Ryokan-Inspired Apartment in Singapore That Plays With Light + Shadow

In the busy metropolis of Singapore, Intheory Design has created a Ryokan-inspired apartment that embraces the play between light and shadow. The idea behind the design is based on the quote “To light a candle is to cast a shadow,” which gives nod to the homeowner’s journey through self-exploration. The design philosophy transcends mere aesthetics, transforming the act of lighting a candle into a metaphorical act. The illuminated space helps evoke feelings of joy, success, and celebration as the family exists in the warm, tranquil environment. Intertwined with the light is the unavoidable shadows, reminding them of life’s challenges, learned lessons, and the necessity for self-reflection.

interior view of modern living room and dining room space with sofa and dining table looking towards wall of windows with shades down and two people sitting on the ledge

Intheory Design created a thoughtful lighting plan to co-exist with the natural light that enters through the large windows. The illumination within takes center stage, delivering an ambiance that embraces the principles of a Ryokan – a traditional Japanese-style inn known for its serene, minimalist design. Soft, diffused light delicately skims surfaces, highlighting the natural wood, stone, fabric, and colors curated throughout the home.

interior view of modern living room and dining room space with sofa and dining table looking towards wall of windows with shades down

closeup partial view of modern dining room interior looking towards shaded window

angled interior view of modern living room with tree planted on window ledge

Adding to the tranquility and uniqueness of the space, a planter with a single tree is built within the window’s ledge.

angled interior view of modern living room with tree planted on window ledge

angled interior view of modern living room with tree planted on window ledge with two seats and a table

The same wood-framed ledge is home to a quaint dining spot with two floor chairs and a low table. The homeowners can enjoy afternoon tea or a meal together without having to use the large dining table when it’s just the two of them.

partial view of legless chairs facing table on window ledge of living room

angled partial view into modern living room

interior view looking into modern galley kitchen

The long galley kitchen leans towards minimalism with flat-front, medium tone wood cabinets and warm, textured stone countertops and backsplashes.

angled partial view of modern kitchen with medium wood cabinets and neutral stone countertop

partial view of modern kitchen with medium wood cabinets and neutral stone countertop

side view of modern bedroom with medium wood built-in cabinet storage

The same wood is carried through to the primary bedroom with L-shaped, built-in cabinets for storage. A void in a cabinet creates a proper bedside table.

angled partial view of modern bedroom with built-in wood storage cabinets

view into dark modern bathroom with back-lit mirror

view into dark modern bathroom with back-lit mirror

Large fluted tile and a back-lit mirror in the bathroom create a dramatic play of light and shadow.

partial angled view of modern bathroom with vessel stone sink

partial view of modern bathroom

Photography courtesy of Intheory Design.

Caroline Williamson is Editor-in-Chief of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.

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