Beauty World Today

For those growing up in the West of Singapore during the 80s and 90s, a visit to one of the three ‘Beauty Worlds’, would undoubtedly have been a memorable experience with its array of shops and amenities, many of which shifted over after the countless fires that ravaged the old Beauty World Market that stood at the site from 1947 to 1975.

Built in consecutive years in the 1980s, Beauty World Plaza (1982), Beauty World Shopping Centre (1983) and Beauty World Centre (1984) each carry their own distinctive architectural design, providing visitor with a unique sense of space while they go about their weekly activities.

Beauty World Plaza carries a unique German style with its point-tipped exterior, Beauty World Centre enjoys a mix of brutalist elements as seen in buildings like Golden Mile Complex, while Bukit Timah Shopping Centre’s use of vertical fins is a design found in a number of religious buildings and even schools on the island.

Step out from the newly opened Beauty World MRT and admire the streamline triangularity of Beauty World Plaza

Step out from the newly opened Beauty World MRT and admire the streamline triangularity of Beauty World Plaza

Distinctively similar to building like Katong Shopping Centre, Beauty World Centre was built in 1984 to accommodate previous stall owners of the old Beauty World Market.

Distinctively similar to buildings like Katong Shopping Centre, Beauty World Centre was built in 1984 to accommodate previous stall owners of the old Beauty World Market.

The green vertical fins on the facade of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre greets visitors to its wide array of enrichment centres and maid agencies.

The green vertical fins on the facade of Bukit Timah Shopping Centre greets visitors to its wide array of enrichment centres and maid agencies.

Within the complexes, maid agencies, countless enrichment centres, and the iconic Beauty World Hawker Centre are perhaps the most frequently patronised of spaces. In-between, pockets of Korean establishments, an auditorium, hair salons and even a card collectors shop can be found at the various floors of these mixed-development complexes.

The odd medical and sundry shops help retain the old world charm of the centre.

The odd medical and sundry shops helps retain the old world charm at Beauty World Centre.

One of the first mixed development units in Singapore, the fifth to eighth floors of Beauty World Plaza are reserved for live-in resident.

One of the first mixed development units in Singapore, the fifth to eighth floors of Beauty World Plaza are reserved for live-in resident.

Korean establishments, old school eateries, enrichment centres and maid agencies take centrestage at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.

Korean establishments, old school eateries, enrichment centres and maid agencies take centrestage at Bukit Timah Shopping Centre.

Unlike present day shopping malls that revel in hiding escalators from plain sight, each of the complexes seem to allow these godsend alternative to stairs the full limelight in each of their buildings, particularly that of Beauty World Centre, where a constant blue light envelopes visitors in an almost underwater like experience.

Unlike modern day malls, escalators are given full space and sight, allowing for a beautiful tint of blue to constantly envelope the space on a sunny day.

Unlike modern day malls, escalators are given full space and sight, allowing for a beautiful tint of blue to constantly envelope the space on a sunny day.

The many shifts and angles help create a wonderful maze as you explore Bukit Timah Shopping Centre

The many shifts and angles help create a wonderful maze as you explore Bukit Timah Shopping Centre

Unlike its more illustrious counterparts, Beauty World Plaza did not actually see many great days. Today, there are more rolled down shutters than existing stalls available.

Unlike its more illustrious counterparts, Beauty World Plaza did not actually see many great days. Today, there are more rolled down shutters than existing stalls available.

Yet perhaps the most endearing of spaces there is the top-level open air Beauty World Hawker Centre, home to 41 hawker stalls, some of whom have been around for over 30 years since it opened in the 1980s. Unlike conventional hawker centres that sit at ground level, the fourth-level space offers a meal with a view, and not forgetting much better ventilation.

While most oldies flock to stalls like the Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Noodle, or Top 1 Home Made Noodle, I personally prefer the succulent selections of burger available at the aptly named ‘Hambaobao’ stall run by two young hawkers. At just $5 a burger, you get to choose from succulent pulled pork, grilled fish and even an ayam buah keluak rendition!

A unique space in its own right. the over 30-year old Beauty World Hawker Centre provides a meal with a view!

A unique space in its own right. the over 30-year old Beauty World Hawker Centre provides a meal with a view!

Moving away from the traditional hawker fare that dominates the centre, the two young hawkers behind 'Hambaobao' serve up delectable burgers for just $5 each!

Moving away from the traditional hawker fare that dominates the centre, the two young hawkers behind ‘Hambaobao’ serve up delectable burgers for just $5 each!

Like all good things, the hawker centre is however set to close soon, having been bought over by a mystery buyer for the sum of $17.5 million. In its place? An expected air-conditioned food court.

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