In recent years, there has been a growing trend in Southeast Asian countries to transform heritage landmarks and deserted infrastructures into food and beverage outlets. From colonial-era buildings to traditional marketplaces, these heritage sites are being revitalized as vibrant culinary destinations that preserve local culture and attract tourists and locals alike.
This technique of re-building and restoring these magnificent infrastructure destinations is called 'Adaptive Reuse'.
What is 'Adaptive Reuse'?
Adaptive reuse refers to the process of reusing an existing building for a purpose other than which it was originally built or designed for. The main benefits of adaptive reuse include preserving historical and cultural heritage, transforming neglected areas into vibrant communities, and promoting social change.
Adaptive reuse concept conserves resources and can breathe new life into neglected or underutilized spaces. A space that confides the history and adds a new character to a place.
Starbucks Kampot, Cambodia
The Starbucks Kampot – Fish Market was one of the first infrastructures to undergo refurbishment in Cambodia. The food and beverage establishment featured a unique architectural style that combines local materials and motifs with Starbucks' signature branding. The store's interior includes wooden accents and greenery inspired by Kampot's natural surroundings while also incorporating Starbucks' signature green color. With a blend of modern and traditional design, this revitalized infrastructure was once a "Fish Market" (ផ្សារត្រី) or wet market that has stood in the heart of Kampot City since the French colonial era back in the 1930s.
This store is part of Starbucks' expansion into the Southeast Asia market as it seeks to tap into the region's growing demand for coffee and premium hospitality experiences. The adaptive reuse of a historic building in the heart of Kampot highlights how businesses can leverage local culture and history to attract sustainable tourism while contributing to the preservation of architectural heritage.
Address: Starbucks Fish Market
Sarnies Bangkok, Thailand
Sarnies Bangkok is a franchise of a coffee shop based originally in Singapore. In 2018, they set up an outpost in Bangkok, Thailand. The coffee shop serves food paired with drinks of contemporary and a fusion of Thai and Australian cuisines. Originally, a two-story boat repair shop that had been abandoned for 150 years was converted into a coffee shop on Charoenkrung Road, Bangkok. By preserving the building's original design and repurposing it for a new use, Sarnies has not only created a unique and memorable dining experience for its customers but has also contributed to the revitalization of the surrounding area.
What started off as a boat-repair shop now serves as a coffee shop as well as a place for locals and tourists to get traditional local food with a fusion twist. The use of locally sourced ingredients and freshly roasted coffee further enhances the hospitality aspect by providing guests with high-quality, delicious meals and drinks. Sarnies Bangkok's adaptive reuse initiative showcases the potential for transforming underutilized spaces into vibrant and successful food and beverage establishments.
Address: Sarnies Bangkok
Place de la Poste (Van’s Restaurant), Cambodia
Nestled beside the iconic Wat Phnom in the heart of Phnom Penh lies Palais de la Poste, formerly known as Van's Restaurant. This French-European fine dining establishment boasts a rich history dating back to the late 1800s when it served as both the French Protectorate and the Bank of Indochina. The Van's family later reacquired the estate and transformed the site into a gastronomic haven in 2007, showcasing their expertise in hospitality in food and beverage.
Source: Google Maps Images
Palais de la Poste's adaptive reuse is a testament to the city's evolution, preserving Cambodia's heritage and history while offering a luxurious dining experience to patrons. The location's decor is adorned with elegance and a serene garden setting that transports diners to a world of sophistication and refinement. Palais de la Poste's commitment to hospitality and culinary excellence has earned it a reputation as one of the premier dining destinations in Phnom Penh.
Address: Palais de la Poste
FCC Angkor by Avani, Cambodia
FCC Angkor by Avani is a 4 stars hotel and resort that combines colonial heritage with modern charm, situated in the lively and historic city of Siem Reap, Cambodia. This site once stood as the grand mansion of a French colonial governor, which later transformed into the renowned Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) – a spot where international journalists and notable figures gathered. Today, it stands to provide a majestic experience for local and global travelers to enjoy the historic estate.
The hotel provides exceptional food and beverage, showcasing both Khmer cuisine and international dishes. This array of dishes offered not only enhances guests' experiences but also pays homage to Siem Reap's vibrant food culture. FCC Angkor by Avani demonstrates its dedication to preserving the region's architectural heritage through the adaptive reuse of the historic site. The restoration process prioritized maintaining the cultural foundations of the property and its community and was under the guidance of Malee Whitcraft and Bloom Architecture.
From a former governor's mansion to FCC estate, now a luxurious hospitality destination, it successfully merges the area's rich history with contemporary comforts, delivering an unforgettable stay for its guests.
Address: FCC Angkor by Avani
Royal Train Cafe (កាហ្វេរថភ្លើង), Cambodia
The Royal Train Cafe (កាហ្វេរថភ្លើង), still an operating bustling railway station located in the middle of Phnom Penh city, has been transformed into a cozy coffee shop that transports patrons back in time. The cafe's vintage decor, including antique train carriages, steam engines, and railway memorabilia, creates a unique ambience that blends history with modern hospitality. The menu offers a variety of beverages, snacks, and light meals, making it an ideal spot for travelers, locals, or anyone seeking a 'back to the oldies' experience in Cambodia.
The adaptive reuse of this historic site demonstrates the potential for transforming underutilized spaces into thriving businesses, showcasing the creativity of the hospitality industry in repurposing old structures for new uses that cater both to history buffs and contemporary tastes.
Address: Royal Train Cafe (កាហ្វេរថភ្លើង)
The Cafe Apartments, Vietnam
The Cafe Apartment is located in Ho Chi Minh City. With original purpose was a 9-story apartment block rented out for tenants, constructed in the mid-60s, now adapted to a cluster of coffee establishments. With the evolving time of trends and estates, said tenants, from 2010 have moved out and leased their spaces to businesses and coffee shops. As of 2020, there are over 30 businesses, all of which offer great spots to watch the vibrant Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street. Though most operate as a coffee shop, some establishments serve cuisines from Japanese to local Vietnamese street food.
Today it serves as a tourist attraction in Saigo with bookstores, salons, cafes, boutiques, tea houses and more. This innovative approach to hospitality through adaptive reuse not only provides unique dining experiences but also helps to revitalize urban areas and promote sustainable development.
Address: 42 Nguyen Hue Street, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
These adaptive establishments demonstrate how heritage landmarks and estates are being treasured. This concept not only preserves local culture but also promotes tourism and economic development within the food and beverage sector and Southeast Asian countries.
With our initiative, and our recent involvement in the UNESCO seminar held in regional Nan, Thailand, focused on 'Achieving Sustainable Tourism with Intangible Cultural Heritage and Creative City Network in Waterway Cities'. b. Consulting Food and Beverage Hospitality Tourism Experts Cambodia is ready to collaborate in transforming heritage sites into vibrant culinary destinations namely into vibrant Hotels, Coffee shops or Restaurants that showcase the country's culture and historical background.
(+855) 10 518 700
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org