The Proof FlatWill Speros • July 5, 2017
Luxury spirits brand Proof & Company has plotted the address of its fictitious patriarch, E.C. Proof, along Hong Kong Street in Singapore. Referred to as the Proof Flat, local architecture and design practice Hassell, conceived the novel retail concept as an upscale home within a former shop house from the 1940s.
“The apartment was imagined as a place where E.C. Proof would host friends and together they would relax with bartenders and distillers,” explains Hassell principal Matthew Shang of the swanky liquor library. “The customer needed to feel like they were being welcomed into someone’s home—the home of a connoisseur of all the finer things of life.”
Major elements of the original space were restored including the front door, which was embellished with an intricate doorbell and handcrafted handle imported from London. Steel windows with wide-blade venetian blinds act as a reminder of the early 20th century, while original concrete floors were enhanced with parquet and stone patterns etched using acid for a worn look. Because it was the first store of its type for Proof & Co, “it needed to set the tone of how the company would offer a brick-and-mortar experience,” explains Shang.
Embracing Singapore’s distinctive Art Deco-style architecture, the design drew inspiration from American film noir classics. An understated white palette complements marble floors as well as glossy cabinets, and refreshing teal blue paneling contrasts burgundy hues, notably behind bookshelves. In addition, custom furniture is crafted in champagne gold stainless steel and dark timber to amplify the opulence of the store.
The mysterious and bon vivant life of E.C. Proof is teased with a variety of unique, globally informed details like reindeer pelts, Turkish rugs, and portraits of fictionalized characters “that create a narrative between the real and the imagined,” says Shang. Nearly 350 bottles span the shelves along with a wide assortment of antiques, and the vault (or library of spirits), which sits behind a concealed door in E.C. Proof’s library is “a wonderfully warm space offering a cabinet of curiosities, especially for those who appreciate fine spirits,” Shang adds.
“This discreet style of [the Proof Flat] reminds me of the Comme des Garçons guerrilla stores that appeared during the 1990s in somewhat obscure sites around a city,” he explains. “The result is a new approach to retail, blending the highest standards of hospitality and placemaking in a highly personalized environment of privilege and luxury.”