5 Design Details That Make Caroline's Mansion A Dream Venue
To get to Caroline's Mansion, we ascend a short flight of marble steps and heave open its hefty three-metre-tall wooden doors. What greets us next, instantly takes our breath away.
Where we're standing is not the foyer of a manor but the entryway of a new venue at St Regis Singapore. Dubbed Caroline's Mansion, it's modelled after the home of Caroline Astor, the illustrious American high society doyenne and mother of John Jacob IV (the founder of the St Regis hotel chain).
Opened this January, Caroline's Mansion is located just steps away from the hotel's main lobby. Given its opulent look, it's hard to imagine that this same space was once an indoor tennis court. Under the masterful hands of Avalon Collective, the recreational space has been transformed into a new ballroom that's now a seamless part of the main building.
“Mirroring the high society events that used to take place at the home of Caroline Astor, Caroline's Mansion was designed as an exclusive venue with a residential feel to receive esteemed guests,” shares Cedric Jaccard, creative director of Avalon Collective. Together with lead designer Pola Bejasa and their team, the firm aimed to create a grand sense of arrival befitting the legendary soirees hosted by the matriarch.
First conceptualised in 2017, the entire project took seven months to complete once the renovation began in March last year. The venue comprises a ballroom, pre-event area and a foyer, measuring nearly 4,000sqft in size. Here’s a closer look at the elements that make up its immaculate design:
1/5Making an entrance
“My favourite design aspect of this project would be the grand welcome experience that the venue offers,” shares the creative director.
Flanked by bevelled glass panels, the double entryway of Caroline's Mansion certainly makes a memorable impression. Its geometric detail harks to the Art Deco influence of its interior and the arched doorway frames the voluminous foyer, which reaches up to nine metres in ceiling height.
To unite the main lobby and Caroline's Mansion, the firm created a sheltered link bridge on the second floor that connects the two spaces. A grand staircase and lift were added to connect the two levels; the stairway also serves as the focal point of the double volume space. Lined with ornate brass railings, it's easy to imagine a Cinderella-esque moment along these enchanting steps. Evidently, its designers think the same; located parallel to the staircase, there's a framed artwork featuring the the belle of the ball in a sumptuous gown.
Every detail has been considered to pay tribute to the architectural elements of the namesake abode, including the timber wood marquetry used for the flooring, the brass trimming that adds a graphic quality to the wall panels as well as the prismatic effect of the custom-made glass panels on the doors and walls, which were inspired by Caroline Astor’s jewellery collection. Another fun detail: the abstract pattern on the bespoke carpeting in this venue draws reference to her wardrobe of beautiful gowns.
4/5House of style
Full-length glass bevelled doors add to the expansiveness of the lobby and lead to the ballroom area, which can hold up to 180 guests in a banquet setting. Modelled after the living area of the Astor mansion, fabric panels and double-glazed glass panels improve the acoustics of the space. A faux fireplace is the centrepiece of the ballroom; hung above it is a David Hockney painting from the hotelier's private collection.
This space can be partitioned into three separate venues to cater to intimate events; remote-controlled skyfold partitions can be lowered to divide the space. Audiovisual equipment such as the five projection screens and two projectors (which can be concealed when not in use) can be remotely controlled via the iPads provided by the hotel.
To complement the custom-made furnishings, a set of lighting pieces were specially created and designed for the venue. These include wall sconces, the modern candelabra-inspired chandeliers and mouth-blown glass and crystal pendant lights that draw cues to the graphic arches on the portals and walls.
This stunning space was also recently the venue of the Tatler Design Awards 2019, held on February 20. View more photos of the space here.
- Photography Benny Loh