Text description provided by the architects. THE EXPERIENCE
This boutique hotel quietly dwells in a local neighbourhood that enjoys moderate distance yet convenience to the bustling CBD while offering an authentic Hong Kong experience with local eateries, market, old buildings, temples and scenery of the Hong Kong Island along the tramways. The hotel is intended to be a getaway from the hustles of the surrounding and the chaos of life. It is a world of tranquillity upon the travellers' arrival and entry into the space.
The entire hotel experience, from the official website, social media, to the spatial discovery and stay, embodies and manifests the aesthetics and poetics underlying the philosophy of the hotel, which is a kind of hidden beauty to be discovered and appreciated with one's heart and mind.
The client would like to differentiate this boutique hotel by rarity. Endorsing an alternative understanding of rarity, we refrain from using the most exotic and expensive materials or furniture to create a luxurious hotel, because we feel that the term "luxury" has much been vulgarized nowadays. Rather, we prefer "refinement", another way of beauty which goes beyond the surface.
Textures of materials represent a variety of traits. The combination of them shapes the character of our design. For this hotel, we choose to use relatively common materials such as concrete, galvanized mild steel, brass, oak and wired glass. The challenge is to enhance the materials' natural beauty and unleash design possibilities. We do so by exploring material textures with surface treatment techniques, and by use of lighting.
UNVEILING HIDDEN BEAUTY WITH LIGHTING AND DETAILS
Light is a universal design language that is able to induce emotional resonance in travellers of all cultures and genders. Either natural or artificial, it is the medium that allows materials to express their special qualities: to reveal textures, to shine, to cast shadows. In the reception lobby, the white marble's natural curved grains merge with the partition's striped shadows to produce a vibrant composition. And for the precast GRC (glass-reinforced concrete) wall in the entrance corridor, its nuanced seams and contour only becomes visible with the uplighting from the skirting.
Throughout the hotel there embedded an attitude – the thoughts, artistry and characters underlying our detail designs. We have custom-designed all exposed details as the embodiment of refinement, our approach to "rarity". In each detail there are traces of craftsmanship, quietly telling a story of themselves, about their attributes, how they were made and how they interact with each other, or with people they come across. This can be seen in the brass surfaces for the reception counter and the washroom. They partially shine like a mirror due to everyday touches and polishes, while the rest of the surfaces, scarcely utilized, are left to oxidize. The strokes of human touch gradually become a natural imprint of patterns. By exclusively formulating and crafting a complete set of special-designed details – even as tiny as a hook or door stop – we intend to convey the hotel's attentiveness and refinement.
JOURNEY OF UNFOLDMENT
The entire design can be described as a journey of unfoldment in both physical and psychological senses. Entry into a space can be likened to opening of a door. This ritual of disclosure is a moment of surprise, an emergence of emotions. For this journey of hotel exploration, we have created a sequence of fantastical scenes, starting from the patrons' arrival, through the entrance gate into the solemn corridor; via the lift, to the reception lobby, and the tranquil room-level lift lobby. Such choreography of spatial surprises prepares the patrons for the room, the destination. The room appears empty at first, with a box standing in the centre stage of the vacancy. As the patrons unfold this box, it turns out to be a desk and cabinet housing different accessories. By unfolding the spaces and details layer by layer, the patrons will be able to discover the hotel's refinement and hidden beauty, making the sojourn an experience of serendipities.
The series of fortuitous revelations appeals to the conscious and subconscious, with each detail ingraining the hotel's distinctive touch and aura. By the meticulous arrangement of design elements, we hope to invoke a sense of discovery, to create a memorable hotel experience with undulating waves of feelings, ripples of delight.