📖 HDB Homes of Singapore

September 15, 2020

HDB Homes of Singapore by keyakismos + Tomohisa Miyauchi

This is a beautiful photobook project documenting the interior of 100 HDB homes, each with plenty of stories and character. Japanese couple Eitaro Ogawa and Tamae Iwasaki, who are Permanent Residents, teamed up with NUS Architect senior lecturer Mr Tomohisa Miyauchi to create this book. Over three years, they photographed homes of friends and strangers, as a way to celebrate how people live in Singapore.

As someone who enjoy looking at people's houses, both the interior and exterior, I thought this book might be up my alley. 

However, I've been putting off reading the book because it is extremely hefty - super thick at ~7.5 cm and weighing 5kg! Hard to read comfortably at the library and difficult to lug it home too.


Luckily, this time I had my boyfriend to help me haul it home from the library.  Let us begin!

The book starts with some beautiful artwork of HDB homes. Here's one I particularly enjoyed. I love the stains and the litter in this scene, so gritty and real.


This is the home that started it all! What a peaceful and poetic looking home. 


Some homes have intriguing designs in both layout and furniture choice.



Home of a gallery owner. I love the funky chairs!




Check out this cool chair. I wanna sit on it!




Someone carved themselves extra living space once they stepped out of the lift.


Homes of artists.




A landed HDB? Never heard of this!



This owner designed his own window grilles to deter thieves that try to open the door from the window.




Toy collections are popular in Singapore! This home looks like a shop.






Everyday scenes. I chuckled at the exam paper.


A watercolour painting of HDBs on the bedroom wall.


Cute house teapots!


Food magnets on the cooking hood? Cute!


Love how they used the big pipe as a focus point with plants!


Bright cheery home.



Instructions on the wall.


Some owners are really creative. Using windows as shelves! Ha!


Alice in wonderland kitchen.



Vintage styles!




Nature runs wild in these homes. 


Can you spot Mr LKY?




Cowboy home!




These were some of my favourites! Hope you enjoyed them :)

The project is literally being weighed down by the size and heaviness of the book. It's a tome that is hard to handle, but I guess "50 HDB Homes" is just not as catchy as "100 HDB Homes".

I love the idea behind it though, and I'm glad that the project had come to fruition. I guess you get to view Singapore in a more romanticised way, through a foreigner's perspective. What is everyday and mundane to us can be very endearing through the lens when presented in such a format. Makes you appreciate what we have.

The authors of this book also mentioned that they loved how HDB flats looked so uniform on the outside, but vary so greatly inside. It certainly gave me some food for thought of how we claim and make spaces as our own. It's heartening how people put in so much effort into their homes. Every detail reflects their personalities and lifestyles. There's truly more than 101 ways to live your life.

One other takeaway from this book is that you never truly know the inner lives of others. This book provides some clues by showing us how people live and what they choose to surround themselves with.

I took a photograph of my own room to capture as it is in this moment! I think I will enjoy looking back at it in a few years. 

Till next time! 
Skye

P.S. If you like photobooks about Singapore, do check out Pasar, about wet markets, too.

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