After stumbling across the kitschy-meets-surreal Wanderlust hotel while picking up lentils and spices in Little India–a neighborhood better known for backpacker-friendly hostels and cheap, delicious food than hip boutique hotels–the blogger behind Notabilia (“an artsy crafty New Yorker living in Singapore”) sent me a full design report.
Here’s what she had to say:
I peeked into the lobby and was captivated by the wall découpaged with vintage labels from products once sold in the neighborhood. Then, a tour.
There’s a funky lobby with a mish-mash of furniture: Barbershop chairs, a foosball table, a Frank Gehry sofa, a floor vase with pussy willows and red decorations as a nod to the forthcoming Chinese New Year. From there, four uniquely designed floors, each more over-the-top than the last. Each level was conceived and executed by a different local design firm. I loved the tiny, single-color rooms on the second floor (“Eccentricity”) designed by graphic design studio, :phunk, and the dichromatic origami- and pop-up-art-inspired rooms on the third floor (“Is it Just Black and White?”) by DP Architects.
Vestiges of the original building, which once housed the Hong Wen School (one of Singapore’s oldest Chinese schools) are still visible. A feature of a Singapore’s shophouse is the atrium around a central courtyard. It serves as an air well for ventilating the often long and narrow building. At Wanderlust, this space was turned into an airy, minimalist hanging garden, visible from the hotel’s glass elevator.