Having recently received the ‘Gold Award’ in the Architecture, New Build category at Sleeper Magazine’s inaugural 2015 Asia Hotel Design Awards, it seemed the perfect moment to tell you the inside story about the sustainable design of the Aqua Mekong.
Saigon-based architectural firm, Noor Design, custom-designed this luxurious cruiseship – in true, sustainable style. Noor designers David Hodkinson and Luc Lejeune worked tirelessly on the detailed specifications for this project, drawing inspiration from local Southeast Asian cultures and traditions and tapping into to locally sourced materials and building techniques.
The exterior deck of the Aqua Mekong has been made entirely from Reysta or recycled rice husk and vegetable oil which has been pressed into board to give the appearance of tropical hardwood. This recyclable material has won awards for its sustainability as a material and has many functional advantages for the vessel – it repels water, which prohibits swelling, warping and splintering of the deck areas, and it lacks the compound lignin which normally causes greying and fading of decks, ensuring that the Aqua Mekong’s deck will maintain its beautiful hardwood appearance and color over time.
Hodkinson’s Indochine-influenced interiors on the ship are built entirely of local sustainable materials and combine natural fibers from the surrounding environment with artisanal touches of the Mekong’s many cultures. These include:
- Lacquer: The large, bespoke lacquer panelling in the entrance lobby was manufactured using traditional methods requiring several week to apply and to cure.
- Rattan wallpaper: This distinctive textural finish communicates a distinctively Asian sense of place to guests when relaxing in the comfort of their cabins.
- Cambodian Silk: An elegant feature used throughout the boat, in particular for the acoustic panelling in the spa.
- Jim Thompson Thai silk: A delicate touch used for the decorative cushions in the cabins.
- Tiling: Handmade tiles from Thailand used to decorate the sleek en-suite bathrooms.
- Malaysian Ekowood: A local wood used to adorn the floors throughout the ship.
Noor Design also sourced furniture designed and manufactured across the region with bespoke pieces being custom-made in Vietnam, antique pieces sourced in Vietnam and Cambodia with other pieces sourced from Indonesia and outdoor furniture from Kenkoon in Thailand.