Co-living operator Figment is offering its residents the chance to enjoy a piece of Singaporean history and local flavour by creating co-living spaces inside beautiful heritage shophouses. “We want people who are living in Singapore even for a short time to develop a sense of the place,” explains Figment’s founder and CEO, Fang Low. “So, we try to get the basics down and make it flexible and convenient. But we also want to provide something more than that.”
“We really think Singapore shophouses are an inspiring part of our architectural heritage,” says Fang. “While we do co-living, we also see our homes as cultural venues; these are places where we can hold art exhibitions, pop-up boutiques, artist talks, book clubs and so on. By making use of our spaces this way, we hope to champion local businesses. At the same time, Figment members can develop a connection to their surroundings and the people they meet. This is what we really want to do.”
Similar to co-working, co-living (short for “communal living”) is becoming the norm for accommodation in major cities around the world. The spaces provide a home for a diverse range of professionals. Plus, they often incorporate the kind of amenities you would expect from a five-star resort or boutique hotel. They’re flexible, but more homely and community-focused than hotels or serviced apartments.
Luckily for Figment, Singapore’s vibrant renovated shophouses make for the perfect Instagram backdrop. One of our favourites is Still House, a conservation shophouse redesigned in collaboration with Studio Juju. Located on Singapore’s most colourful street, Koon Seng Road in Joo Chiat, the pastel pink terrace house plays with shape and form. Studio Juju worked with rounded edges, a muted colour scheme and natural materials to create a pleasant and welcoming abode that’s gentle on the senses. Accents of colour are added on doors and in the choice of wall art; the latter includes pieces by Wu Yanrong and Enzo Mari. It’s a truly “Instagrammable” home.
Whether you’re travelling the world as a digital nomad, you’ve just started a new remote work gig, or you have an unpredictable future, co-living could be the perfect solution to your housing needs. Here are a few reasons why.
You can look forward to bonding over the breakfast table, having a glass of wine at night or engaging in some banter after a long day in front of a laptop. Nearly all co-living spaces also offer at-home activities to help you get to know your new housemates and the wider community. For instance, Figment has previously hosted private dinners and is looking at introducing a cocktail mixology class and a monthly book club that spotlights local books.
Something that really sets Figment apart from other co-living operators is its passion for building a community and connecting members to local businesses, especially those in the arts and design scene. “If someone’s visiting Singapore for the first time, we hope they can immediately discover the inspiring creatives based here,” says Fang. “One way we hope to do this is with our Welcome Kit. We partnered with three inspiring makers to create a Figment-exclusive range of everyday essentials. It includes a Pocket Guide we put together in collaboration with Foreign Policy Design Group that highlights our favourite bars, cafes and the interesting makers and creators who are our partners. We’ve also included coffee pods from PPP Coffee, traditional tea leaves by Pek Sin Choon, chocolate from Fossa Chocolate and a handcrafted mug by Ivan Lee from Weekend Worker.”
All of which means you can be as social as you want, or keep to yourself; at least you have the option.
At Figment, everything is in place for you when you move in. From furniture to the all-important Wi-Fi, it’s all taken care of, so you don’t waste time sorting out your electricity provider or waiting to get broadband hooked up. The all-inclusive suites even offer weekly cleaning, prompt maintenance, laundry services and a friendly concierge who is more than happy to provide tips on where to go and things to do in Singapore.
There are people of all ages and from all walks of life in co-living spaces, but most who co-live have a few things in common. They often enjoy travel and adventure and are creative self-starters or entrepreneurs.
Shruti Swarup is an entrepreneur in the education industry. She lives in Figment’s Eden House in the Lorong 24A Shophouse Series (a boutique development involving a row of 1920s shophouses in Geylang). Shruti likes to spend her weekends trying out new places to eat and immersing herself in Singapore’s culture. “You can find a mix of everything that defines Singaporeans here. There’s local food, tiny pockets of cultural establishments, art galleries and an amalgamation of various nationalities all peacefully living together.”
Design director Colin Bell lives in Figment’s Monochrome House on Petain Road, located at the cusp of Little India and Jalan Besar. He relishes the diverse range of ages, abilities and nationalities that call the neighbourhood home. “When you walk out the door, there are three different directions and three different experiences. Straight ahead is the buzz of Little India. To the left is the hipster area of Jalan Besar. And to the right is the relatively quiet and residential streets of Farrer Park.”
Being able to change or leave a living situation without worrying about a long-term contract is another co-living advantage. Figment’s minimum stay is three months. So it’s perfect for people transitioning into Singapore or looking for a place to stay before moving in permanently. Even people on working holiday visas who’ll only be here a year or two can benefit.
If you’re looking for something in between having your own apartment and staying in a hotel, while still enjoying a unique slice of Singapore’s historical, architectural and cultural heritage, Figment’s co-living suites could be the answer.