and cities. Spark transforms and regenerates spaces to celebrate context, inspire meaningful purpose, and create value.

Spark is a global team of designers and thinkers creating architecture, urbanism, interiors, landscapes, research, and branding.

Evoking the studio’s name, “SPARK”, they have built vibrant, distinctive designs by generating ideas, collaboration, communication, and energy borne out of possibilities.

Spark loves people, places, and all forms of culture, which serve as their open source of inspiration to purposefully transform and regenerate environments. Spark has designed at all scales, including handbags, pavilions, residential towers, mixed-use, waterfront destinations, civic buildings, and urban planning.

Spark’s award winning projects include Clarke Quay in Singapore, the Shanghai International Cruise Terminal, and the Starhill Gallery in Kuala Lumpur. Their Homefarm and BeachHut projects won the Future Experimental Category at the World Architecture Festival in 2015 and 2016. SPARK’s residential towers, Arte S and MK, won the German Design Council’s Iconic Awards for 2018 and 2021.

Place making / Urban regeneration
Spark’s work is focused on the “urban glue” that connects parts of the city together, the quality of the public domain, and its landscape where the human scale experience happens. They address the need to create public spaces that are convivial, where people enjoy being, as a critical approach to increasing dense city landscapes.

Spark endeavours to make retail projects social places that are sustainable, engaging, and fun; places that bring people together.

Residential / Hospitality
The studio’s objective is to enrich the ambition of its clients. Spark projects display a sensitivity to the well-being of individuals and their interaction with the built and natural environment.

Spark has a history of transforming places into experiences through the merging of the narrative of place, nature, and culture together to create extraordinary living and visitor experiences.

GRiD Mall and Education Hub Singapore
photos © KhooGuoJie

Photography: StudioZeros and KhooGuoJie

GRiD Mall and Education Hub, Singapore, South East Asia images / information received 020823 from Spark

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