What does it mean to be a truly Singaporean hotel in an international city that’s so comfortable with its global parlance? For The Warehouse Hotel, which occupies an iconic 1895 godown (warehouse) on the banks of Robertson Quay, this means engaging and showcasing local talent throughout—from specially designed furniture and locally inspired cuisine, to contemporary artwork and the hotel’s own guidebooks.

The inspiration for the hotel’s design language came from the building itself—a unique structure from the late 19th century that stood in the midst of a hotbed of secret societies, underground activities, and liquor distilleries during this time. The meticulously restored heritage building is a proud illustration of old and new thanks to the award-winning local agency Asylum: louvre windows, cornices, and mouldings stand alongside a custom-made light in the lobby made of wheels and pulleys, and tailor-made, single-unit copper wall pieces that unify the rooms by integrating everything from desk to wardrobe. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Po, is an homage to popo meaning grandmother in Mandarin; here, the rich heritage of home-cooked specialties comes to life.

The challenge faced by the design team at Asylum was to redefine the term “industrial” by adding warmth, elegance, and softness to what is normally an austere concept. They did this by designing elements in the spaces themselves, such as the lighting and the copper wall unit in the rooms. Each room is distinct and spotlights the natural light that comes from unexpected sources. Heritage is another big theme recurring throughout the spaces and in the little details, such as the room keys that are in an old Mandarin font.

 

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[Images courtesy of Design Hotels.]

 

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