HBA/Hirsch BednerAssociates used a ‘Folding & Unfolding’ design to style Starwood’s 100th hotel in China at the Sheraton Beijing Dongcheng.
The new 441-room business hotel on the outskirts of Chao Yang Central Business District, close to Beijing Capital International Airport, was redesigned from an office building.
Existing architecture of exposed columns in what has become the lobby, ran counter to traditional ‘open-plan’ design for greeting guests.
“This design composed of movement, as guests need to weave through the space to the reception and lift lobby,” said HBA’s lead designer on the project, Fiona Bagaman, associate of HBA HongKong.
But rather than concealing the columns behind walls, HBA purposely exposed them – adopting a ‘Folding & Unfolding’ theme, “like threads interlocking to weave a fabric, the concept was fine-tuned to the theme of a Chinese folded fan.”
“The design detail for the columns was extremely difficult to achieve, interlocking different metal finishes with lighting. It had to be very precise and organised, creating strong alignments within the space, as circulation flow was quite messy to start with,” she added.
The theme was adopted for detail throughout the hotel, including the swimming pool, walls and ceiling, wrapped in a similar screen effect.
Scope of work extended through all public areas of the tower; from the columned lobby and lobby lounge to guestrooms, ballroom and pre-function spaces, spa & health club, and four restaurants – Italian, Japanese, Chinese and all-day dining.
Spacious guestrooms averaging 45 sqm were opened further with the use of glass and polished chrome, in palette of light blue.
Starwood’s signature ‘Shine Spa’ concept was “given a bit of a spin” with opalescent blue and green reflections against a pale, light backdrop.
The 1,000 sqm GrandBallroom and pre-function space “relates to Chinese sesame and chilies” with hints of red and orange contrasting against a contemporary carpet and Lasvit-designed chandelier.
The Lobby and Lounge are in warming autumn palettes of deep reds and golden brown, with nickel silver trimmings.
Among F&B venues, the concept for all-daydining restaurant is based on basket weave in a natural palette. The Chinese restaurant was styled in goldfish relief and the Japanese restaurant is styled after a contemporary black and white zen garden, paired with high-gloss Macassare bony wood panels. In keeping with its cuisine, the Italian restaurant is homely, accented in raw, rustic olive green.
Bagaman added: “It not only proves that no project is too small for HBA but also that no project is too complicated for us. Despite being an existing office building constrained by a lot of columns and its ceiling height, HBA still worked around it to produce an upscale and contemporary project.”