The RuMa Hotel and Spa is a 253-room development in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Located in the vibrant heart of the city’s Golden Triangle, the hotel features dramatic views of the iconic Petronas twin towers. The hotel takes great inspiration from the country’s heritage, offering a contemporary interpretation of Malaysia’s colonial past, with an additional, more homely touch. The name of the hotel, RuMa, is itself derived from the Malay word for ‘home. As such, the design and conceptual approach for the hotel was based around a home that captures, in spirit, the houses of a bygone era, but with a very contemporary take.

The dramatic entry vestibule, comprised of a circular array of terracotta half pipes, is a reference to the bird cages often associated with tin mining. These pipes are backlit to create a dramatic backdrop and blur the boundary between what is architecture and what is light object.

The lobby with its specular copper ceiling has light fittings designed by the lighting designers to appear as stalactites forming out of the ceiling. This copper ceiling is understood as being lit only via indirect light from the adjacent stone walls to avoid any glare.

One of the main inspirations was the use of the Kelari screens, a traditional weaving technique, that gets a modern interpretation here and is reinterpreted in scale, materiality, and complexity throughout the hotel. These screens are carefully lit to create silhouettes, texture making patterns or, to reveal their texture when accented from the front.

The material palette is exclusively in warm tones, and carefully controlled colour temperatures and deep dimming creates a level of comfort and respite reminiscent of the cosiness of one’s own home, or perhaps the ideal ambiance of one’s future home.

Consistent warm light that transitions from warm to very warm late into the evening enhances further the intimateness of this boutique hotel and layering through multiple screening and the play of shadows and texture makes for subtle but interesting variations for guests to discover.

The design for the Ruma focusses on carefully integrated lighting that is always aimed at making the interior of the architecture expressions appear as natural and interesting as possible. The design of customised light fittings that closely follow the interior material palate feel seamlessly part of the interior design, which makes for a series of spaces that feel clam, elegant, cosy, welcoming, and well… homely.


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