(This article is part of our ongoing series exploring the iconic home designs that shaped global cities. Read more from the series and sign up to get the next story sent directly to your inbox.)
In the movie “Crazy Rich Asians,” the main characters move between opulent mansions and colonial-era hotels in Singapore. But the reality is the vast majority of families live in modestly-sized apartments built by the government—concentrated, high-rise housing estates that elsewhere in the world might, to some, conjure images of low-income urban blight. Yet here, the concrete suburbs are well-maintained by the state and their basic, functional flats are lovingly renovated by the owners, often with the help of professional interior designers using the finest materials.