Although there are some truly outstanding examples of ornate plasterwork to be found in the UK, it’s obviously not just here that they exist. Let’s head over to Singapore for the fascinating ‘Rojak’ style.
‘Rojak’ means ‘mixture’ in the language of Malay. It is sometimes used as the name of a salad or fruit salad that is comprised of a mixture of additions. When applied to plastering in Singapore, it can refer to the ornate plaster work that is applied to the façade of a building.
For example, running through the centre of Singapore, sits Balestier Road and a fascinating building. Although the external wall of this building may not have plaster as we know it, using the familiar gypsum, it has rendering that has been worked on to produce locally important figures that are raised from the wall.
A mixture (‘rojak’) of symbols such as monkeys, cherubs and pineapples are on the walls. At the entrance, there are two guards who stand to symbolise protection of the building. Look closer and you’ll see a collection of other animals including bats, dragons and peacocks.
Although to visitors to the country, it may look to be just a random mixture of animals, it’s actually a collection of important symbols that represent the different races of peoples that have migrated to Singapore.
The peacocks represent the valued virtues of Hindu culture, compassion and patience. They also represent the Chinese cultural values of peace and beauty.
The unusual external plasterwork is expensive and a display of wealth in Singapore. It has been created in the unique Straits Baroque style. Unfortunately, the location of the shop, which is on a busy road, means that the passing cars and pedestrians don’t see the beauty as they are in a hurry to reach their destination.
Considered to be a heritage building in the local area, it has been featured films. It is located close to the local film studios and would most likely be recognised by many as a landmark building.
Plastering is used all over the world in different ways. If you know of an interesting building, send us pics and we’ll share them with our followers.