Boutique Design - May 2017 - 55
ETHOSpace's vision for the ART Rotana
hotel in Bahrain brings right-brain balance
to the science of design.
BY ORIANA LERNER
BERRY PHANN ( TAY ); MARIO WIBOWO PHOTOGR APHY (ROTANA)
THE ANALYTICAL AND CREATIVE sides of design have never
been such good bedfellows. Scientific approaches such as
biophilic design, psychographic research and CRM give designers
a powerful toolkit for understanding what guests want. Tech like
"smart" guest rooms, room service (and flights, too, if you're
staying at Proper Hotels) apps and automated check in open up a
whole new menu of ancillary indulgences for designers to lock
into. You'd think a hotel such as the 311-room ART Rotana in
Manama, Bahrain, would be a perfect case study for celebrating
that kind of logical thinking.
Not at all, according to David Tay, principal of Singapore-based
design and lifestyle concept firm ETHOSpace. Instead, it's just the
opposite. The scale of hotels like this makes them a perfect venue
to craft romantic, fantastical, poetic fantasies, since the hotel's
size allows designers room to fully realize complex narratives.
For ART Rotana, that meant fusing traditional and modern
vibes, as well as surreal concept work and concrete execution.
The owner wanted to reflect the notion of a Bahrain that had
"windows like eyes looking out into the world ... through which
the world is also looking back,'" says Tay.
Not exactly something that can be drafted in a CAD system.
Tay's eclectic vision board gave equal play to Sir Walter Scott's
"The Talisman"; his extensive reading of Arabian literature,
philosophy and romance; and the concept of what Bahrain might
look like light years in the future-all fed through a filter of
poetry, legend and imagination.
1 The prefunction space
celebrates scale with
layers of visual points of
interest and a materials
palette that shines with
glass and steel. A flight of
silvery ornaments draws
the eye to the very top.
2 Ultramodern materials in
the entrance balance the
inspiration of a traditional
tent. Blue lighting evokes
water and a calming vibe.
MAY 2017 boutiquedesign.com