Monday 16 Jan 2012


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The design for the renovation of the Nanying Hotel transformed an existing 166-room government hotel into a boutique hotel in anticipation of the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Located less than 20 minutes from the Center of the Expo, the client wanted to take advantage of the building's prime location and reposition the hotel for general commercial use in time for theExpo-which brought nearly 65 million visitors to the city. The Expo's theme of "Better City, Better Life" became a conceptual force behind the design.

By taking aesthetic cues from the hotel's urban environment, the design mimics and responds to the atmosphere and elegance of the wildly beautiful city of Shanghai. This is accomplished through implementing design techniques that connect the interior space with its urban context. The scope of work includes a renovation and addition to the ground floor, a renovation to the exterior skin and a concept design for the hotel rooms. The program for the ground floor includes a lobby and renovation to the bar and restaurant.

Originally a dark and inward-looking space, the ground floor is enlivened and opened up through carefully executed lighting methods and the elimination of many of the existing interior columns. Natural light floods the space through floor to ceiling glazing. During the renovation, the design concealed all the interior columns, save one, which is clad in LED panels and serves a digital billboard that provides visitors and passing vehicular traffic with a unique and abstract messaging system. The remaining exterior columns are clad in stainless steel and act as soft diffusers, bringing more natural light into the ground floor.

The lightingdesign for the bar artfully reflects the splendor of Shanghai by drawingfrom the formal qualities of the city's famous sycamore canopy. Embedded fiber optics in a graphically dynamic ceiling give the individual the effect, in black and white, of sitting beneath a sycamore tree on a starry Shanghai night.In the restaurant, extruded portals clad in pewter frame each table and provide diners with an elegant and intimate connection with the city.