Hotel Mono
Hotel Mono is a striking new landmark in the historic Chinatown area in Singapore, the result of an extensive refurbishment of six conservation shophouses, built in the early 1900s, by Spacedge Designs. For its first hotel project, the studio has transformed this once squalid budget hotel into a chic haven which radiates a minimalist, yet assertive design language. This fresh and unconventional design concept for heritage buildings was geared towards the hotel’s target market – social-media-savvy globetrotters who place a premium on design in their choice of lodging. The affordable room prices also strategically plugged a gap between the pricey boutique establishments and no-frills backpacker offerings in that area. Faced with poor site conditions, and time and budget constraints, Spacedge used a palette of simple low-cost materials in innovative ways to create high design value. Examples include the mosaic used in the bathrooms, which is also a nod to the history of the buildings; and the square black metal tube which travels through the white rooms like a line drawn in space. This also cleverly functions as a clothes rack and a lighting fixture, which is only possible due to advancements in LED technology. After its opening, a positive reception from hotel guests and the media alike have validated the firm’s proposal to shift away from a safe and predictable design concept towards a bold and innovative one. The minimalism of Hotel Mono have created a new design typology for small independent hotels as well as for heritage shophouses in Singapore.