SEKEPING Tenggiri in Kuala Lumpur is a guesthouse with a difference.
Landscape architect Ng Sek San initially converted two houses at 46-48 Jalan Tenggiri in Bangsar into a warehouse to store his personal art collection. But a section of that space has now been transformed into a unique seven-room guesthouse.
For between RM200 and RM250 per room, depending on size, visitors can stay next door to Ng’s private gallery. The gallery can be viewed on appointment.
“Sekeping Tenggiri is an experimentation of my core philosophy, [which is to try] to define an aesthetic of the impoverished third world that I operate in. [It is] an aesthetic which I hope is more relevant in this region,” Ng tells The Nut Graph in an e-mail interview on 28 Jan 2010.
Ng reckons that many of the new opulent houses tend to borrow aesthetics from “alien cultures like an Italian villa or a French chateau”, which he finds “very foreign and obnoxious”. As such, he says, Sekeping Tenggiri attempts to draw inspiration from local squatter villages and the small semi-permanent village houses.
“There are some very elegant lessons I take away whenever I explore one of these marginalised communities,” Ng explains. “The way eclectic spaces are allowed to fit into each other; the way shadows are allowed to pattern the walls and floors; the way simple local materials are used to achieve a texture and patina of canvas-like old masters; the way the layers of history are allowed to reveal themselves in their carefree ruinous process … I find these things very beautiful and worthwhile replicating.”
A key aspect of the guesthouse is exposure to nature and the outdoors. “I generally like to open up houses to improve cross-ventilation and the light quality of the interior spaces,” Ng says.
“The garden is considered the most important room of the house, and therefore is easily accessible from all the interior spaces. The open nature of the house is also about creating the illusion that a small house looks bigger than it is by borrowing spaces from the outdoors.”
In addition, Ng and his wife Carolyn Lau have reused materials in the construction of the guesthouse. Doors and timber that are more than 50 years old have been recycled from older houses. Lau has also used Yakult plastic bottles, cat food tin cans, food trays and milk cartons to fashion lamp shades and other decorations.
“These [recycled materials] have more character, and I just like the idea of extending their life spans,” Ng says.
Sekeping Tenggiri is open 24 hours. For bookings or more information, visit www.tenggiri.com, call 017-207 5977 or fax 03-7958 6375.
All photos above are by Ng Sek San, unless stated otherwise, and are courtesy of him.