Hidden in an industrial area of Bukit Merah lies a curious-looking building called The Mill, clad entirely in a blackish hue. But it’s not just its colour that stands out; the very architecture of this Art Deco-style building is enough to turn heads. The uninitiated might almost expect to see bats or gargoyles circling this gothic castle-like structure, but in reality, it’s home to offices, art galleries, creative events, and even a café.
If the design of the building looks a tad familiar, it's because it was designed by the same team who dreamt up Parkview Square – aka Singapore’s very own “Gotham building – in Bugis, where Atlas is. The good news is that unlike other industrial buildings that may only permit those with a staff pass, The Mill is open to the public.
Even the carpark is on theme, with black and white Victorian-esque murals covering the walls, and this makes it a popular spot for OOTDs and even wedding portraits. You might also spot a handful of supercars or luxury drives parked here – as reported by many during their expeditions to this hidden space.
The higher floors mostly house private office units, but the second floor is where the buzz is. This is mainly due to the presence of coffee roaster café, Alchemist. While Alchemist exists in various locations around the island, this particular outlet is one-of-a-kind, as its grungy vibe matches that of the building to a T, with grey walls and grand chandeliers to keep up that whole neo-gothic aesthetic.
Even if you’re not up for some coffee and pastries, the breezy pet-friendly al fresco area right outside the café is a nice place to sit and chill. Picnic benches have been painted black a la The Rolling Stones, but spots of greenery peppered around help bring some colour into the otherwise brooding atmosphere.
While there, pop by Nonage Gallery, a free-entry art space that features works from both local artists and those from around the region. With a focus on vibrant, whimsical art styles that are easily eye-pleasing, this independent gallery is a great place for all to check out – be it young or young at heart, casual visitor or hardcore art enthusiast.
The Mill also has a rooftop deck with turrets, which has been used for photoshoots and filming purposes in the past. However, it appears to be closed to the public at time of writing – but no harm in heading up to sneak a glimpse through the window.
How to get to The Mill
We’d highly recommend driving or taking a cab to The Mill, because it’s not the most accessible via public transport. If you’re looking to save a buck, it is possible to take a bus from near Redhill MRT station, the closest train station in the vicinity. This bus journey will take you about 15 to 20 minutes depending on the waiting time and chosen route. Alternatively, you could even do a 15-minute walk from Redhill MRT to clock in those steps.