Singapore-based architecture firm Ministry of Design has transformed five Malaysian shophouses into a boutique hotel in Penang’s George Town – a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring a mix of colonial-style architecture. Harking back to the romance of the early 1900’s, Loke Thye Kee Residences recalls the spirit of a bygone era but adds its own contemporary twist to modernize the living experience.


Set in 5 pre-war shophouses characteristic of Georgetown, Loke Thye Kee Residences complements the 100-year-old Loke Thye Kee restaurant next door by providing 5 suites for both long and short-term guests. Designed amidst the footprint of the traditional shophouse courtyard and alleyway, each of the 5 suites is preluded by a lush garden forecourt and an intimate private balcony.


The suites are furnished with soaring pitch roofs and all suites are well appointed with living areas and full facility pantry spaces. The traditional meets the contemporary on several levels, from the materiality to the spatial experience. Traditional timber hardwood floors are contrasted with customized contemporary fixtures that are designed to appear as if levitating.


The rough texture of the original brick walls are visually enlivened by hidden LED cove lighting and the typically enclosed vanity and wardrobe spaces are celebrated as transparent glass boxes which seamlessly extend into the rest of the room. Floor rugs, cushion fabrics and furniture pieces were chosen to reflect the central theme of adding a contemporary twist to the traditional.


MOD also designed all the branding and in-room collateral in order to provide a holistic experience. Local artist Ch’ng Kiah Kiean was also commissioned to create nine original pieces for each suite that reflected the spirit of historic Penang framed in a modern way.

 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-5 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-6 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-7 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-8 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-9 loke-thye-kee-residences-by-ministry-of-design-penang-malaysia-10

all images © Edward Hendricks – CI&A Photography / courtesy of Ministry of Design