Orchard Road takes its name from the nutmeg and fruit plantations to which it led during Singapore’s colonial boom in the 1800s. This image of the sculpting of the land - row upon row of trees bursting with blossom and then later their branches hanging heavy, laden with rich harvest, is redolent today when considering what is fast becoming a bespoke retail destination to rival the world’s elite.
ION Orchard is so named for the magnetic dynamism of the ion, the positively or negatively charged atom that forms the building blocks of matter - properties that this state of the art shopping and entertainment center demonstrates in thrilling abundance.
This innovative exploration of the two key concepts that form its name, ion and orchard, had already garnered the development two MAPIC awards at the prestigious real estate trade fair, years before its official unveiling in July 2009.
In pulling off the remarkable feat of attracting six giants of the fashion retail elite to house their flagship stores for the entire region there, ION Orchard has all the magnetism it needs. In a historic achievement in the world of high-end retail, Cartier, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Louis Vuitton and Prada installed their flagship stores side by side in their own customized two storey duplexes to form the dazzling frontage to the center on Orchard Road and Patterson Road.
That these fashion icons chose to place themselves in such proximity to what can be considered the competition indicates the level of esteem in which the development is held. They were given carte blanche to shape the structure of the cavernous duplexes with their own world renowned architects and designers and the results are simply breathtaking.
The attraction at ION Orchard does not end at the glittering entrance of this eight level retail space. With levels one to four of the mall featuring elite international brands and levels B1 to B4 set aside for mass appeal high street and lifestyle labels, it features a dizzying array of options for shoppers of even the most eclectic tastes.
This almost bewildering sense of variety and staggering depth of quality spills over into the portfolio of dining facilities available at ION Orchard. Shoppers are invited to refresh themselves at 125 restaurants, cafes and food outlets, which have been dispersed strategically around the mall and often juxtaposed deliberately in a partnership with stores that echo their core brand identity.
Besides the extraordinary quality and variety on offer at the ION Food Hall on level B4, many of the most respected names in fine dining in the region present often innovative new versions of their trademark style. These include stylish Japanese cuisine at XEX and Itacho, and Seoul based Italian bistro Gustimmo di Roma. High profile new-concept eateries also feature highly, many brought to ION Orchard by celebrity chefs - such as Jason Dell at The Nautilus Project and Salvatore Cuomo and Genshiro Saito and Paul Bassett at XEX.
Perhaps the most notable of these prestige restaurants is Soht & Baay, where traditional cuisine is presented in an impossibly chic modern environment by one of Thailand’s foremost chefs, Apasara Navarojjanasakul. Her restaurant is frequented by everyone from politicians to pop stars to the Malay Royal Family.
ION Orchard presents these super exclusive retail and cuisine outlets in a space that has not only been carefully designed to create a sense of organic space and wonder but also features original and acclaimed artwork - both as commissioned pieces and at the ION Art gallery on Level Four.
New and multi-media art is given special prominence, not least in the truly breathtaking façade - or skin - of the whole complex, which features a network of thousands of LED screens and acts as a canvas for some of the world’s most renowned digital artists. Of course this can act also as a screen for one of the myriad high-profile events and showcases taking place in the complex’s state of the art commercial arenas - what is on the outside can literally also be what is on the inside at ION Orchard.
The sense of fluidity and the potential for change and growth brings us back to this thrilling development’s name. ION Orchard draws visitors magnetically to it, but this place laden with fruits beyond their imagination has also been created specifically to ensure that the burden of such prodigious productivity rests weightless and unnoticed.
- Ben Stewart
Address: 2 Orchard Turn
Tel: 65 6238 8228
Photo Credit: ION Orchard