Merci Marcel Orchard

Merci Marcel Orchard was designed by HUI DESIGNS to be a contemporary and whimsical Paris-style café and bar with a nod to the tropics.

  • area / size 2,377 sqft
  • Year 2019
  • Location Singapore,
  • Type Restaurant,
  • Having successfully launched the popular Merci Marcel F&B outlets on Club Street and in Tiong Bahru, the client was ready to launch its flagship café, bar and multi-brand store in Palais Renaissance, a destination mall with unique brands. The client acquired the space previously occupied by a European luxury watchmaker for Merci Marcel Orchard Road, totalling 2377 sqf with a premium 10-metre frontage with a view of the shopping district.

    The Façade and Patio
    With a street view from its space on level one, the client and I agreed that we needed to include a corner dining patio to the design – one that opens to Orchard Road on one side and offers a side view of the Royal Thai Embassy.

    This required that we hack the building’s external walls. I designed sweeping arches of metal framed windows, walls and doors as a nod to a style popular with bungalows in 1950s Singapore and reminiscent of Bauhaus architecture. This immediately raised the visibility of Merci Marcel Orchard Road and connected the shopping district with the new flagship outlet.

    The Café and Bar
    The client requested for a foyer at the entrance to create a sense of arrival before customers enter the café and bar. It also functions as a side entrance to the multi-brand store carrying predominantly French products.

    I designed a welcoming and intimate space with touches of South of France and Morocco. A vintage velvet sofa from Paris invites waiting customers to sit and take in the vaulted ceiling and walls finished in basil green plaster rendering before they are led to their seats.

    As customers step into the main space, they will immediately see the island bar, their arrival heightened by the overhanging illuminated brass shelves filled with rows of premium spirits and liqueurs and indoor plants cascading from different levels.

    Fluted solid ash wood strips line the fascia of the bar counter, a detail taken from Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru, the group’s first bar in Singapore.

    Like all other Merci Marcel locations, palm trees, fronds and various types of indoor plants frame the space, softening the mix of rough plaster rendered walls and exposed painted brick walls. The palm theme is seen in the large wall mural painted by French artist Tiphaine Sartini, complementing the quirky art pieces and soft furnishings sourced by the client, Marie-Charlotte.

    Customers will also quickly notice what the client joyfully calls the Rosé Wall near the entrance window. This feature wall of shelves is wrapped in strips made from rattan, a distinctive feature in Merci Marcel outlets. At the client’s request, each shelf has been lined with low-voltage flame bulbs that will cast a soft, gentle glow to bottles of French Rosé on display.

    The Style
    The style is a contemporary interpretation of “France In The Tropics” with an eclectic mix of mid-century modern and vintage furniture pieces from Europe juxtaposed with 1950s Singapore design and the use of rattan, which was common in warmer climes.

    Design: HUI DESIGNS
    Photography: courtesy of HUI DESIGNS