Changi Airport's T4 to showcase Singapore culture and heritage

Changi Airport's T4 to showcase Singapore culture and heritage

Changi Airport's newest terminal will showcase elements of local heritage and culture, a special show in collaboration with composer Dick Lee, as well as designs inspired by the orchid.

SINGAPORE: Changi Airport's newest terminal will showcase elements of local heritage and culture, a special show in collaboration with composer Dick Lee, as well as designs inspired by the orchid.

At the heart of Terminal 4 (T4) is a kinetic sculpture called Petalclouds which drew inspiration from the orchid petal.

Spanning 200m, the sculpture will move to classical music specially composed by BAFTA award-winning composer, Olafur Arnalds, said Changi Airport Group (CAG) in a news release on Tuesday (Jul 25). 

It added that the orchid petal is found throughout the architecture and interior design of the terminal - from the skylights to the carpets and even dustbins.

The orchid petal motif is reflected throughout T4's interior design, from its skylights to carpets. (Photo: Changi Airport Group) 


There will be a heritage zone in the departure transit area, to give visitors a snapshot of how shophouse architecture has evolved from the 1880s to the 1950s. These include the Peranakan architecture seen in areas such as Katong and Chinatown. 

This is also where local F&B and retail outlets will be located, including traditional brands such as Bee Cheng Hiang, Bengawan Solo and Eu Yan Sang.

Passengers will also be able to view a mini-theatre show displayed on the facade, where an LED screen transforms two shophouse bays into a digital theatre stage. 

Shophouse LED
A six-minute theatrical performance is played out on an LED screen on the shophouse facade. To ensure its cultural authenticity, consultation was carried out on the choice of costumes and props. (Photo: Wendy Wong)

The six-minute show called Peranakan Love Story, which has no audible dialogue, was developed in collaboration with local composer Dick Lee, and features a local cast including Adrian Pang, Benjamin Kheng and Koh Chieng Mun.

It tells the story of an unlikely romance between two musicians living next to each other, set in 1930s Singapore.

"My inspiration I would say for this piece was the Peranakan dramas that are staged every year," said Mr Lee. "Usually it’s about a matriarch who’s a very bossy woman who tries to match make her children."

Commenting on the role of technology in bringing the performance to life, Mr Lee said that it would have been "impossible to create" without it.

"The whole interior of the house … is digitally designed so we could have as many details as possible," Mr Lee said. "The colour, the vividness of it and of course the little surprise at the end, when the couple morphs – I won’t give it away – I think that could have only been done digitally."

T4 will also house a Peranakan Gallery, which will showcase a curated display of artefacts borrowed from the National Heritage Board.

The toilets located within the zone are also themed accordingly with a British colonial-style design.

Heritage toilet
The toilets at Heritage Zone in Changi's T4. (Photo: Changi Airport Group) 


Artworks by both local and foreign artists were specially commissioned and curated with the theme of travel in mind, said CAG.

Travelling family
Artworks at T4 have the theme of travel in mind. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

These include a 70m immersive wall located at the centralised security screening area. The LED display showcases 16 immersive video clips - such as scenes and landmarks from across the region - which passengers can watch while waiting in line.

Immersive wall
A 70m immersive wall at the centralised security screening area loops 17 short clips, including scenes from across the region. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

"When passengers enter this terminal, they don’t just feel that it’s a modern and functional terminal, but one that is fun and really uplift their mood. And we have incorporated a very comprehensive art programme," said vice president of CAG's T4 programme management office Poh Li San.

The Birds
Les Oiseaux (The Birds) is a bird sculpture by French artist Cedric Le Borgne. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

"From that, we bring in elements of Singapore culture, tradition and heritage to intrigue and engage our passengers to a more deeper level before they fly off to their next destination."

Hey Ah Chek
One of the sculptures which showcases Singapore's history and culture. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)


Despite being the smallest terminal that's half the size of Terminal 3, planners have managed to deliver a terminal that can handle 16 million passengers a year, or two-thirds that of T3.

Additionally, to create the illusion of space, T4 has done away with walls separating transit and public areas. Visitors will be able look ahead from the check-in hall, across the transit area and even up to the boarding gates at some locations.

Departure hall
Departure hall at T4. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

In line with Changi Airport's reputation for its gardens - such as its interactive Enchanted Garden in T2 and Butterfly Garden in T3 - its newest terminal is also the greenest.

T4 facade
The greenwall outside the terminal has more than 16,000 plants. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

According to CAG, T4 is home to more than half a million plants, trees and shrubs - more than what the first three terminals have combined.

T4 boarding corridor
Boarding corridor at Changi Airport's T4. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

Replacing individual flight departure waiting rooms is a "Boulevard of Trees," with 160 trees separating the boarding areas from the common area. A line of 10m tall trees was also planted in the arrival hall.

"When we plan for landscape in a building, we make sure the plants can grow inside well with very little human help," said CAG's indoor landscape manager Ashraf Ali.

"So there must be sufficient soil there, where you can’t have natural light coming in, we will put grow lights to help the plant grow. There will be automatic watering systems, drippers coming in to provide water for the plants. And also we put foggers on the trees to help the trees keep clean and look fresh all the time."

Lugagge at T4
File photo of luggage at the arrival baggage claim belt. (Photo: Changi Airport Group)

T4 will soon be open to the public for the first time during its open house from Aug 7 to 20. It is set to begin operations at the end of this year, after trials to ensure operational readiness have been completed.

It is expected to handle 16 million passengers annually, with nine airlines to operate from the terminal.

Source: CNA/ad