Red Dot Traffic Museum
This interesting and obvious building burst on to our retinas’ late in 2005. Since then various people and collectives have found a home there and begun to give the place an atmosphere befitting its look. In this old traffic police building the ghost of austerity still haunts the upper floors and corridors.
It is staved off with graffiti decor, gaming design companies and architects wielding pieces of classic modern furniture. A plethora of creative companies can be found here, including people peddling consumer insights should you need some.
As we all know, those in lines of work such as these require inspiration as well as sustenance, caffeine and possibly a mojito or two. Red Dot provides a one stop shop for their tenants, and the rest of us, with plenty going on beyond the confines of a cubicle. We took a look around the building and checked out what’s on offer.
Perky morning espressos and late night lounging:
Pacific Coffee Company
Pacific Coffee Company #01-01
They do actually serve coffee; although plenty of frothy, sugar loaded weirdness pervades the menu. Another generic coffee shop experience awaits you, the variation being well situated al fresco seating and no kids with homework. Instead you may be lucky and pick up an architect over a carb free latte. Designer sized Mac’s offer free internet, and unlike other big boys in the coffee world wireless access is free too.
Starting with the positive, the wine is pretty good here and it has friendly enough service. There’s snack food to go with drinks or tuck in to some steak for a lunchtime treat. But you are going to have to put up with the decor. These guys jumped on the monochrome band wagon and then spied Victoriana, and made another leap. It’s a pretty cold result, lots of elements that could have worked but done together create only disharmony in the eye. Fortunately such things are subjective, it is frequented by many and you may love it.
A beautiful big glass bar would be the first thing to elicit you attention, if it wasn’t for the live soccer on the somewhat misplaced wide screen TV. In confusion about what it is, this semi slick operation pulls a crowd in the evenings and does the usual job of providing booze and seating. The only truly notable thing about it, unless you’re a soccer fan, is that the services is not very good. At least the sports entertainment will keep you occupied whilst the staff get round to serving you.
For many this is the best bet in terms of bars at Red Dot, it’s got some great music, great service and a one for one happy hour till 10pm. Where as the others establishments don’t quite hit the mark, the designers at Skin have bought it all together with far more aplomb. It’s got a dark sultry feel to it, with a fantastic feature made from what can only be described as huge crimson coloured pasta and spot lights.
There are secluded booths for seating, a lovely long bar to prop up and some outside lounging. There’s people actually hanging out here to, in a kind of relaxed with their mates type way – as opposed to the ‘can all the important doyens of taste and coolness see me here, can they!’ type way. Sporting a more youthful crowd then the grown up Boulevard Skin is great pre or post club spot, and it’s open till real late so no need to rush.
Bukang Tuna #01-06
For slightly more local food and a more relaxed dining experience check out this Japanese style Korean restaurant. A cheap alternative to it’s European neighbour it is a popular lunch haunt for tenants and other lunch breakers who’ve made the discovery.
La Papillion, #01-02
This classy French joint is in the middle of the complex, if is the most formal of the F&B on offer. They do a set lunch for $29, or you can pay a bit more to go at night. It’s all subtle light and white table clothes, nice for a bit of romancing or hard ball negotiations. On Mondays you can bring your own booze, or choose from the extensive in house selection.
International contemporary design and fun with paint:
Red Dot Design Museum
Red Dot Design Museum
The namesake of the entire place is the design award and the museum that’s housed here. Some internationally significant exhibits like the One Dot Zero film festival have been on display here. The regular exhibition, thought small, contains plenty of examples of international design. Come on a Sunday for free entry.
Once a month people who make stuff come together to try and flog it at the design museum. They also make a cute little magazine and call themselves MAAD. Currently on the first weekend of the month, it’s a flee market but with new creative stuff instead of dad’s old teapot collection. To ensure you see what’s worth seeing a whole bunch of masters of the creative and design scene have select the participants.
Red Art #03-04
Inspired by the MAAD people, perhaps you want to make something yourself. There are regular Art Jams at Red Dot where you can let out the Picasso in you. All you need do is sign up; materials are provided for you, along with encouragement and permission to do as you please.
La Vida Loft Yoga
La Vida Loft Yoga #04-02
In opposition to your corporate, homogenised and probably pasteurised yoga of the True kind, this small operation has integrity. Helping you discover a bit about your body and mind, La Vida offers a load of different classes. They set the times and the length with the busy careerist in mind, so you can actually fit some exercise into your schedule.
All of the above and some more can be found at Red Dot Traffic Building, 28 Maxwell Road, the nearest MRT is Tanjong Pagar. www.reddottraffic.com