A showcase of local talent, serviced apartment Tronum Sothearos has opened its doors more than five years after construction work began.
Work on the 10-storey development, located adjacent from the White Building on Sothearos Boulevard, has been ongoing since mid-2012 to perfect the ‘lifestyle experience’ desired by Seng Vannak, chief architect of Vannak Architects, who oversaw the building’s design.
Vannak, a Cambodian, who worked as an architect in Paris for two years, made the decision to return to Phnom Penh after getting fed up with the red tape and bureaucratic planning committees in France.
Together with his business partner, Xavier Beaur, the men saw a market for luxury lifestyle living in Cambodia and started on the venture. Notably, Vannak also holds the title of deputy head of the Urban Management Division at Phnom Penh City Hall, and has worked on many urban projects promoting green spaces within the capital.
When unveiling the finished product at a media launch late last week, Vannak, whose sister owns the 580-square metre plot of land Tronum is built on, described his latest urban residential project as challenging and audacious.
“Had I thought sometime that I would fail? All the time. At each step of this building, I thought it would fail. Fortunately, my team has supported me from the beginning even though it is so difficult to believe in this project and I have considered this project as an experimental site,” said Vannak.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, great attention to detail was paid in the development of Tronum. In addition to the custom-made interior, construction and decorative materials used in this development are recyclable and were locally sourced and made.
Plants were taken from a nursery Vannak Architects started for the purpose of supplying the building, and furniture was handmade by a team of locals at their own workshop.
According to Vannak, a source of inspiration for the project was the architecture in Phnom Penh during the 1960s, specifically the iconic White Building on Sothearos Boulevard. Khmer architecture, which uses natural materials such as wood for houses, also influenced his conceptualisation of Tronum.
Greenery is featured heavily on the building’s exterior and also within the one, two and three-bedroom units that come fully furnished.
“One of the most important components of this building is the greenery,” Vannak said.
“I want to bring green things back into Phnom Penh because I grew up with a lot of greenery, but concrete structures are increasing [here]. The concept of how to bring greenery back into Phnom Penh depends on our will and fortunately, my job allows me to find a way to do it.”
Through Tronum, Vannak said he aimed to combine the old with the new, as well as find a balance between modern concrete structures and elements of nature.
“No unit is the same, just like our tenants who are highly affluent and sophisticated people with an individual and creative lifestyle,” said Vannak on the 14 customised units in the building.
He added that each level is named after a protected forest in Cambodia, while each unit is named after a tree in Cambodia as well. The four-room penthouse takes on the name of one of the biggest tree in Cambodia, Spong.
Tronum aims to provide differentiated and quality services for its tenants, with amenities including a rooftop restaurant and bar, a pool and jacuzzi, laundry and food shopping services, and an in-house spa.
Currently, there are only rental options available for Tronum, ranging from one night to a full year. Rents for each apartment differ. The monthly rent for the smallest one-room apartment – 80 square metres with a balcony – starts from $2,000 a month, while the sprawling penthouse at 300 square metres with four balconies will set a tenant back $9,500 a month.
Post Property understands that two of the units are already filled, while negotiations are under way for three other units.
The rooftop restaurant and bar are now officially open to the public.