La Maison Bleu
Built by Cheong Fatt Tze “one of China’s last Mandarins and first Capitalists” this flamboyant masterpiece of 38 rooms, 5 courtyards and 7 staircases was acquired in 1990 with the aim of restoring it from its dilapidated state into an authentic original form. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has an eclectic style typical of 19th Century Straits Settlement architecture: a Chinese floor plan combines with Gothic louvred windows, Chinese qian-nian porcelain works with Stoke-on-Trent floor tiles, and Scottish cast iron works with Art Nouveau stained glass windows. It is said that the aura and “Chi” of the man pervades the whole building.
For architects and lovers of our building heritage, it is re-assuring to see that the restored building has found a new use and earns its upkeep as a heritage hotel and events venue. It has recently expanded its repertoire to include fine dining in the upstairs front rooms - done thoughtfully and sensitively, this form of adaptive reuse will guarantee the preservation of our heritage buildings for generations to come.
Old man Cheong would have approved of this.