The Apartment TV series filmed in Johor - again!

I’m sitting in a packed event hall, among media partners invited from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Johor, waiting to watch the first episode of the sixth season of The Apartment, the biggest design competition in the world.

At the media preview: [L to R] Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen
[Standing], Jeremy Rowe, K K Wong and Riaz Metha
While the backdrop design aims to announce the world premiere of The Apartment: Passion for Design, all eyes (cannot help but) are riveted to the larger-than-life image of Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, dressed in his signature shade of pink, three-piece suit, and holding his stick brolly across one shoulder.

The man himself is in the hall, unmistakably identified by that bright outfit, standing out in stark contrast next to the other gentlemen in their sedate suits.

I met the man and the contest winners last June when I was privileged to join a media preview of the final episode for season five of The Apartment: Rising Stars Edition that was filmed on location at UM Land’s Bandar Seri Alam in Johor.

The villas at Aster 2 are double-storey semi-detached
houses featured in season six of The Apartment TV series
Now in season six, 12 contestants from around this region will battle it out to become the next interior design superstar and as for me, I’m simply delighted that UM Land properties in Johor are again featured to a worldwide audience!

This season of Asia’s premier design competition show will feature UM Land’s most established township, UM Land Seri Austin, where contestants will transform the interior of luxurious double-storey semi-detached houses, dubbed villas, in the Aster 2 development.

Aster 2 prides itself as the development designed with the first Smoke-Free Town Park and the first Smart Healthy City as well as designated bicycle lanes.

Contestants in this season will also stand to win the biggest prize in the history of the series – the deed to a luxurious apartment at D’Lagoon in UM Land’s latest luxury development by the lake in Iskandar Malaysia, worth over USD140,000.

The Apartment TV series aims to discover the next
interior design superstar
For the uninitiated, The Apartment is a television series that showcases the talents of contestants who are amateur designers and who must brave razor-thin budgets and exacting time-frames to create stunning one-of-a-kind rooms, all under the watchful eyes of a panel of judges led by International Design Superstar and principal judge, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

In the 10-week filming period, the contestants are given challenges to complete designing various rooms in the villas and will gather in front of a Design Court for the judges’ critique and advice, at the end of each challenge.

There will be a jubilant winner in every challenge while the penalty for the one who fails to meet the judges’ criteria, is to leave the show and go home.

The winner of season six stands to win the deed to an
apartment in UM Land's D'Lagoon by the lake
As in every reality TV series, the audience will get to know the contestants and root for their favourites – and inevitably get addicted to the shows – as they follow the exciting episodes where the teams and individuals rise to the given challenges.

The Apartment: Passion for Design features a judging panel of esteemed celebrity designers including award-winning designer and author, Jamie Durie, as returning host and mentor, and Llewelyn-Bowen as principal judge.

Two new judges who join the panel this season are Filipina interior designer and influencer extraordinaire, Cat Arambulo, and one of New York’s most influential and dynamic designers, Tyler Wisler.

“I’m incredibly proud of our latest season of The Apartment,” said founder of Imagine Group Entertainment and the show’s producer, Riaz Metha.

K K Wong [Right] and Laurence
Llewelyn-Bowen talking to the media
“Our cast is better than ever, with a fiery chemistry between them that will keep viewers entertained every minute of the show as these budding designers do whatever it takes to succeed,” he added.

Riaz also said that the sheer drama and entertainment from this season is beyond anything he has seen before.

AkzoNobel Paints South East & South Asia, Middle East, Managing Director, Jeremy Rowe, fondly known as Captain Colour, said he was pleased to see how the contestants used Dulux paints and turned a blank canvas (as it were!) into a creative space.

In the series, Rowe offers his advice to contestants in their selection of paints to meet the various design challenges and enjoys watching the different ways they use the products.

“The strategic partnership with this reality series showcases the beautiful landscape of UM Land Seri Austin and Johor as one of the most livable cities in the future to potential investors and buyers from around the world,” said UM Land Seri Austin Chief Executive Officer and Group Director of Townships, K K Wong.

“It has given us the opportunity to put UM Land on the international map once again as we reaffirm our sustainable developments that are of high global standards,” he added.

Then it’s time for our preview of Episode One: the lights dim and the all eyes are on the screen in front. In the semi-darkness, someone hovers nearby – and she passes me a bag of popcorn to munch while I sit back to enjoy the show!

The panel of judges at UM Land Seri Austin, Aster 2
to give the challenge to contestants, [L to R] Jamie Durie,
Tyler Wisler, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen and Cat Arambulo
Watching the show on the big screen is truly a different experience. The format is incredibly engaging and entertaining, and I agree with Riaz that they have certainly taken the series to the next level.

As I watch the drama unfold and emotions flaring between the contestants, I recall Riaz’s comment that he felt sorry for the contestants who had to work so hard, from 6am to almost midnight!

Riaz also mentioned that this season’s episodes are also accessible through the digital platform for fans to view mini episodes on their mobile devices.

These are stories told through the eyes of the contestants, with behind-the-scene shots for viewers to get to know the contestants better.

I enjoy how the camera panned across the landscape to showcase UM Land property developments and the interior of the Aster 2 villas that feature architectural glamour – where the well-thought-out property is designed to be functional and needs no renovation.

This is the second season where The Apartment featured UM Land developments in Johor and I feel a sense of shared pride because once again, our hometown is being seen by viewers the world over!

The set for the Design Court in season six
is within Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios
I watch as the contestants head out to the various destinations to pick and buy furniture and fittings to decorate the room according to their individual designs and am pleased that these décor merchants are also being featured in the series.

When it was time for the contestants to head to the Design Court, the camera not only showed the drama and excitement on the set but also the destination in Iskandar Malaysia where this set was designed.

Once again, I cannot help but feel a strong sense of pride because it was aptly held in the facilities within our own Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios!

No, I’m not sharing any more details. Watch it for yourself and enjoy identifying the familiar sites here as the series was filmed entirely on location in Johor!

Stay tuned to The Apartment: Passion for Design, a TV series of 10 one-hour episodes that premieres on Astro’s AXN Channel starting from March 25, every Sunday at 8.05pm.