Andre Fu’s modern interpretation for the Fullerton Bay Hotel in Singapore pays tribute to its colonial past and the heritage of Clifford Pier
Singapore in recent years has undergone rapid redevelopment, resulting in many new buildings and hotels. While the government is keen to preserve old, heritage buildings, it is rare to see a new hospitality development expressing the existing architectural beauty of the original site as the Fullerton Bay Hotel does.
The Fullerton Bay Hotel is the result of Singapore’s Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) land sale initiative; the site was conceived as a world-class hotel while responding sensitively to existing heritage buildings, as well as the first and only waterfront hotel located at Marina Bay.
Behind the thinking of this glass-box inspired architecture is LCL Architects, who were also responsible for the creation of the luxury hotel rooms. The public areas, which include the arrival point, the Fullerton Bay’s lobby and F&B venues, meanwhile, were masterminded by designer Andre Fu, who sought to create a new heritage for the hotel.
Fu, behind such hospitality projects as the highly-acclaimed The Upper House Hotel in Kong, is a storyteller: like most of his projects, he was set out to create the story of the Fullerton Bay, with its different ‘chapters’.
His story begins at the arrival point – the historic Clifford Pier. ‘Before I take on a hospitality hotel, finding the connection is important to me. In the case of the Fullerton Bay, this was the arrival point – Clifford Pier, which is very similar to Hong Kong’s Queen’s Pier,’ explains Fu.
Guests enter the vast Clifford Pier, which spans a width of 17m. A cylindrical chandelier 5m in diameter is suspended from the dramatic, 10m-high volume, against the egg-white interior. Passing impressive 6m-wide Moroccan inspired marble mosaics, the paved internal promenade creates the first layer of the story.
In the lobby lounge, a strong sense of nostalgia exudes for Singapore’s colonial past. ‘The landing point, which connects Clifford Pier and the hotel, consists of three layers: the upper, lower and outdoor terrace – all right next to the water,’ Fu adds.
The lobby lounge offers two-tier seating for 80 people. The extensive 13m-long bar is a focal point of this area, conveying an intimate sense of place through an array of custom-made furnishings in soft hues of moss green, mineral silver and plum.
According to Fu, the Fullerton Bay’s tall, linear and deep spaces posed architectural challenges to his design, prompting him to create dramatic visual experiences – such as the multi-faceted ceiling pendant feature in the lobby lounge, with its multi-angular framework and crystal glass sheets individually water gilded in gold.
The hotel lobby reflects another dramatic architectural feature – its 18m-high atrium, with an inlaid pattern of indo wenge veneer and a bespoke series of diamond-shaped wall-sconces and four surrounding Palladian columns. ‘The beauty in here is celebrated by the purity in line and symmetrical design,’ says Fu.
High ceilings again feature at the brassiere Clifford, which Fu visualised as a bustling, high energy space filled with old world charm. The key to avoid emptiness within such a large space is to divide it up into a series of salons or ‘intimate pockets’, according to Fu. The designer crafted the refined spirit of the restaurant through a range of vintage furnishings in grey, burnt orange and dark aubergine set against full-height ivory French paneling and herringbone oak flooring.
Another bar venue, The Lantern, is located on the rooftop and surrounded by lush tropical landscape. Modern Mediterranean lifestyle is the theme, with a 5m-long glowing bar designed in the shape of a lantern with swirling bronze fins positioned at the far end of the swimming pool to serve as a key focal point.
Attempting to echo the spirit of the city and remain true to the soul of the site’s heritage was the main goal Fu set out to achieve; the Fullerton Bay is truthful to the city, while also filled with a strong international flavour.