My works
My works
《VUE HOTEL HOUHAI BEIJING》
Work theme:Against the backdrop of Beijing’s solemn heritage, VUE seeks to transcend Chinese tradition with a whimsical and culturally-inspired twist.
Work introduction:DESIGN CHALLENGES: How to unify 6 disparate buildings, and retain the spirit of the Hutong, yet modernize it? Beijing has always been known as the grounded/solemn capital of heritage and culture. With VUE Houhai Beijing Hotel, we present an alternative take on what Beijing can offer: one that is more light-hearted; with a keen interest in tradition but not afraid to transcend it in a contemporary way. Completed in October 2017, VUE Hotel is what new luxury can be: whimsical, well-detailed and unapologetically forward-looking with a culturally inspired twist, particularly appealing to the Chinese consumer who’s more receptive to other definitions of high-end lifestyle experiences. The hotel comprises of 6 disparate quasi-historic buildings from 1950’s, adaptively reused as an 80-room boutique hotel with a 50-seater café, a 190-seater signature restaurant and a 50-seater rooftop bar. The challenge was: how to treat a pseudo-heritage building, i.e. to catalogue Chinese architectural heritage, yet not pass them off as genuinely old relics? In addition, how best to unify the diverse collection of 6 buildings, their interiors, and the landscape, to provide hotel guests with a cohesive experience? And how to retain the spirit of the hutong, and essence of traditional Chinese architecture, yet modernise it? OUR 1ST BIG IDEA: Unifying the buildings and landscape and interiors with 2 design devices VUE is a rare example of adaptive reuse in China. Typically, heritage spaces are torn down for something brand-new, or preserved as frozen artifacts in time. However, we decided to draw from the old, yet radically update it by recasting it in new light; to provide a continuum, rather than a mere moment in time. Firstly, the 6 buildings were made to conceptually “fade into the background” by draping them with charcoal grey paint, upon which key architectural details were highlighted in a contemporary gold patina. This treatment suggests an informal “cataloguing” of key architectural details, drawing a distinction between the historical and contemporary. Secondly, we united the buildings & interiors by applying a visual baseline throughout the compound. The traditional “cracked ice-ray” pattern, derived from the imagery of a frozen lake starting to crack, is traditionally used to adorn the open portion of timber doors. The design attempts to transcend traditional Chinese culture, by taking a 2D ornamental pattern and applying it in a 3D way to the reception, guestrooms, corridors, courtyards and water features. OUR 2ND BIG IDEA: A new way to see Chinese luxury “VUE” in French means “view” or “a way to see” and we believe VUE provides a fresh way of “seeing” hospitality design, offering whimsicality and authenticity to increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers. VUE’s flagship hotel is nestled amongst narrow Hutong alleyways in the heart of Beijing, and strives to transcend it with a contemporary, surprising twist. The narrative drew inspiration from the lake’s animal inhabitants, imagining that VUE’s presence magically/anthropomorphically transforms the foxes/rabbits/deer, to become human-like. Like tourists, these animals begin to curiously explore the hotel. These whimsical art installations dotted throughout the compound present a fresh way “to view” conventional opulent Chinese luxury. True to its social nature, guests enter the buzzy FAB café fronting the Hutong street, before reaching the reception. The Pink Rabbit Restaurant & Moon Bar, features 2 larger-than-life kissing pink rabbits on its roof. The exposed metal & wood trusses, open display kitchen, lounge seating paired with a feature bar, contribute to the overall upbeat vibe. The rooftop Moon Bar/Jacuzzi pool offer a treetop alfresco experience, with full views to the picturesque Houhai lake. One provocative recurring design gesture in VUE’s guestrooms is the two-toned spatial division where it’s as if the external “view” or light entering through the window, subdivides the room. RESPONSE: In the short time it’s been open, the response has been positive, with the Chinese (or china based) consumer now more open minded and receptive to other definitions of high-end lifestyle experiences; specifically, they look for authenticity and innovation. With expansion planned for multiple properties in key cities across China, the VUE Hotel brand is pioneered by Wu Hai, CEO of VUE Hotels (founder of the Crystal Orange Hotel) and created by MOD; our studio is responsible for the holistic strategy, branding and all aspects of design & art creation. VUE Houhai is the first Member of Design HotelsTM in Beijing. AWARDS: VUE Hotel has been awarded “Best Hotel” by Modern Decoration, China, 2017, with jury citing, that the hotel presented an alternative take on what Beijing can offer, one that is more light-hearted, whimsical and with a keen interest in tradition but isn’t afraid to transcend it in a contemporary way. VUE was also named an overall Winner at AHEAD Asia’s 2018 Awards, beating other finalists in its category for “Best Landscaping & Outdoor Spaces”. The jury said that it was clever to apply the traditional two-dimensional “cracked ice-ray” pattern, in a three-dimensional way, to the landscape, reception & restaurant, tying it all together. Jury Citation: “VUE Hotel’s compound comprises a series of disparate quasi-historic buildings from the 1950s. Conceptually, the design harnesses all leftover space between each building, tying the compound into a single holistic experience. These spaces have been treated with an ice-ray lattice pattern, inspired by traditional Chinese screens. Meanwhile, the hotel’s planting and trees respond to the seasons and in summer, the courtyards and rooftop bar will become shrouded in thick, green foliage, while winter will see bare branches frame the sky
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