Olha Romaniuk • October 9, 2019
Walking a delicate line between the past and the present, the newly revitalized Raffles Singapore presents a contemporary take on the hotel’s familiar original architecture for a timeless experience, courtesy of Champalimaud Design.
Jon Kastl, partner at the New York firm, approached the project by thoughtfully layering Singapore’s rich history via a refined and sophisticated lens. “We wanted to make a concerted effort to weave old iconic notions from the previous hotel into the details of the update,” he says.
With the hotel’s heritage in mind, the firm updated the public spaces and 115 guestrooms with small but impactful moments. Take, for example, the series of screens in the lobby that nod to the legendary outdoor gates. “A certain amount of authenticity needed to remain to still be recognizable to the Raffles loyalists, while also to the guests who have always envisioned going to Raffles but haven’t made it there yet,” says Kastl.
To maximize the hotel’s scale, the firm preserved the original colonial architecture while also replanning many areas of the public spaces to enhance social connections. The pared-down interiors reveal dramatic moments, as well, like statement-making chandeliers that create a sense of grandeur against a refined palette of black and white.
Yet, it’s Singapore’s multinational heritage that informed much of the design and illustrated the hotel’s robust and influential history. References to Chinese, English, Indian, Malaysian, Dutch and Singaporean influences are found in vintage tiffin boxes in the hotel’s Tiffin Room restaurant, Peranakan-inspired tiles and handpainted wallpaper in the bathrooms, and custom designed light fixtures within the hotel’s signature restaurant La Dame de Pic.
“There’s a delicate balance that needs to be considered when you’re trying to connect with a varied audience,” adds Kastl. “It needs to feel familiar and new at the same time. We worked very hard to figure this out and our findings informed a number of our design decisions.”
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