The Armenians have a long storied history in Singapore and the region. Armenians were one of the first communities to set up their homes and business in early 19th century East India Company Singapore. Their church, the Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator was established in 1835 and is the oldest standing building in Singapore.
For two centuries the small Armenian community – never amounting to more than 100 people at any one time – contributed to the phenomenal growth of the trading settlements, and many of their legacies remain today. Three of the most recognizable Singapore’s icons – the National Flower Vanda Miss Joaquim orchid, The Straits Times newspaper, and Raffles Hotel – were founded or created by the Armenians.
The Armenian Heritage Gallery is located the historical parsonage. Built in 1906, it is one of the few remaining bungalow houses of the Edwardian era in the city. Two galleries showcase the long history of the Armenian homeland, the diaspora, genocide, and the community’s involvement and contribution in Singapore.
Inspired by the gravitas of the orthodox triptych, and muted in tone and lighting, the mixed content of text graphics and artefacts takes visual center-stage. Anthropomorphic alphabet clustered around the triptych corners echo the relief of the khachkar and balance the sombre content with colour and delight.
To complement the permanent gallery is an interactive Armenian alphabet learning board, and a lounge recreating the turn of the 20th century parsonage, that functions as a social event space for the current Singaporean-Armenian community.
Client Armenian Apostolic Church of St. Gregory the Illuminator Singapore
Duration 10 months, completed June 2018
Project Team - Lim Chen Sian, Cheah Fang Leah, Pierre Hennes, Edwin Chua
Research & Content Creators - Lim Chen Sian
Interior & Joinery Design - Cheah Fang Leah
Graphic Design - Cheah Fang Leah
Fabrication - E.Works
Photography - Ung Ruey Loon