Phnom Penh: On The Boat, a Future Art Museum.

 

All about The Boat project. 

At the last minute, we had the opportunity to join the complimentary visit to The Boat, a project that was originally abandoned by a hotelier. Our host for the day was Alexis De Suremain (Founding Director of MAADS, Cambodia) who together with two other partners, Dana Langlois (Founding Director of JavaArts/Java Cafe) and Jeroen Van Daalen (CEO Celliers d’Asie) are investing in this future art museum.

The vision that they have for this project is astounding. With the growing art scene happening in different parts of Cambodia, The Boat aims to be the cerebral of these activities. They hope to bring together all sorts of artists from different backgrounds to this art space, to mingle, collaborate, dance, act, draw, film and co-create something new.

The entrepreneurs also aim to make The Boat an additional attraction for visitors, complimenting the ones that have are available in Phnom Penh and Cambodia.

Many levels of the floating art centre or The Boat.

Many levels of the floating art centre or The Boat.

 

On board the Art Museum.

We were taken on a small boat, cruising down the Tonle Sap river from the Riverside pier, to the floating art museum. The Boat came to our view with it’s massive 6-storeys of structure and red walls. Windows lined up each deck giving insiders a view of the river below.

We walked into the entrance on the lower ground and climbed a thin metal ladder to the deck above us. Standing at the first floor area, we re-grouped at the main hall which will be turned into a gallery filled art installations, a cafe and meeting spaces. A spiral staircase led us up to rooms or offices for creative enterprises. The rest of The Boat will have a mix of art residencies, an open air stage, a dance lab, rooftop pool, private rooms, bar, restaurants and an exhibition hall.

Here’s a closer look at each of the spaces.

The first level of The Boat currently has a bar and a split deck. This will be turned into an art installation gallery.

Level 1: Currently has a bar and a split deck. This will be turned into an art installation gallery.

Level 1 : Open cafe area.

Level 1 : Open cafe area.

Each floor has a corridor with what was supposed to be hotel rooms on The Boat.

Each floor has a corridor with what was supposed to be hotel rooms on The Boat.

Level 2: Offices for Creative Enterprises.

Level 2 & 3 : Offices for Creative Enterprises, Creative Hub for artist studios & residencies.

Level 3: Private Rooms on The Boat.

Level 3: Private Rooms on The Boat.

Level 4 : A view of the river from the Cocktail Deck.

Level 4 : A view of the river from the Cocktail Deck.

I hope they will maintain these long windows which gives a good view of the outdoors.

Level 4: Restaurants, bar and parties will be held here, with the open cocktail deck.

Up the spiral staircase to the floors above.

Up the spiral staircase to the floors above.

Level 4: A bar area which will be renovated to fit the concept of The Boat.

Level 4: A bar area which will be renovated to fit the concept of The Boat.

Level 4 : Hallway to restaurants, bar area.

Level 4 : Hallway to restaurants, bar area.

Level 4 : Once the rooftop pool is filled with water, it'll have a nice view of Phnom Penh city with it.

Level 4 : Once the rooftop pool is filled with water, it’ll have a nice view of Phnom Penh city with it.

Level 4 : The space behind me will be an open air stage.

Level 4 : The space behind me will be an open air stage.

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Level 5 : A spacious area for a future dance lab or for indoor live events.

Level 5 : Ray of light for the exhibition hall.

Level 5 : Ray of light for the exhibition hall.

 

Be part of this amazing project.  

To make this a reality, the people behind the project are seeking donations on Indiegogo-The Boat. You could be part of The Boat by going over to their website, signing up for future announcements or share the page out to friends.

I, for one hope that this art center will be a growing platform for the Khmer arts, a heritage that would be passed on to the next generation. I’m not sure if I’ll still be in the city once this project completes but at least I got to see how this would become a reality in the near future. So don’t forget to #supporttheboat !

About Yafieda Jamil

A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.

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