Bengkulu is the capital of Indonesia province of Bengkulu. The city is the second largest on the west coast of Sumatra Island after Padang. During the European colonialism era, Bengkulu becomes the commercial centre for the region, focusing on spice trade.
This resulted in the growth of the area, for its economy and culture as well as its maritime transportation.
The initial concept of the public area in Mercure Bengkulu is the port itself, where the area is divided to few zones but still in accordance with one another. The idea is inspired from Port Malborough, build by the British during the colonialism era. It is considered a centre point of the city and was always busy with people.
The reception area resemblance an immigration counter at the port. This is considered a high privacy area, where usually confidential documents were presented. Therefor partitions were placed in this area to create a semi-private ambiance for the guest to check in to the hotel. The patterns on the surface of each partition also came from a local craft of Kulit Lantung.
The whole hotel interior design concept of this reception area is to create a casual space. For when it’s not in use, it could be functioned for other purposes. It is why the decision came to put a communal desk so people can spend some time or even do some work in there. An open space concept also used in the area, the guest could have a broad view to the whole space without being hindered by wall.
Upon entering the lobby area, the guest will be greeted with a thick, yet fun and colourful ethnic design. This is presented with the local batik pattern of Batik Besurek made from rattan weaving and are beautifully hanged on the ceiling.
This rattan ornament will then guide the guest to the next area, a casual open bar. This was inspired by the festive feel of a market, where people trade, buy some produce, and spend some time just for a bite and gathering with others. Therefore, the use of bright colour tiles is the main approach to enhance the market theme. Complemented by hanging shelves with display of bottles and green plants and the pop accent of orange coloured high chair. The whole combination speaks of a lively vibe that represent a marketplace.
Another area beside the bar is the garden, a more playful and casual continuation form the market. Furniture plays a huge role in this space, starting from sofa, high chair, stool and mostly are outdoor type of furniture hotel interior design in order to bring the outdoor feel to the indoor area. With touch of Batik accessories, it connects the whole design into one.
Colonial theme is heavily implied throughout the interior design of public area inside Mercure Bengkulu. Curved design on the pillars, patterned flooring, black linings and the contrast of dark and light colour is the core element of colonial design, with the main colour used of taupe, a dark grey-brown colour. Curved arch design also implemented throughout the space. Attractive wood louvre also installed along the wall in the lobby and dining area, which is also one main characteristic of colonial design.
The main spotlight of colonial style can be seen in the all-day dining area. The focal point is a triangular structure, inspired by a lighthouse, that serves as main food display during the dining time and could be converted into seating arrangement during slow hours. The used of patterned tiles also serves as guide for the guest to walk around the area. Beige and wood colour are mainly used in the area to give a more warmth dining experience to the guest. Blue colour was used on one side of the wall as an accent and also as an extension to the whole design theme, and also to let the guest know where the food displays located.
Through their chain in Bengkulu, Mercure wants a more casual design applied in this hotel. Specially to gain a younger audience, so that the hotel would be a destination place for hangout and gathering and not just an accommodation. And heavily inspired by its position as a port during the colonialism era, the hotel interior design of Mercure Bengkulu comes with a fusion of local and colonial culture. With all of this combined, the result is a perfect balance of modern ethnicity interior design that still in-line with the identity of the brand itself.