SHAPE Canberra lends a hand to complete a hotel fitout like no other

The SHAPE Canberra team were delighted to lend a helping hand to a rather unique hotel fit-out job in Canberra’s CBD.

Hotel Mottainai is a pop-up art hotel that offers only one suite and is built within an abandoned office building in the centre of Civic.

This passion-fueled project was designed by Ronan Moss of Cox Architecture to provide a commentary on finding shelter in abandoned spaces, reusing and repurposing furniture and showcasing local artists’ work after the pandemic’s rigours with an adjoining art gallery next door.

The Hotel’s profits will be donated to the YWCA Canberra to help address homelessness across Canberra.

The concept was created by husband-and-wife team Ronan and Clare Moss. Ronan is the Director of Cox Architecture, while Clare is a former actor and theatre professional who now works with The Smith Family.

According to Clare, “The concept calls attention to empty space in an age of homelessness and escalating house prices, recycling in an age of excess, art in an age of disconnection and is all powered by the strength of community mobilisation.”

Apart from brand new bed and bedding and towels, the living room, kitchen and bedroom are fitted out in re-purposed materials, second-hand, donated and recycled furniture.

Headed up by Lincoln Withers and Rebecca Scott, our SHAPE Canberra team and generous subcontractors from 360 Degree Fire, Contemporary Plumbing, and Modern Painting Group donated their time and resources to get the space up and running.

Mottainai: a Japanese word used to express a feeling of regret when something is put to waste without deriving its value.

Hotel Mottainai is now part of a social enterprise accelerator program at is looking at how to expand the concept throughout Canberra and beyond.

Book a stay and learn more at

Photos by Adam McGrath of H Creations