Royal Selangor, KL

Architect: Zone

The enhancement of Royal Selangor’s highly successful visitor centre and factory facilities. The project required the accommodation of increased numbers of tourist visitors arriving on tour buses; their guidance through the facility; a new exhibition / museum installation; a view of the working factory; a hands-on experience of working with pewter, a café and a large retail space.

The arrival area was conceived as a generous high-volume, naturally ventilated semi-enclosed lobby also to be used for events, with an adjacent water pool for cooling and reflectance. This steel and glass, structure was to provide a new contemporary face to a long established traditional company. Much of the remaining accommodation was ‘inserted’ into the original collection of warehouse-style buildings.

Visitors are drawn efficiently into the building via an inclined travelator to a new mezzanine floor housing the exhibition space. Here, natural light is kept to a minimum to allow full control of the artificial lighting of the permanent exhibition, the exhibits of which were also the work of HLDG. Visitors are eventually guided down a gentle ramp which plunges deep into the working factory space for close observation of the craftsmen who are at the core of the business, and which then turns back again to the more public realm of the central axis from which their tour began.

The circulation and its change of levels has allowed a degree of visual interaction between the public and private nature of the project whilst maintaining the security of the building for a business which involves valuable raw materials and sometimes trade secrets. The project preserved much of the original factory and construction took place with minimal disruption to both existing structure and the continuation of factory production.

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