From its previous function as a budget hotel, the six traditional shophouses
will now room weary travellers in a design-led hotel with strong roots to the
The family room is designed for families with children or larger groups of
friends. Two queen-sized beds on opposite side of the room meet in the middle for hearty chats late in the night.
As a subtle reference to the buildings of Singapore, the design team used
colours like white, grey and brown for the bathroom tiles.
In the lobby, hotel guests can check in at the reception counter that looks as
though it is suspended in mid-air.
The loft is the premium option with two queen-sized beds and a sofa bed to
accommodate a large group of six within the room. Its most striking feature is
without a doubt found in the black metal cuboid structure that evolves into a
staircase that leads to the upper deck.
Throughout the 49 rooms available in the hotel, the same black line motif is
apparent in the thick black metal tube that weaves in and out of rooms, linking
the rooms together.
The studio is perfect for the global business traveller. Work can be conducted
in a conducive environment next to the window while sleep is designated within
the cosy alcove.
The Chinatown of the past often celebrates the old and admonishes the new. It is all in good interest as it prevents the dilution of heritage and tradition. But in envisioning a stronger culture, it needs to grow and that is what needs to happen. Not that it should be determined to be a bad thing – the traditional neighbourhood will be the home for a new landmark in the Hotel Mono, an independent hotel determined in its resolve to stick to tradition with a strong monochromatic design-conscious statement. Led by one of the old design stalwarts in Singapore, William Chan from Spacedge Designs, the former budget hotel had done away with the common practice of conceiving the spaces with respect to the surroundings and reinvested in a distinctive black and white configuration that stands out against the medley of colours in the surrounding vicinity. The re-design was a radical transformation but it was something that Chan felt needed to happen, “I wanted to throw away the rulebook and not pander to the clichés of nostalgia and tradition associated with Chinatown yet do something simple yet different that still communicated a Singapore identity”.
On its exterior over the row of six conservation houses, black and white fall in line – the street level is coated in black and the upper levels in white. Through the entrance, hotel guests will find themselves in similar surroundings. On one side of the wall, Eero Aarnio’s ball chair in the colours of black and white partially extends out from the wall, while another oversized bench over six meters flanks the opposing wall. Hotel guests can then choose from the 46 rooms that occupy the row of shophouses and check in at the reception counter that looks as though it is suspended in mid-air.
From the single room to the studio room, to the loft, no two rooms are ever the same due to the unique layout within the shophouses; however, each of the seven room types has its distinctive features. The loft is at the highest price point due to the 35 square meter space afforded to room a queen sized bed, a king- sized bed and a sofa bed. Families are welcomes in this room as the duplex loft offers ample space for rest and play between both floors. Like many of the rooms in Hotel Mono, the same black line motif is visible across the rooms – in the loft, it is introduced as custom furniture, a cuboid structure that evolves into a clothing rack and staircase that leads to the upper deck. Up above, guests can get some shuteye in a queen-sized bed. Although the upper level may not be as ideal for guests diagnosed with somnambulism, glass balustrades keep any pillows or guests who toss and turn from falling over.
Over in the studio room, business guests who mix work and play will appreciate the segregation between work and rest areas. Guests can turn the studio room into a makeshift office where a desk positioned next to the windows is at the disposal of the global worker. When it is time for bed, guests can then climb into the queen-sized bed positioned within a cosy alcove. When the blinds are drawn, ambient cove lighting enhances the soothing vibes and illuminates the room for a soft warm glow to permit light reading. In the bathroom, the floor and wall tiles coalesces into a fine brown spray that was specifically chosen as a subtle
reference to the buildings’ history.
Another conscious decision made was Chan’s agreement to move away from simplistic use of wallcovering and carpets in common hotel designs – in considering the budget constrains and the locality of the hotel, natural materials like concrete and tiles were used for the floorings and walls.
As its name suggests, the family room is ideal for a household that requires a large enough space to room together in a shared apartment. Equipped with two queen-sized beds across each other in a 25-square- meter allotment, parents can tend to their little ones or swap stories among extended families in an inviting area undeterred by boundaries. To catch a breather, hotel guests can lounge on the sofa or look out onto the street below from the traditional arched windows. In the bathroom, guests can let off some steam under the overhead rain shower or sit by the windowed ledge gazing at the people on the street. But to allay any questions concerning privacy– wooden shutters can be reined in to conceal the room from the outside world.
Well since the Hotel Mono opened its doors to guests towards the end of 2016, hoteliers are taking a step away from the polish-and- shine skyscraping hotels for a truly authentic and design-driven option. In addition to never being priced out of a place to call home, the tourist crowd will indeed be swayed by Hotel Mono’s sterling proposition of staying within a monochromatic format and unique architecture within a heritage shophouse in the heart of Chinatown. While it lacks in colour, it makes up in sevenfold of personality.
Spacedge Designs, www.spacedge.com