The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and National Parks Board (NParks) announced plans to strengthen Orchard Road's position as a must-visit lifestyle destination and an immediate initiative includes the launch of Design Orchard and a one-year trial to curate pop-up experiences along the pedestrian mall.
Minister for Trade and Industry and Co-Chair of Ministerial Steering Committee for Orchard Road Chan Chun Sing said, "Against the backdrop of increasing competition from other cities and the evolving retail landscape, Orchard Road has remained at the forefront of consumer trends to stay relevant to local and international visitors. This was made possible with the public and private sectors working together to bring in innovative concepts and exclusive retail offerings. We will continue our partnership with the private sector to develop Orchard Road as a vibrant lifestyle destination that offers an exceptional experience beyond retail."
The plans were unveiled after STB, URA and NParks, together with the Land Transport Authority, embarked on a review of the future plans for Orchard Road. During the exercise, consultations were held with private sector stakeholders, alongside a study led by international cities and property consulting firm Cistri Pte Ltd.
The plans have two main thrusts: to make Orchard Road 'The Lifestyle Destination'; and to 'Bring Back the Orchard'.
The Lifestyle Destination
As a lifestyle destination, Orchard Road will offer differentiated experiences to bring out the unique identity of each sub-precinct. Innovative retail concepts, attractions, entertainment and events will be introduced at each sub-precinct to cater to the varied interests of visitors. Side streets such as Killiney Road and Orchard Turn will also be enhanced to allow visitors to discover the lesser known parts of the precinct and better connect Orchard Road to the surrounding neighbourhoods.
New lifestyle experiences can be introduced at Tanglin to strengthen its identity as a mixed-use neighbourhood with a strong arts and artisanal flavour. For instance, the conserved Tudor Court can be used to house more arts, cultural and lifestyle offerings. The upcoming opening of the Orchard Boulevard MRT station on the Thomson-East Coast Line will bring added convenience to visitors in this sub-precinct.
At the centre of Orchard Road is the main shopping belt around Orchard and Somerset MRT stations, which will remain the retail heart of Singapore. The shopping experience can be enhanced through more street activities and better pedestrian connectivity.
Come April 2019, the Orchard Road Business Association (ORBA) will start a one-year trial to bring in experiential activities to enliven event spaces along the pedestrian mall in Orchard Road. These activities could range from retail and food and beverage pop-ups to arts and entertainment events.
Future mixed-use developments will be built at the upcoming Thomson-East Coast Line Orchard Interchange MRT station. These will be well connected to Orchard Road through side streets to bring more people and add buzz and vibrancy to the precinct.
Elevated link bridges can make it easier for visitors to cross the junction of Orchard-Paterson Roads, as well as provide opportunities for a picturesque shot of Orchard Road.
Somerset, already known as a youth hub, can be further enhanced with new lifestyle offerings catering to youths. For instance, the Grange Road car park can be transformed into a dynamic event space, where activities are regularly refreshed.
The newly-opened Design Orchard is a significant milestone in making Orchard Road a Lifestyle Destination. Through its retail showcase of home-grown brands, incubation spaces and rooftop amphitheatre, Design Orchard will inject greater retail diversity to Orchard Road, as well as offer promising brands an unparalleled opportunity to present themselves in a world-class location.
These new developments can be better connected via sculptural canopies, providing shelter and seamless connectivity at this busy intersection, while creating another signature node on Orchard Road.
Dhoby Ghaut is envisaged as a family-friendly lifestyle zone, nestled in lush greenery. Existing green spaces at the Istana Park, Dhoby Ghaut Green and the open space at Plaza Singapura can be linked up by pedestrianising a section of the road. More space will be available to create children play areas and flexible event venues for festivals and fashion shows.
Bring Back the Orchard
Over the years, Singapore has acquired an international reputation as a City in a Garden. Coupled with Orchard Road's origins as a nutmeg, clove and fruit orchard, there is an unprecedented opportunity for the precinct to be distinguished from other international shopping streets by Bringing Back the Orchard.
Orchard Road is envisaged as a lush green urban corridor connecting the historical green spaces: Singapore Botanic Gardens and Fort Canning Park. The streets can be enhanced through a curated showcase of vibrant trees and shrubs that depict the colours of the tropics. Nutmeg and cloves can also be incorporated in strategic locations, to draw back to Orchard Road's origins.
Additionally, Istana Park can also be rejuvenated with themed gardens inspired by the botanical and horticultural traditions and practices seen throughout Singapore's history.
"All cities have their own popular shopping streets and neighbourhoods. In Singapore, Orchard Road is our premier shopping district. But it is facing stiff competition from other cities, and has to adapt to rapidly changing retail trends. That's why government agencies have been working with private sector stakeholders on the rejuvenation plans for Orchard Road. We have put together these ideas to illustrate the possibilities of making Orchard a place for all to experience and enjoy. Orchard Road is not a greenfield site. It is a 2 km long major thoroughfare in our central area, highly built up on both sides of the road. So any changes will take time and will require actions from both the government and private sector. We will continue to take in feedback and suggestions, and work with all stakeholders to refine and progressively implement the plans to make Orchard Road a great street in our City in a Garden," said Minister for National Development and Co-Chair of Ministerial Steering Committee for Orchard Road Lawrence Wong.
Mr Philip Ng, Chief Executive Officer, Far East Organization, said: "The upcoming plan to transform Orchard Road must be underpinned by collaboration at many levels between the private and public sectors. Retail is Detail, and Orchard Road's transformation into a bustling lifestyle destination will require a robust partnership. We must all do our part."
"My first impressions of Orchard Road started with the Mont D'or cake shop and the first Herbie Volkswagen on display in the 1970s. Since then, I am always pleasantly surprised by the constant evolution of this street. The proposed plans for Orchard Road are something I look forward to, and will serve to position Orchard Road as one of the premier lifestyle destinations in the world," said Mr Ho Sing, Chief Executive Officer, YTL Starhill Global REIT Management Limited.
Public Exhibition at Orchard Fountain Corner
A public exhibition on the future plans for Orchard Road will be held at Orchard Fountain Corner beside 313@Somerset from 30 January to 13 February, where the public is welcome to visit and share their feedback. Public can also learn about the Orchard Road plans and share their feedback at https://ura.sg/orchardrd till 31 May 2019.
 The study was conducted by a multi-disciplinary team led by Cistri Pte Ltd and included DP Architects Pte Ltd, Arup Singapore Pte Ltd, DataSpark, Future Cities Laboratory and Rider Levett Bucknall.
 The sub-precincts are Tanglin, Orchard, Somerset and Dhoby Ghaut.
Download link to Orchard Road video here.