Parkview Square is an office building straight out of fictional comic-book city, "Gotham City". With carefully-crafted use of motifs, sculptures, and ornamentation and the unique feature of being 'guarded' by eight gigantic fiberglass statues of men holding a light ball in their hands, four of whom are standing on each broad side of the building's crown. Another example are the gargoyles decorating the building’s exterior, which are said to be hand-crafted. Enjoy the peaceful ambience in the open-air garden and gaze at the silent fountains run streams through the feet of bronze statues of the great leaders of our world's past.
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Where is Batman?
Plato anyone? Want to sit at Mozart’s feet? Perhaps throw an egg at Winston Churchill? A visit to Parkview Square near Bugis almost classifies as a must. It was not designed as a tourist mecca, but it is worth visiting. Mind you, once you are inside the massive brass doors, hide your camera or you will be whisked off unceremoniously by guards who have nothing better to do. I think the ultra sensitive security has something to do with the number of embassies and consulates in the building.
And go by public transport. The car park is amongst Singapore’s most expensive.
Bach, Churchill, Mozart, Einstein, Plato, Salvador Dali, Socrates and a few others glare down at you from their imposing plinths as you climb the dark, forbidding steps into the courtyard. You can’t keep walking. You stop and stare, gaping, first at the statues and then to the huge doors that lead into the building itself. You gaze up at the granite, bronze and dark stone and reel at the monumental scale and you ask yourself, when is Batman going to come charging out on his Batmobile? I was disappointed. He never appeared. Maybe he could not afford the COE?
After you escape the clutches of the greats of the past, push open the huge doors of Gotham City, sorry, Parkview Square. Enter the three-storey high atrium of the ground floor. You will stop and stare. I guarantee it: art deco at its most excessively impressive. It is amazing. Don't just stop and stare. Have a drink, or a snack, or lunch in the delightful bar/restaurant/coffee shop which spreads over the ground floor dwarfed by three storey high monuments of classy glitz. It feels like a cross between Versailles Palace and the foyer of an Odeon for basketballers.
Is a drink expensive? It is no more expensive than any other tourist trap in Singapore, and in fact a little cheaper.
When you have recovered, marvel at the brass, glass, granite and gold of the ornate, intricate, some might say gaudy, frescos and fittings that adorn the huge walls and ceilings. Enjoy the jazz trio playing from a gilded balcony. Be amazed at the three storey tall wine rack. How do the staff reach the wines on the top floor? The answer? Angels fly up to fetch them.
You don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.
Rumour has it
Ok… I'm going to be a bold rebel and break the rules here. I've walk past this massive structure so many times, but I've never actually been inside. I'm going to go ahead and review this none the less, basing my claims, completely on what I've heard.
So I've seen the outside. That much I've seen. Its dark coloured columns, I suppose are trying to cast upon a formidable aura on to an onlooker? I don't know. Is a building actually trying to intimidate me? But I think it's ugly. And it annoys me a whole lot more than it intimidates me. A lot like the way a rich spoilt kid would if he came up to me saying that I should be afraid of him because he has the latest iPhone. And if you manage to look inside, you'll see an unfortunate golden swan caught in a pose of desperate escape right as Midas touched it. It's sad. Even the statues want to get out.
Well, rumour has it, that there's a huge two story room inside, where women dressed as angels are harnessed down from the ceiling to pour wine into your glass.
If that's the case, I take back all the negative things I said about this building. It's flipping awesome.
That Gotham City place
The first time I came here, I was actually lured by some batman-like insignia in the sky. My friends and I were somewhere not so near and debating where to go next. When I saw some weird lighting in the sky waving here and there, I suggested to my friends to follow it. Being the aimless followers they are, they agreed.
After walking for about 30min, we reached the source of the sign - a giant spotlight facing up into the sky. It looks and sounds like there's a raving party going on inside but it's for invited guests only. So after awhile of loitering around the spotlights while admiring the skylights, we left the place.
When I had to go inside the building itself to discuss some stuff with my financial consultant, I noticed the elaborate garden at its entrance for the first time. It was an eye opener as this type of gothic landscaping isn't commonly found in Singapore.
Nowadays, this building serves as a good landmark for me to navigate around bugis since I'm a klutz with roads and directions.
A novel experience at the bar
The architecture is unconventional and the statues are interesting. The history buff in me was really curious about all the characters.
However, beyond admiring the surroundings, there is nothing much to do. The bar inside is admittedly pretty cool. There's a huge pillar structure in which the drinks are kept and supposedly, the more expensive wines are stored higher up. So when someone orders a drink, the waitresses, who are dressed like angels will "fly" up using some contraption to retrieve the drinks. So you pretty much get what you pay for - the more you pay, the longer you get to admire them "flying" up. Or well, you could order some cheap drink and hope someone else orders something really expensive since you don't have to pay to watch them either way. Nevertheless, I can't imagine being fascinated by that for too long.
It's an interesting experience but once the bar loses its novelty, I don't think this place is that interesting.
Parkview square, in my opinion, is a work of art. Where so many of Singapore's skyscrapers are similarly-shaped like gigantic cuboids, Parkview Square is the only building I can say that safely stands out from the rest.
In particular, I love heading to the plaza which is at the front of the building. The ingenious and widespread use of motifs, sculptures and ornamentation all blend in very well together to give the plaza a peaceful and artistic backdrop to the CBD area surrounding it. The bronze effigies of famous historical figures and the fountain that runs at their feet with the cool lighting are all meticulously placed to give the whole place a sort of romantic feel.
Only a bar in the building
It is mostly an office building, there are no commercial shops in here at all. The architecture is very gothic and specal. It has even been used as a 'casino' in one of the local dramas because of its dramatic look.
There is a bar called Divine in the lobby of this building that sees office workers after work knocking back a drink or two after a stressful day at work. There is also a pianist that plays soothing music. What is interesting about this bar is that they have these angels dressed up in silvery tutu dresses hooked up on these wires.These waitress angels will 'fly' up to 12 metres to the refrigerated wine cellar built into the wall above the bar to retrieve bottles of wine as per the customer's order. It was quite a sight and I stood there for a good 5mins just watching the waitress angel 'fly' around.
Other than that, there's really nothing very attractive about this building unless you need the restroom!