Tradition Meets the Future

Sophisticated hotels in China are playing with the country's diverse cultural influences – and with the will for the unusual.

China's cultural wealth is displayed in the variety of the current range of hotels. Just like the new hotel openings, traditional hotels also follow international requirements of service and design.

New Touch for the Extant
The Sofitel Legend People's Grand Hotel Xian, for example, counts as one of the recently refurbished hotels. Joe Cheng of Cheng Chung Design, Hong Kong, is responsible for its redesign for the opening under the new label in April. He combines respect for historic details, including art deco elements, with today's amenities in the building that in 1953 was originally conceived as the state guesthouse. The URBN Hotel in the heart of Shanghai also received a new design note in January of this year from the New Yorker designer Jay Godfrey. In the environmentally oriented building, which proudly calls itself China's first CO2 neutral hotel, elegantly minimalist forms and restrained colours blend with materials that were selected according to sustainability criteria.

Contemporary Design
The Shanghai firm of Neri&Hu – the architects responsible as guests of honour for "The House – Interiors on Stage" at the upcoming imm cologne – recently once again created an impressive hotel architecture. Their design for Le Meridien in Zhengzhou captivates with the notion of an "archive for old and new artefacts". Cultural references to the nearby Longmen caves for example, a wonderful example of Chinese Buddhist art, are combined with exquisite furniture and bathroom fixtures from internationally leading manufacturers. The Dutch designer Marcel Wanders and the design studio yoo! are concentrating in the meantime on a cheerful style mix of tradition and contemporary detailing in their collaboration for the new Mira Moon Hotel in Hong Kong. Defining elements of the interior range from sumptuously ornamented surfaces inspired by Chinese imagery to noble baths in which fittings from the Hansgrohe Metris line and the Axor Urquiola collection are used. Also in Hong Kong is the alluring Hotel Indigo Hong Kong Island, completed in 2013. The architecture of Aedas and the interior design of Aedas Interiors are integrated into the lively Wan Chai district. The building, which is crowned by a daring overhanging swimming pool with a glass bottom, plays at the same time with references to the local culture, for example on the hotel's outer skin, which recalls the image of an abstract dragon wrapping itself around the structure.

Unusual Visions
These buildings stand as examples for a style that combines the character of the location with fresh up-to-dateness. The development in the meantime is moving forward with ever-new concepts. The fact that this can also happen in completely unexpected places should be visible in the future in Shanghai's Songjiang district. According to plans of the internationally active Atkins firm and as part of the Shimao Shanghai Wonderland theme park now being developed, a hotel is supposed to arise in a former water-filled quarry. The Shimao Quarry Hotel is supposed to have rooms above and below water level and offer 5-star luxury and opportunity for sports activities as well. China's hotel scene remains on the move.

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge.