LOKANAT HOUSE TOUR

Author: Wain Yee/ Siu Ding

An inside look at of the once most prestigious commercial address at the turn of the century

We came in to occupy our unit at the far right of the Lokanat, formerly known as the Sofaer Building, on the 111th year of the building. Originally designed by Thomas Swales and built by Isaac Sofaer, the building features encaustic tiles from Manchester and steel beams from Scotland – all of which we have preserved in the renovation process.

The mosaic tile pattern at the entrance of the staircase

Described as the Selfridge’s of Southeast Asia at the turn of the century, you would have come to the Sofaer building for Egyptian cigarettes, Munich beer and English sweets. At various times, the building has housed businesses as varied as the Bank of Burma, Reuters Telegram Company, the Burma Book Club, the China Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Described as the Selfridge’s of Southeast Asia at the turn of the century, you would have come to the Sofaer building for Egyptian cigarettes, Munich beer and English sweets. At various times, the building has housed businesses as varied as the Bank of Burma, Reuters Telegram Company, the Burma Book Club, the China Mutual Life Insurance Company.

The original encaustic tile from Manchester 

Green ceramic tile pattern

Facing the daunting task of renovating a 111-year-old space, with extremely limited building materials in Myanmar