One of the most well-known boutique hotel chains in the world, Andaz Hotels, has finally opened an outpost in Singapore. It’s the first in the Southeast Asian region, offers 342 guest rooms and suites, and is centrally located in between Bugis and Kampong Glam, perfect for Andaz Hotel Singapore to offer its unique brand of cultural and social experiences.
The magic of Andaz Hotels is in its architecture and cleverly-designed guest experience. We chat with famous architect Andre Fu and the mastermind of Andaz Hotel Singapore on his inspirations, thoughts and what else he would love to design.
You’re famous for The Upper House experience with no check-ins. What about the Andaz Singapore experience? What did you create for the guests that would stick with them?
I fashioned Andaz Singapore as a multi-layered cultural journey that conveys relaxed luxury yet captures the vibrant atmosphere of local areas such as Kampong Glam and Bras Basah Bugis, having drawn inspirations from a typical shophouse alley.
As guests explore the hotel, they will experience a strong sense of discovery – an experience that is quintessential to Singapore’s distinct juxtaposition of cultures. The expression of urbanity and the use of bold colours – from terra cotta, aubergine, olive greens and cumin yellow is also a very refreshing take on hospitality for me.
What was your main design inspiration for Andaz Singapore?
I drew inspiration from the hotel’s dynamic location and the neighbourhood’s eclectic passageways and shophouse experiences. Our goal has been to re-interpret these qualities to create a Singapore-style alleyway experience. The intention is not to replicate the experience, but finding a means to capture the spirit of it with an emphasis on modernity. The intricate play of intimate proportions within the alleys evoke a sense of discovery and each shophouse is given its own personality and character. I personally believe this is an experience that is unique to Singapore.
In keeping with the alley concept, the experience of the guestroom embraces the neighborhood spirit. Conceived as a contemporary bungalow, I’ve introduced whimsical moments throughout the room – from the entrance doorbell that is housed in a bespoke post-box, the slender shop-house doors in bold mango yellow to the floor-to-ceiling ivory paneling.
The room experience is also punctuated with ethnic touches in aubergine and mud tangerine to celebrate Singapore as a city where multiple cultures amalgamate.
If you had to pick one particular feature from Andaz Singapore that you are most fond of, what would it be?
The use of tropical plants within the hotel experience and how the way the curation of plants expresses a strong feeling of outdoor throughout.
How does design inspiration come to you? How do you get over “design block”?
I have always been asked about my source of design inspirations – I believe it comes from my instinctive experience of everything that I encounter on a daily basis. Each moment is captured as a pixel in my mind and I shall pull it out when it feels appropriate. Design for me is a very organic experience.
Who are some of your architecture heroes?
Gio Ponti, Peter Zumthor and John Morford.
What does luxury mean to you?
Luxury to me, is having a moment of stillness and not have so much on my mind. It’s a nice feeling having time to be really focused on a particular subject with the absence of distraction.
If given a chance, what else would you like to design other than hotels?
A public park. Perhaps I have always been fascinated with the artistic expression in the realms of landscaping—the layering that we can bring into the design of a public park and its potential engagement with the public on a day-to-day basis.
At the end of your career, what would you like to be remembered for?
An architect that creates places of calm and comfort.