Wilson Associates recently completed MO Bar, a luxurious, yet multi-functional, bar and lounge located within the five-star Mandarin Oriental in the heart of Singapore's Marina Bay. With surrounding views of Marina Bay, MO Bar offers high tea in the afternoon and cocktails in the evening-both menu selections are influenced by the flavors and aromas of the region.
Commissioned by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group to overhaul the 7,534-square-foot bar area, Wilson Associates drew its design inspiration from Malaysian tribal culture, in particular from "orang laut," which in Malay means "sea nomads." This ethnic group of Malay origin is known for living almost entirely at sea for centuries at a time, and are some of the last true nomads of the ocean. Infusing Malaysian tribal culture into the space, the team explored ways to showcase the sea nomads' way of life, featuring the relationship with the water, as well as local tales of the ocean, moon, and stars.
Wilson Associates brought in natural materials and fauna like plants from the Philippines, which are embedded into the resin of the coffee tabletops to create a rustic, yet refined feel. Incorporating the visual language inspired by nomadic symbols, the design team conceived a ceiling lattice and movable lattice screen inside the VIP area-based on nomadic tribal tattoo patterns-as well as wave-like materials at the counter base of the main bar. Sourced from New Zealand, China, and Europe, the artwork shares global-inspired themes that complement the overall design aesthetic.
"Singapore is a diverse society where individuals from all around the world bring with them Malaysian, Chinese, Indian, and European influences," said Tiffany Chia, Senior Designer, Wilson Associates' Singapore studio. "A majority of the materials used were sourced in Singapore due to the project's time sensitivity, also presenting an opportunity to further ground the project in Malaysian culture."
The defining highlight of MO Bar is the bar's marble countertop, achieved from the latest breakthrough technology. Slabs of marble were cut and bent to form one piece, creating one continuous bar countertop. Additionally, the design team implemented a wave-washed-up effect that ties into the coastal tribe culture. Symbols of local seamen were imprinted on the ceiling and sliding panel and can be found on the staff uniforms, further enforcing this motif.
Photos: Courtesy of Wilson Associates