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Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion - My Indie World

Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion

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Cheong Fatt Tze – The Blue Mansion

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Café Mangga
A casual, laidback cafe underneath an old mango tree. Open 8am-6pm daily. Explore
The Blue Mansion
The quintessential boutique hotel with a collection of suites and town houses. Explore
Indigo at The Blue Mansion
Chef Jack blends his hometown flavours with global accents in this dining experience, inspired by Cheong Fatt Tze himself. Explore
Self Guided Audio Tour
A do-it-yourself tour at your own time and pace, smartphone and headphones required. Book Now
Daily Guided Tour
Step back into time, learn from a guide about the man whose vision brought this grand home to fruition, and how it came to be. Book Now

Gallery

About Architect Laurence Loh

 

No photo description available.
Laurence Loh, an alumnus of the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London, established his firm, Arkitek LLA Sdn Bhd, in Penang. Having studied near the mansion during his time at St Xavier’s Institution, Loh had a personal connection to the building. Driven by his passion for heritage design and a deep commitment to preservation, Loh, along with like-minded individuals, decided to rescue the mansion from its uncertain fate. Despite having limited knowledge of conservation at the time, Loh courageously embarked on the adventure of a lifetime—to restore the Blue Mansion to its former grandeur.

Without prior training, Laurence learnt on the job, so to speak. Most importantly, he had a very clear vision of how he wanted it to be – a place that one wants to return to again and again.

Through Loh’s unwavering dedication and meticulous efforts, the restoration project proved to be a resounding success. The Blue Mansion was eventually recognized as the Most Excellent Project in UNESCO’s Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards in 2000, solidifying Loh’s achievement and the mansion’s significance as a cultural gem. This remarkable accomplishment stands as a testament to Loh’s visionary spirit, as he transformed the mansion into a symbol of architectural excellence and a triumph of preservation.

 

Made with Love

In the late 19th century, the great tycoon Cheong Fatt Tze aspired to build a house that would house his descendants in majestic elegance. The era’s leading Feng Shui master was consulted; artisans shipped in from Southern China; materials brought in from as far as Scotland. The result is a unique, eclectic, five-courtyard architectural stunner.

Rockfeller of the East, J.P. Morgan of China and the Last Mandarin & First Capitalst of Chine – these names and salutations bear only a fragment of Cheong Fatt Tze’s well-rounded stature and personality.

After Cheong’s passing in 1916, the mansion fell into gradual disrepair and after the passing of his last son, it was sold to a small group of Penang conservationists passionate about restoring the mansion to its former glory.

Today, the mansion is one of George Town’s most iconic and most visited attractions – guests do the daily historic tour, dine at its restaurants, or choose to stay in one of 18 rooms and 2 townhouses.

Fuelled with Passion

Leading the restoration team, architect Laurence Loh sought to tread lightly and touch softly, spending six years in a detailed process to preserve as much as possible of the original structure. What needed restoration or replacement was done with the view to retain traditional methods, such as the Chien Nien cut and paste artworks decorating the gables.

Primarily using Penang artisans and local materials, the principle approach was to retain with the application of traditional methods, with minimal modern interventions in line with the restorative philosophy of ‘treading lightly and touching softly’

Laurence is captivated by conservation on multiple levels. The essence of conservation, encompassed in a single word, holds immense power to tell countless tales and evoke a wide array of connotations. It acts as a portal, leading us through myriad doorways to the past where myths and memories hold sway. Engaging in the act of conserving the past requires a deep understanding of cultural values, design, materials, and the craftsmanship of bygone eras.

For Laurence, conservation demands a high level of competence and knowledge encompassing principles, charters, and various approaches that guide the preservation process. It requires a willingness to immerse oneself fully, getting hands dirty and actively participating in the work at hand. In the realm of conservation, one must also be a leader, inspiring others and paving the way for meaningful preservation efforts.

The allure of conservation lies in its ability to unlock the stories and traditions embedded within our cultural heritage. Laurence recognizes the importance of cherishing and safeguarding these legacies for future generations. Conservation becomes a profound bridge connecting us to our roots, reminding us of the value and significance of our shared history.

 

Driven by Purpose

 

The Mansion embodies a confluence of Hakka and Teochew styles along with intrinsic Southern Chinese typologies and materials and seeks to maintain its status not just as the city’s premier attraction and hotel, but also as a world-renowned architectural wonder, sharing the beauty and energy of the mansion through not just its tours, accommodations and restaurants but also through its unique offerings at the gift shop, and a curated calendar of exciting arts and culture events such as musical performances, plays and exhibitions , so as to continue to inspire as many as possible.


Photo by Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge

Quoting from an interview, Launrence shared, “We advocate placing heritage at the core of sustainable development and strive to align our work and buildings with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 11. Our aim is to create cities and human settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.”

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