Ministry of Design targets millennial travellers with COO concept hostel

Ministry of Design targets millennial travellers with COO concept hostel

In our next movie from the AHEAD Asia 2017 awards, Singapore architect Colin Seah explains the concept behind COO, a new hostel and bistro aimed at young, design-conscious travellers on a budget.

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

COO is a hostel and bistro in Tiong Bahru, Singapore. It won Seah's studio Ministry of Design the Visual Identity of the Year award at the AHEAD Asia 2017 awards last month.

"The idea was to create something that was affordable but also with a high design agenda," Seah says in the movie.

"Specifically, it is targeting millennial travellers, who are now very mobile with budget travel."

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

Tiong Bahru is a low-rise area of Singapore, built between the 1930s and 50s as public housing, but which now hosts a plethora of trendy bars and restaurants. Seah says the interior design of the project draws from the history of the area.

"The strategy was to create an abstraction inspired the local heritage and architecture from the neighbourhood," he explains.

"You'll see a series of screens which are inspired by window grilles from the 40s and 50s that the apartment buildings commonly used. And on the wallpaper there are sketches, graphic images and text that pertain to the food, culture and architecture of the neighbourhood."

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

Completed in December 2016, COO features a reception and bistro on the ground floor. There are 68 beds split across the 11 rooms on the upper floors, as well as a small terrace on the first floor.

"It's al fresco, naturally ventilated, so it's nice in the tropics," Seah says.

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

As well as doing the interior design, Ministry of Design defined the entire branding strategy for the hostel.

"We designed all the branding elements – the logo, the name cards, the menu in the bistro," Seah says. "And we art-directed the website."

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

Ministry of Design also designed a web application for the website called COO Connect, which allows guests to connect with other people staying at the hostel at the same time as them in advance of their stay.

"COO Connect allows guests to interact with each other digitally through chat groups, to continue the spirit of a hostel not just in a physical space but also digital," he says.

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design

If successful, Seah says his client intends to roll out many properties across Asia under the same brand.

"Tiong Bahru in Singapore is the first of what we hope will be many more to come," he explains.

"[The client is looking at] multiple properties in Singapore first, and then moving to the Southeast Asian region and maybe as far even as Australia."

Colin Seah, founder and design director of Ministry of Design
Colin Seah, founder and design director of Ministry of Design

This movie was produced by Dezeen for AHEAD. It was filmed at COO boutique hostel and bistro. All photography is by Edward Hendricks and courtesy of Ministry of Design.

More images

COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design
COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design
COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design
COO hostel and bistro by Ministry of Design