HBA completes interiors for China-based recreational centre that pays homage to its architectural language

HBA completes interiors for the recreational centre designed by Ettore Sottsass, within China’s iconic Sifang Collective complex.

The recreational centre within China’s Sifang Collective complex is one of the final architectural ventures designed by famed Italian architect, Ettore Sottsass, and his architectural practice, Sottsass Associati. The opening is due in December this year, to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Sottsass’s death. Dubai-based designer and HBA’s partner, David T’Kint, was tasked with completing the project and designing the interiors, which celebrate Sottsass’s strong architectural language and embrace the natural surroundings.

“Ettore Sottsass’s latest architectural venture is a complex architectural masterpiece connecting and disconnecting volumes,” T’Kint tells Commercial Interior Design. “My first challenge was to make this work from an operational point of view as a wellness centre with a few guestrooms, and connect the areas to make this a unified guest experience.”

Sifang is managed by Artyzen Hospitality Group, which boasts an operating philosophy of embracing “art, culture, and emotional wisdom” that echoes throughout the architecture and design of the project.

“Sifang is a one-of-a-kind project, unique in so many different ways. Not just a hotel, an experience – driven by remarkable architecture that is not just about design. All the buildings embrace the natural surroundings, and each unit has its own narrative,” says T’Kint.

“While it was an honour to be part of a select group of designers and architects, part of the challenge was to create a visual identity that didn’t compromise the guests’ experience and expectations.”

As T’Kint explains, the building’s interiors celebrate the architectural language without mimicking it.
“Creating interiors when the architectural envelope is so powerful is a real test for a designer,” he says. “It simply cannot be completely different, as this would not make sense, however copying was not an option either.”

The architect’s enduring legacy is his industrial design work, such as the famous Olivetti Valentine Typewriter and the Carlton Bookcase. His architecture, like his product design, is instantly recognisable by the bold primary colours and prominent geometric structures.

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