The sleepy island state of Penang, just off the west coast of Malaysia had experienced its fair share of sudden tectonic shifts in the cultural, political and economic landscape over the last 200 years; British colonialism, Japanese imperialism, independence, opposition ruling, mass emigration and foreign direct investment. At the time of conception for G Hotel, the island had become Silicon Valley’s backyard.
With the hotel there was an opportunity for Penang to make a comeback on the global stage. Tourism was and had always been a crown jewel in its stable of economic activity. Penang is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The point is here is that globalisation is no stranger to the island.
The architects made it a mission to pave the cultural landscape, a counter-culture to the burdening obligation to romanticise the vernacular, an endless thread prevalent in the hospitality scene that undermined and numbed the senses of both locals and travelers. The contemporary style was meant to excite the senses and generate a buzz on global design culture, serving as a conduit between Penang and the world.
International Modern designer furniture stood in tandem with local artwork specially commissioned for the hotel. K2LD worked to demonstrate that an ecosystem of local and foreign influences could coexist to create a point of interest. Beneath the veneer of appearance, the island-ish air of informality and free spiritedness permeates through the spatial arrangement of familiar scenes. The reception is a long bar. The lobby is a living room.
The architects aimed to redefine the hotel in its absolute form into a cultural experience, a talking point and an exciting destination in its own right; to announce the new kid on the hip scene.