FCC Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh, Cambodia,
Interiors, 35 rooms, 2800 sqm,
Collaboration with ASMA architects
‘A new wing connects and complement the mansion and the riverside building’
Room styling by Nataly Lee / Saart Design
The foreign correspondent Club, Phnom Penh, 2021
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Phnom Penh embodies the main markers of the FCC Collection brand crafting a unique experience that crystallizes history and sense of place through an innovative approach to heritage preservation. The aim of the project is to intensify the layers of history inside the mansion to create an awareness of time for the visitor.
Founded on the warmth and comradery of the Global Journalist, adventure seeking, infinitely curious and consummate storytellers , the FCC Phnom Penh is a non generic hotel that dialog with its surrounding to create an unique experience.
Along the riverside, the FCC restaurant is renovated to consolidate its position as a social hub of Phnom Penh. Moreover, the unique signature bar and club spirit of the FCC will be complemented with new open air public amenities such as an open gallery, an atrium in the center of the block, a garden terrace overlooking the mansion and the museum.
The mansion on the other side of the block is renovated as well and the ground floor will be a more intimate social space anchored in heritage, a hidden retreat in the center of Phnom Penh, keeping its domestic scale.
This accumulation of facilities ont the hotel are there to create a cinematic experience, each of these spaces is linked to the next and offer to the visitor surprising new facets of the FCC while respecting its architectural DNA.
The Hotel celebrates the importance of a contemporary approach of preservation as well as the role of hoteliers in this matter. In that regards the main criteria was to avoid pastiche or an outdated approach, at the era of internet, affordable flights and Hollywood movies. The beauty of the mansion comes from the fact it is an artifact of the past, which traveled through different era and now reveals the layering of time. The mansion is itself part of history, not an artificial recreation of something that existed at one period of time.
In order to preserve the building we are bringing a modern use thus making necessary transformations to the built structure. It is a renovation which is not a restoration but a contemporary interpretation.
The design is eclectic, the aim was to show the layers of time and curate them to create a timeless atmosphere. It clearly assumes that we live in the here and now and that the colonial period is a feature which is part of the DNA of the building. While details of the existing mansion bring the visitor back in time, all new additions are contemporary in their form but the patina of the materiality we chose will blend them seamlessly with the existing creating a consistent atmosphere. A particular care was given to the guest entrance through the main foyer of the villa.
In all parts of the property, a selection of locally available materials show the effects of time such a copper, brass, wood, marble and cement tiles. This patina will be reflected as well in the custom artwork decorating the hotel which will be a collaboration with a local artist Theo Vallier who works on recreating timeless scenes on oxidized metals.
The walls will be all painted with lime paint as it was the case in the colonial period, providing more texture and nuances than a typical paint. Earthy tones found in the old pictures of Al Rockoff were chosen to marry organic and chic. The decoration of the public spaces and the room need to be locally relevant with global savvy.
Genuine, cultured, the interior styling should embody the traveling experience and puts us in the place of a Writer or journalist in Cambodia. The room should feel homey the atmosphere warm and personal. Just Right, not forced, an accessible luxury through committed, relaxed, personalized service. Hence we have designed the rooms like residential interiors in the attempt to keep a domestic feel. Simple bedrooms offer a maximum of light, bright and curated with a contemporary Cambodian spirit, sophisticated yet unpretentious. The furniture will be composed of a mix of contemporary furniture and Cambodian inspired furniture.
Antoine Meinnel / Bloom Architecture Co. Ltd.
Team: Antoine Meinnel, Antoine Contour, Heng Thanak, Heng Sereyvathana, Pak Chantha
With ASMA Architects, styling by Nataly Lee, SAART STUDIO