A dramatic staircase connects floors inside this Shanghai hotel, which Neri&Hu has designed with calming, nature-inspired rooms.
The staircase can be found in the entrance lobby of The Sukhothai hotel, which is situated in Shanghai’s Jing’an district.
It features a bronze balustrade and a staggered sequence of slim, grey-terrazzo steps that have been slightly set apart to create the illusion that they’re hovering.
The entire structure is then enclosed by a gridded timber framework that “envelops” guests as they ascend to the first floor.
In the communal areas that lie beyond the staircase, Neri&Hu has fashioned an aesthetic that subtly celebrates the culture of both Shanghai and Bangkok – where the inaugural branch of The Sukhothai is located.
“The challenge for Sukhothai in Shanghai was how to remain true to the spirit of the original iconic hotel in Bangkok while bringing in elements that represent the local culture and history,” the studio explained.
“In the end, our guiding concept was inspired by a universal condition that defines many dense Asian metropolises such as Shanghai and Bangkok — the sense of fragility and congestion and the desire for a reconnection with nature, for room to breathe and rejuvenate,” it continued.
“We created an urban oasis in the midst of the concrete jungle of the city, so every aspect of the hotel relates to nature.”
Gardens became the main point of reference for the studio. For example, a network of columns has been installed in the restaurant as a nod to the ornate pillars that typically appear in Italian renaissance-style gardens.
The forest-green leather chairs that surround the dining tables and the emerald-coloured tiles that line the open kitchen are also meant to evoke lush, verdant settings.
A medley of green tiles has also been applied mosaic-style to the hotel’s swimming pool.
Neri&Hu have continued to use green tones and natural materials upstairs in the 201 guest bedrooms. Walls have been painted a tranquil jade hue, while the floor, headboards and writing desks are lined with wood.
Pebble-grey Carrara marble has been used to line almost every surface in the bathrooms – including the tubs.
A number of hotels have opened in China this year. Among them is the Intercontinental in Chongqing and Read and Rest Hotel in Beijing, which includes a small library filled with print magazines from across the world.
For those looking to stay a bit more off the beaten track, Wiki World and Advanced Architecture Lab have also created a collection of 18 mirrored guest cabins on the forested mountainsides of Yichang in China’s Hubei province.
Photography is by Xia Zhi unless stated otherwise.
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