A taste of the spice trade

Agatha Kari

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1 AGO 2017
Along the river Singapore, where once secret societies, underground activities and liquor distilleries abounded, The Warehouse Hotel has reopened after extensive restorations

The walls of this building, constructed in 1895, exude history and, if they could talk, they would whisper of secrets, smoke and spices. Located on the Malacca Strait, one of the most ancient and important maritime routes, the hotel was considered an important base for business trips.
The old warehouse retains its original structure with three similar buildings in a row that are mirrored in the waters of the river. The entire interior design was the task of the Singapore Asylum creative agency, while the architecture was by Zarch Collaboratives, with the common aim of preserving the building’s original character, retaining an industrial yet, at the same time, sophisticated atmosphere.

The Warehouse Hotel, one of the prestigious Design HotelsTM, belongs to the Lo & Behold Group chain, whose hotels stand out for their avant-garde design, personality and attention to every aspect of the local culture. Proof of this can be found in the coffee and tea rooms, where the cups were design by Mud Rock, a Singapore studio that makes ceramic objects. The bicycles, works of arts, guides and the selections of tea and coffee are also local, as is the design of the desk, an installation by Gabriel Tan with the collaboration of Edwin Low of Supermama, all designers based in the city.
Frames and metal structures anchored to the walls and ceiling characterise the hotel’s 37 rooms, of which there are six different types depending on the shades of colours chosen. The ambience is made airy by the double-height ceilings and given warmth by the wooden floors; the original fixtures were restored and many of the furnishings were designed by Asylum.
The hall is impressive with exposed brick, polished cement floor and original beamed ceiling from which industrial-style lamps, wheels and metal gears hang.
Another place designed for relaxation, in addition to the swimming pool overlooking the roof with a view of the river, is the bar, where the cocktail menu takes clients on a journey through different eras, from the days of the spice trade to the epoch of illegal distilleries and the eighties, when the hotel hosted Singapore’s most fashionable discotheque. The Po Restaurant is in the hands of the chef Willin Low, known as the founder of Wild Rocket, one of the 50 best restaurants in all of Asia, a pioneer of the Mod-Sin (modern Singaporean) cuisine.

 

Credits

Client: I Hotel
Hotel operator: The Lo & Behold Group
Architectural design: Zarch Collaboratives
Interior design: Asylum
Furnishings: Elite Stone, Etesse, FeelGood Designs, Freifrau, Heerenhuis Manufactuur, Jess Design, KFF, Listone Giordano, Prostoria, Stellar Works, Waldec, &Tradition
Lighting: Flos, Fontana Arte
Bathroom: Duravit, Hansgrohe
Photo credits: courtesy of The Warehouse Hotel

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