Singapore-based Create Architecture drew inspiration from the city’s transformation, fusing art and design into the newly opened hotel residence.
27 October, 2023
Create Architecture was established in 2017 by Directors Tan Bing Hui and Xu Naiyan. The Singapore-based consultancy specialises in integrated design for the built environment, encompassing master planning, architectural and interior architectural design, with projects that span across residential, commercial and hospitality developments. The practice’s latest hospitality project is the 86-key Capri by Fraser, Phnom Penh in Cambodia, which involved the design input of Create Architecture’s Lead Interior Designer, Sherry Goh.
MSMQ ZTH Co. Ltd, the owner-developer of the property enlisted Create Architecture to be part of the team working on the new Capri by Fraser, Phnom Penh. The brief was to create an art-driven hotel residence that encapsulates the vibrant spirit and soul of the city and weaves the essence of ancient Khmer art into its contemporary interiors. Keeping in line with the Capri by Fraser’s brand that prioritises social living, the project has been designed for the millennial-minded travellers featuring design centric, technology-led interiors and lively social spaces.
“The integration of art and design contributes to the overall aesthetics and atmosphere of the spaces,” says Goh. This is conveyed through the built-in carpentry with warm timber tones, intricate carpet designs, careful art curation including wall murals and hanging sculptures by Cambodian artists, and furniture selections which were fully customised and curated by Create Architecture.
The story of Phnom Penh’s incredible transformation over the last few decades also comes to the fore. The narrative commences at the double volume Den and Reception on the ground floor. A buzzing social hub for guests to chill out and network, it features a stepped ceiling motif that elegantly pays homage to the iconic Independence Monument—a subtle yet powerful reminder of the city’s historical significance. Additionally, vibrant clusters of suspended sculptures represent the spirit of celebration, and two prominent murals vividly illustrate traditional local tuk tuk vehicles and the evolving transformation of the city’s skyline and streetscape over the years.
The design team was also inspired by the city’s prevalent local handmade craft culture, such as rattan weaving and ‘bay khom’ – a beloved local children’s game. The utilisation of rattan on the walls and ceilings effectively unifies the overall design of the hotel. This was achieved through the combination of authentic rattan panels and custom-designed laser-cut panels featuring rattan motifs, creating a seamless fusion of traditional and contemporary elements. The guest room headboards and the hotel’s carpets showcase the intricate pattern of the traditional ‘krama’ scarf, an iconic accessory that every Cambodian owns.
The distinctive design was a result of extensive research conducted by Create Architecture. The design team drew inspiration from various sources, including photographs, cultural references, and insights from locals who know the city well. Combined with previous works in the city, the team was able to successfully capture the essence of Phnom Penh’s unique character in the design.
The distinctive privacy panels in the restaurant and reception were inspired by the beloved Cambodian children’s board game. The wooden spheres imitate the appearance of marbles or stones on the wooden board, while the outer rings function as receptacles holding the spheres.
“We hope that the thoughtfully designed spaces will encourage guests to relax and spend more time by offering an inviting atmosphere where they can linger and truly soak in the surroundings and culture,” Goh expresses with optimism. “Our design for Capri by Fraser, Phnom Penh was carefully curated to provide guests with a comfortable, visually pleasing, and culturally immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression – much like the city itself.”
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