“Open House” is a tradition in multi-cultural Malaysia where people of all races and religions open their homes to friends, family, and guests over festive periods to celebrate and enjoy the many exquisite and exotic cuisines on offer here. OpenHouse strives to capture that festive spirit, the multi-cultural richness, and the celebration of food that is such an integral part of the local culture. The menu of OpenHouse is exciting and exotic, including “generational recipes”, using long forgotten ingredients, local forage and jungle produce; additionally, in order to create a good customer experience, the company decided to create a restaurant interior which needed to be as rich and diverse as the menu it celebrates.
Quirk & Associates avoided clichés when translating a Malaysian identity into interior experiences; this is why it crafted a series of stories rooted in local culture, but abstract in their representation : indeed, colours, textures, and silhouettes all come together in an eclectic installation of over 500 individual objects, representing the diverse story that is Malaysia through a series of interconnected spaces with unique personalities.
Moreover, the design’s palette represents Malay, Chinese, Indian, Peranakan, colonial and indigenous cultures here, from the spirit of the rural kampungs on the South China Sea to the bustling trading port for silks and spices that once was Melaka. Maximalism was the company’s objective; restraint became a tool in making this all work. 170 fabrics have been selected from a shortlist of 500, where subtle nuances of colour and texture were examined to find that fine balance between chaos and chemistry. Malaysia is modernising rapidly, yet still so culturally diverse; therefore, the brand wanted to capture that dichotomy into the interior, with something that felt fresh yet always familiar. Understanding how the many cultures here are interwoven in peoples’ daily lives became key to weave a similar dynamic in their experience here. Details make the difference thanks to the usage of hand beaten brass lamps, reminiscent of the Merenjis in Malay wedding ceremonies; woven macramé screens, inspired by the Charpoy rope beds of rural plantations; custom furniture items, with as many as 8 on a single piece; and finally, hand painted wallpapers.
To conclude, in a final twist of subtle humour, the “smoking room” is a tongue in cheek representation of Malaysia’s colonial past, where rich leathers and velvets adorn the panelled library of an old colonial interior, panelled entirely in a “preserved by fire” charcoal timber known as Shou Sugi Ban.