Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

Royal Istana Palace

A Sultan’s Royal Palace

This absolutely wild brief – to create a real life private Royal Palace for a very real Sultan, hundreds of times bigger than anything we had ever done before – ended up being part of our studio’s life for 12 years. We painstakingly designed everything from the architecture to the interiors and the gardens, producing some 5000 unique drawings, sometimes 9+ meters long.

The palace was to be a private home but also fit to accommodate royal duties, such as having 1600 of the Sultan’s friends over for tea. This led to a palace featuring no less than 215 rooms, three kilometres of hallways, and majestic bronze doors three stories high and weighing 12 tons. It was a mammoth undertaking that allowed us to flex all of our design muscles in ways we could never have imagined – and it was buckets of fun.

It’s all about showcasing the very specific design language of Kuala Terengganu, which is different from anywhere else in Malaysia, and taking that into the 21st century. The biggest challenge was how to keep the smallness of traditional Terengganu architecture intact while constructing a larger building.