The Warehouse Hotel in Singapore is situated in an historical building that once played an important part in the spice trade
The Warehouse Hotel, much like Singapore itself, has gone through many changes. A complex of three former riverside godowns (warehouses) dating back to 1895 and built to store spices and other merchandise traded through the Strait of Malacca, they were abandoned before a loving restoration turned them into their present incarnation.
From the Singapore River, the building's striking white facade, especially eye-catching when illuminated – makes it stand out against the glass and steel buildings typical of a modern city
Opened in 2017, the hotel (part of the Design Hotels collection) is situated in an area once known for being a hotbed of secret societies, shady business dealings and illegal distilling. Situated off Robertson Quay, the hotel was conceived by local hospitality specialists Lo & Behold Group.
The group brought together architecture studio Zarch Collaboratives and cross-disciplinary design firm Asylum, a winner of Best of the Best in Interior Design at Perspective's A&D Trophy Awards 2018, to transform the space into the design destination it has now become.
The collaboration aimed to make the most of the building's history by integrating a selection of industrial-like textures balanced with modern finishes. Original design elements – such as louvre windows, doors and cornices – were sensitively retained and restored.
"For a good part of the last decade, industrial design has been applied regardless of the context so we felt that there was an opportunity to approach it authentically for The Warehouse Hotel – to protect the real industrial heritage of the space, while creating a new perspective on what it means to be 'industrial' by adding softer, warmer and more gentle layers to the design," says Wee Teng Wen, managing partner, Lo & Behold Group.Each of the 37 rooms is slightly different in both layout and design, determined by the architecture of the building and in keeping with the desire to retain the integrity of the industrial structure. But it is the lobby that impresses the most: an impressive double-volume space. A communal area and housing the hotel's signature restaurant and bar, it has become The Warehouse's most distinctive element. Exposed brick walls line both sides of the entrance, while custom lights designed by Asylum (inspired by the pulleys found in traditional godowns) line the ceiling. Completing the setting is a collection of plush seats and brass detailing, while green and grey marble has been chosen to complement the brown leather sofas.The double-volume high ceilings feature the structure's original trusses, now re-finished in black. Natural light filters through the roof in the daytime, while new portals serve as discrete structural highlights in the lobby space, providing clear access and line of sight straight through to the waterfront.