Private members club 1880 officially opened doors at The Quayside earlier this month. Growing up in Canada, founder Marc Nicholson was inspired by how his parents would actively encourage debate on all issues. Nothing was off the table - not politics, religion, nor ethics. They even hosted weekly dialogues at their home, where they invited a curated list of people to share their views. A meeting of minds and opportunities for networking, the club counts co-founder of social enterprise CRIB Dr Elaine Kim and women's organisation AWARE board member Jean Low among its pioneer members. Here's a glimpse of what it has to offer:
8.00 A.M.: Rejuvenate your body with Hasiko Flow
Enamoured (or perhaps infatuated) with the idea of working out in the morning, I rolled out of bed to catch a Hasiko Flow class, a mind body workout that marries pilates, yoga, and high intensity strength movements. Starting at 8am, the 60-minute sequence is divided into 20 minutes of high intensity strength training, deep dynamic stretching, and guided body scan meditation. I have to admit, it felt pretty refreshing to start the day on a calmer note, instead of jumping straight into sitting behind my office desktop. As a complete newbie, I appreciated how the small enough size of the multi-purpose room meant that the instructor could swiftly correct my form as we went through the poses and movements. Unfortunately for everyone else, the close space also meant that they had to listen to my bones cracking in the A.M.
9.00 A.M.: Sneak a peek at the spa
Housed in Mei, the wellness corner with the unisex showers and changing rooms (Ashley and Co toiletries equipped of course), were manicure and pedicure stations as well as grooming facilities for haircuts and shaves. Imagine pampering yourself after a gruelling day with a massage or squeezing in a mani pedi in between meetings. Sign me up, please!
2.00 P.M.: Hustle at Bardo
A playground for the modern woman, 1880 is basically a place for women to work and play in – where we can go straight from a meeting at the club’s co-working space, to the bar, a yoga class, or a massage at the spa. The intent is to seamlessly integrate work and life. “Isn’t work-life balance an outdated concept? People’s lives involve writing that proposal, meeting a client, connecting with a friend, working out, and yeah - having a good drink and getting out on the dance floor. And you can do those things at 1880 at any time,” says CEO Luke Jones.
At the shared office space, you can either hot desk or fix yourself up a permanent space. All you really need is a laptop. Like any traditional office, facilities include printing, courier and mailbox services, private storage, and even a helpful receptionist who can answer all your queries (and not roll eyes at basic ones like 'how does the printer work?').
Most charming yet were the two sound-proof phone booths, clad in spitfire aluminium and upholstered in Chinese silk. Both pictured below because words don't do these space pod lookalikes justice.
Feeling an afternoon slump come on, I wandered into the pantry to make myself a cup of coffee. Fancy something a little more artisanal? Place your order at The Double (aptly named considering its seamless transition from cafe by day to bar by night). You could also grab a bite from their sandwich and salad selection.
Bardo's a cosy enclave to get work done but if you're looking for a change of scene, scattered across the club are pockets where you can brainstorm ideas, discuss reports, or strike up a chat with someone new. What I'm talking about are the communal tables at The Double and the balcony.
4.00 P.M.: Snag a breather in The Recovery Room
Designed by Timothy Oulton Studio (prior to diving into interior design, the British founder and creative director made a name for himself in furniture design and antique entrepreneurship), 1880's sprinkled with nifty features. I mean, the escalator that runs up to the entrance alone is dubbed The Kaleidoscope, thanks to the sparkly glass panels overhead, while the reception table is a 1,500kg crystal that was unearthed in Madagascar. One of three in the world, the other two pieces belong to Robert Downey Jr. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Along the corridor is a hidden door that blends into the walls. Behind it: The Recovery Room. Exploring every nook and cranny of the 22,000 sq ft club is Hogwarts-esque, the grounds playful with a hint of mystery. In here is the Cloud, a snug leather sofa that Goldilocks would have no trouble falling asleep in, and the Cabinet of Honesty, a booze bar. If you need any other indication that this is the tranquil place to be for recuperation, the door on the other end of it leads to the spa room.
8.00P.M.: Socialise after hours
Granted working solo in a co-working space required a great deal more discipline but once I checked off my to-do list, I figured that I deserved to shimmy down the hallway to the members' lounge. Timothy Oulton and his team wanted the design to mirror how Singapore is a melting pot of cultures and 1880 is a space where people from different background can come together. Sure enough, it shows.
"In the members' lounge, you've got this juxtaposition of different elements: Asian motifs (the brick wall is a phoenix tail relief pattern made from reclaimed Chinese bricks), vintage English teapots lining the bar, and then these epic structural columns wrapped in a Bengal Tiger carved carpet, which was originally inspired by Indian Henna patterns. The whole design is built on the concept of collisions," he explains. Plus they serve as great talking points for you to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
An annual membership fee would cost $600 (for overseas residents), $2,000 (for Singapore-based applicants) and $1,000 (for Singapore-based applicants under 30) a year, not including a joining fee. 1880's joining fee for members residing in Singapore is S$7,000 from 2 Dec.