Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Architects open a café, hotel and design showroom

Architects open a café, hotel and design showroom

Ivan Tizianel from Asma Architects at Pages Café.
Ivan Tizianel from Asma Architects at Pages Café. Miranda Glasser

Architects open a café, hotel and design showroom

Asma, the architects behind Kantha Bopha’s conference centre, AHA restaurant and Bodia Spa, have opened a hotel, café and design showroom in the old ACE premises just off Wat Bo.

Set in a 1960s building, Pages incorporates Pages Rooms, Pages Café, Pages Design and Open Pages, an office rental space.

Pages is owned by Asma architects Lisa Ros and Ivan Tizianel, both educated at the Paris-Belleville School of Architecture, and engineer Bun Yalin.

The concept is for a place where “form and function meld, and where travelers, architects, engineers, teachers, students, neighbours, designers, artists and visitors may cohabit.”

The café at the front of the building is light and airy, with an urban chic feel to it – all exposed concrete walls coupled with stylish Asma-designed lamps, 60s-esque low armchairs, bright splashes of colour and a large aqua-coloured silkscreen print on the walls.

The interior of Pages Café.
The interior of Pages Café. JOHN MCDERMOTT

“We exposed the original columns and the walls, it’s a bit rough, it’s a nice contrast,” says Tizianel. “The walls have a nice texture. We wanted to keep as much of the original as possible.”

Pages Café has air-conditioning, but Tizianel says thanks to the building’s design they rarely need to use it – and indeed with the large windows, high ceilings and overhead fans the room feels perfectly cool.

“The concept is a bit 60s. We love that time when there was no air-conditioning, and people were smart enough to make a space for living with light, ventilation, and not too enclosed,” he says.

“Conditions in Southeast Asia are perfect for modern architecture – there is no clear limit between inside and outside. In Europe you have to make a really clear division with glass, protection from the elements, big walls – you have to completely enclose the rooms. Here, it’s not necessary.”

The foreground of the café also serves as the showroom for some of Asma’s products – mainly lamps and furniture – and items by French-Khmer designer Sirivan, including round mirrors with Art Deco-style sunburst-shaped bamboo frames, and cute yellow and rattan wastepaper bins. Architecture and design magazines are strewn across tables for customers to peruse.

“We’ve been working for such a long time here, and over the years we’ve designed furniture for different projects, so we decided to put it all in the same place,” says Tizianel.

The menu focuses on continental breakfast and brunch-type fare, such as croissants, chocolatines, and baguettes filled with mortadella, pate or Parma ham. There are also fresh juices, teas and coffees. In the future, Tizianel and Ros plan to serve good quality Cambodian food.

“Many people come in for breakfast,” says Tizianel. “The thing is when you live in Siem Reap and you don’t want to be in a crowded area like Pub Street, being here, just two minutes away, is quite nice.”

Behind the café is the hotel, comprising nine rooms and two small apartments. Decked out by Asma and Sirivan, all the rooms follow clean lines, with neutral grey and beige tones, and lots of natural light.

Rooms look out onto verdant views of banana trees, or the diminutive elegant swimming pool, and are a reasonable $40-$50, while the apartments are $70.

“They are all similar design,” says Tizianel. “We used a lot of material that we already had like the floor tiles, and the wood paneling behind the beds. We’ve done a lot of projects and we wanted to recycle as much as possible.”

Pages Café is open every day from 7am to 7pm.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hundreds of children in hospital with dengue

    A serious dengue fever epidemic is affecting Cambodia, with nearly 600 children hospitalised in the five Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals on Monday alone, a statement posted on the Kantha Bopha Foundation’s official Facebook page said on Wednesday. Because Kantha Bopha Children’s Hospitals provide

  • Sihanoukville building collapse death toll rises to 19

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng said on Sunday that the government will act against those responsible for the collapse of a seven-storey building in Sihanoukville on Saturday, which resulted in 19 dead and 24 injured as of Sunday evening. Sar Kheng said three Chinese nationals and one

  • Gov’t to probe Chinese exports to US via Sihanoukville

    The government is investigating allegations that Chinese companies are using Chinese-owned special economic zones in Cambodia to export goods to the US and avoid tariffs, said Ministry of Commerce spokesman Seang Thay. The move comes after US embassy spokesman Arend Zwartjes said the US had

  • Banh: The Khmer Rouge worse than sanctions and pressure

    Minister of National Defence Tea Banh said on Thursday that having sanctions and external pressure placed on Cambodia was not worse than life under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime. Tea Banh, who is also deputy prime minister, was speaking to military and ruling party officials