Under the blazing hot sun, the walk to Hotel Mono from the nearest Chinatown MRT Station exit feels a lot longer than just five minutes. So when the hotel’s distinct black and white façade with its charming Juliet balconies finally comes into view, I couldn’t help but expel a sigh of relief.
Walking through the automated door and into the air-conditioned confines of this boutique hotel, I can feel all sense of discomfort dissipate. With its allwhite palette, the latest boutique hotel in Singapore’s Chinatown is the perfect place for travelers looking for that balance between the pulsating cityscape and the quietude of a private space.
Tucked along a row of triple-storey conservation shophouses on Mosque Street, Hotel Mono boasts a massive labyrinthine-like space inside despite its humble entrance. Opening its doors on February 2017, this striking new landmark is a project by President Design awardwinning firm, Spacedge Designs helmed by its chief designer and founder, William Chan.
Making your way to your room, maneuvering one passage to another, can be both a challenging and exciting experience. Guests will delight in the picture-perfect corners, which are adorned with minimalistic furniture.
There are 46 rooms in total here and thanks to the hotel’s design approach, guests get to enjoy abodes that are spacious and comfortable. It’s no wonder that barely six months into its opening, Hotel Mono has been garnering rave reviews.
Amidst of the tacky neon lights and Chinese restaurateurs trying desperately to attract customers, the hotel’s duotone faćade stands out. Hotel Mono occupies six shophouses, which have been completely transformed in an extensive refurbishment by its appointed interior designer, Chan.
Catering to the design-conscious urban nomads, Hotel Mono’s statement-making black-and-white frontage poses an unusual sight to the vibrant city of Singapore. Unlike other buildings, its distinct division of two extreme monochromes — black and white — is certainly sensational in establishing a vivid design language.
“When coming out with the design language for the hotel, I wanted to throw away the rulebook. It’s important to create something that would stand out for not conforming to the standard expectations of what hotels should look like,” admits Chan.
The design relies heavily on simplicity, forgoing the common elements of tackiness and kitsch that are normally adopted by many boutique hotels. Looking thoughtful, Chan confides that most hotel designs are easily forgotten because they simply look the same. Not wanting to pander to the clichés of nostalgia and cultural references in Chinatown, the designer felt compelled to do something simple yet different, but at the same time, still be able to communicate the ‘Singapore identity’.
The interior designer was keen to iconise these prewar shophouses with a contemporary interpretation. Keeping the architectural elements intact, the modernisation heavily relies on the