Singapore-headquartered LTW Designworks used the ancient Silk Road trading route as inspiration for the design of the Grand Hyatt Xi’An in central China.
14 September, 2018
While China’s Xi Jinping shakes things up with his belt and road initiative inspired by the the old Silk Road, Singapore-headquartered LTW Designworks took the ancient trading route as inspiration for its design of the Grand Hyatt Xi’An.
The mammoth project of designing all of the hotel’s public areas, its restaurants, its ballroom and meeting facilities, its spa and wellness centre, and its 396 guest rooms and suites places LTW‘s achievements nearly in the same scope as some of Xi’s massive infrastructure projects. Much like any ambitious undertaking, LTW’s project took a lot longer to achieve than anticipated – a total of six years.
To give a sense of place in one of China’s great ancient capitals, LTW used the history of the Silk Road – which began in Xi’An before heading west to the Middle East and Europe – as inspiration. “We drew inspiration from the Silk Road’s rich history, its enduring spirit and multicultural handicrafts to create the bold and contemporary interiors and emulate the cultural identity and geography of the region,” says founder and Partner of LTW HL Lim.
For a means of focus, Lim and the team used the famous Chinese idiom “a great hawk spreads its wings” as a starting point. “Symbolising hope, success and new beginnings, it became an iconic motif throughout the property,” says Lim.
The theme begins in the Grad Hyatt’s double-height lobby where patterned timber walls form wing-like motifs and a large feather-like sculptural feature extends ten meters from the floor to the ceiling, lit from below. The lobby’s bubble lifts are wrapped in curved laser-cut metal screens with images depicting ancient Chinese palaces. An extravagant curved staircase leading to the function rooms sets the scene for a grand entrance by evoking the motion of desert sand dunes. “Our intention was to present a more aesthetic, yet sophisticated take on event spaces that is not seen in other hotels,” says Lim.
LTW’s iconic sky bridge houses the hotel’s cafes, bars and restaurants taking in cuisines from the East to the West and offering dramatic panoramic views of the metropolis below. “The scene is particularly beautiful in the evenings, when floor-to-ceiling windows frame views of the glittering city lights,” says Lim.
The Grand Café’s open, interactive marble counters, amidst wooden tables and chairs and plush leather banquettes, mimics a bustling marketplace. The signature Chinese specialty restaurant, Chang’an Bridge uses geometric metal screens with ruby accents, grid patterned carpets in hues of grey, white and muted orange, and circular ceiling details resembling traditional Chinese roof architecture.
In the guest rooms, Lim selected vibrant colours together with varying shades of ochre, off-white and tan to complement the upholstered furniture, timber walls and millwork. Referencing the hotel’s Silk Road theme, Chinese pavilions are etched onto headboards and panels. Lim introduced an innovative layout for twin-bed rooms to provide separate spaces for two individuals, with the beds against upholstered walls and separate vanity and dressing areas.
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