Boutique Design - May 2018 - 26
SHANGHAI INTERIOR DESIGN
Shanghai Interior Design:
Xu Xujun, chief designer and
creative director; Xu Xuwei,
Changtao, Zhang Qianglong
and Mahoulong, designers
2 Wood you dare?
Next-level uses for
raw materials are
bolder and even closer
to their natural state,
as on this wall.
3 When windows aren't
needed for light,
find a creative way
to utilize that wall
space. Here, it's a
cubby for bath towels.
SHANGRI-LA KARESANSUI HOTEL
SHANGRI-LA, YUNNAN, CHINA
boutiquedesign.com MAY 2018
raised platform under the beds and the same shade is picked up for a wooden
accent wall. A similar color defines the semicircular check-in desks in the lobby.
Xujun did turn to one ancient concept to help realize his vision-"round
heaven and square earth." Structural elements such as sunken or raised parts of
the floor are realized in both curvy shapes (in the lobby) and rectangular ones
(in the guest rooms). The FF&E follows suit. Round mirrors offset square and
rectangular art pieces. Who says balance is dull?
ZHU ENLONG (K ARESANSUI); COURTESY OF SHANGHAI INTERIOR DESIGN ( XUJUN)
Make every surface tactile. Creating literal touchpoints throughout a hotel is key
to making guests feel immersed in the environment. Designers can't wait until
the guest reaches their room to make the experience organic and tempt guests to
be hands on. From a tree in the center of the lobby to garden path-style stonework on guest room floors to tree trunk tables and ropes that hold pendant
lights, the 15-room Karesansui (the name references a type of Zen or rock garden
and is drawn from a historic poem) is a mindful feast for the senses.
It's also a poster child for a maximalist, influence-blending approach to
serenity. Shanghai Interior Design's Xu Xujun points out that even though an
ancient Tibetan home is part of the hotel (in addition, six new buildings make
up the hotel, all interconnected with bridges and outdoor corridors), it's not his
aim to simply restore the site. Not every project with a firm base in the past has
to make that its primary focus.
"We used the method of modern Zen to deduce the combination of Tibetan
culture and Zen style," says Xujun, the Shanghai-based firm's chief designer and
creative director. "Using wood is a natural choice, because it creates a 'warm'
feeling for people, and that's something we associate with these two influences."
That one material might be the guiding force here, but the application is
varied so that it becomes a leitmotif, not a repetitive refrain. For example, a wall
in one guest room features pieces of wood that look like stacked firewood.
Flooring in some of the guest rooms looks like slices of tree trunks. Each vanity is
a rustic shape, from simple tables to horizontal wall-mounted boards, but all
share a medium-tone timber as the main material. Blond wood defines the