China’s first JW Marriot Marquis Hotel

Georgina Johnston
12 Feb 2020

Hirsch Bedner Associates redefines Shanghai hospitality with a luxury hotel design inspired by the Huangpu River and city culture

Hirsch Bedner Associates have completed the design of the JW Marriot Marquis Hotel Shanghai Pudong. Being the fourth of JW Marriot properties bestowed with the title of “Marquis” in the world, the Shanghai hotel offers exceptional sophistication across the highest level of technology, comfort, and design. Leveraging the hotel’s unique location adjacent to the Huangpu River, HBA infused the concept of flowing water into the interior design, bringing the guests onto a calming and immersive journey back to nature.

The guests begin their journeys from the atrium lobby, which is designed as a cozy harbor. The layout of functional spaces in the curved lobby traces the lines of ripples as though formed by throwing stones into the river at random. The atrium with a 60m high ceiling is shaped like the alphabet “A” and looks like a ship docking at the Huang Pu River from a distance. Each counter is presented in the form of a geometric sculpture, and the simple and clean furniture, each with a cleancut exterior, are like vessels of different sizes gliding on the river. The full height windows running through the atrium brings in natural light and forms shadow within the interior, with the spectacular scenery of Huangpu River and Shanghai Bund in sight. Following the circulation flow at the atrium’s principal cross axis, the guests can enter the tea lounge on the left or the lift lobby on the right for their next destinations.

The tea lounge, designed as a garden on the riverbank, serves as an oasis for busy guests. The space and layouts are set up based on platforms in different heights to resemble the stretch of a naturally rolling riverbank, creating rich spatial layers while providing unobstructed view to every guest. The use of flowing water, warm ceramic art, and natural wood, the highlights of artworks surrounding tea history specially curated for the space, and the design of the carpet resembling a green outdoor lawn form a natural space that blends with the outdoor terrace, melting away the boundaries of internal and external space.

The double volume space on the lift lobby is enclosed by a wall-to-wall frame, allowing guests to have the experience of an explorer crossing the river and passing through each threshold at the harbor. The artwork pattern on the backlit glass walls on both sides of the lift lobby are like skyline silhouettes on both sides of the riverbank. As guests walk into the lift car, the themed 3D art relief pattern comes into view, and the ingenious design presents the expansive Huangpu river scenery. The two ballrooms, Junior Marquis and Grand Marquis, are located on the first floor and third floor, and both continue the concept of flowing water. The pre function of Grand Marquis features an artistic white wall design that is enriched with a myriad of layers. While the design looks simple and sharp from a distance, it gives the guests a deeper sense of visual allure when they look closer. The wall depicts the relief on both sides of riverbanks, exemplifying the stories behind the evolution of Shanghai's cultural history. The artistic background wall is combined with the vast clear glass curtain wall coupled with the distant view of the Huangpu River. At the same time, it resonates with the water patterned carpet, bringing the guests an interesting experience of shuttling in the river. The ballroom is another highlight of the guests’ journey. The transparent crystal lightings of different heights are randomly placed alongside the intricate artwork framing elements to form the ceiling design. The overall ceiling design is like a dynamic expression of the river with shimmering aesthetics, complemented by the carpet featuring water patterns that resembles the sunset. The overall ballroom design is unobtrusive, fresh and simple, and the focus is naturally placed on the theme of a joyous gathering, bringing out the star qualities and dazzling brilliance of the guests.

The hotel also provides a full service spa and an infinity pool offerring full relaxation and rejuvenation to the busy guests. The unique design of the infinity pool creates a visual experience of a waterfall pouring down and flowing into the Huangpu River outside. Looking out from the window within the floating pavilion, the guests are delighted by a vividly realized painting of the river view. In addition to extending the frames concept, the spa area creates a warm, natural, and shimmering lighting effect with the use of transparent water ripple effect textured glass and bubble glass.

As if passing through the river as the sun sets, the guests come to the last destination of their journey through the thoughtfully designed guest room corridor. The play of lights and shadows on both sides of the corridor is achieved through the water textured wall sconce and a carved floral pattern lattice detail insets on the ceiling, like the architectural depiction of sights on the banks of the Huangpu River at first light. The guest room is elegantly styled with beige color and a rippling patterned carpet that corresponds to the shimmering waters of the Huangpu River as seen through the windows, perfectly encapsulating the visual extension where the indoor and outdoor becomes one. The accent colors on marble, fabric, wood and glass throughout recreate the comforts found at home. Sitting on the lounge chair against the full width curtain wall, guests can enjoy a panoramic scenic view.

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