Page D1.2 . 28 June 2006                     
ArchitectureWeek - Design Department
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    Smoke and Mirror Sleepovers


    The reception lobby, visible beyond the building's glass and brushed stainless steel curtain wall, is a cool ice cube of blue and white. Tiny points of light break through the diagonal wood floor and surround the angular white furniture (also by Jahn Lykouria Design). During the day, this space is flooded with sunlight, which reflects off the sleek materials.

    The restaurant and bar near the lobby are likewise elegantly spare in their design and detailing, with frosted glass table surfaces, stainless steel frames, white upholstery, and glass walls. Some of these walls become projection screens for images, such as a still shot of Marlene Dietrich from the movie "The Blue Angel."

    There are more angels upstairs, accessible via glass elevators. Each of the guest beds is graced with a headboard that bears the photographic image of an angel rendered in soft brush-strokes and vibrant color. The angels are the signal note of color in the guestrooms.

    Their mysterious presence is most obvious at night. When the floor-to-ceiling window drapes are pulled back, observers outside can see the headboard angels fluttering in hues of yellow, green, blue, red, orange, and aquamarine. Small LED reading lamps are incorporated into each headboard.

    Guest bathrooms without doors — this is not a hotel for the coy — encourage a reading of their space as a continuation of the guestroom, a reading reinforced by the fact that the bathrooms are partitioned from the guestrooms with panels of frosted glass and mirrors.

    Chinese Color Chaos

    In contrast to the Innside, the Hotel Kassel Grimm in Shanghai is an unabashed celebration of richly saturated color to create settings where angels are few and far between. While Lykouria strives for a monastic simplicity in his interiors, architect Hank M. Chao, principal of MoHen Design International, responds to the city's mixture of East and West and its heart-pounding energy. Shanghai, he notes, is "like a huge construction site full of chaos."

    The Kassel Grimm is located in Anting, Shanghai's car-manufacturing district and also home for Formula One racing in China. Chao's interior design seems to capture the area's metropolitan, dreamy, and speedy spirit and offers a fantasy world of intrigue and danger to its motor-sport clientele.

    The tiny hotel's lobby, bars, cafe, stairway, and guestroom-floor corridors throb with intense pink, blue, green, and orange — all of it created with light. The dynamic LEDs, combined with mirrors and textured upholstery, play to the motor-sport enthusiast's "unbridled lust for life and striving for fun, novelty, and curiosity," explains the designer.

    At the central stairway, colored light is augmented by the sight and sound of a waterfall and a "pond" beneath the stair. The illusory ambiance is enhanced by reflecting light off of polished surfaces. For example, the stair treads reflect the light of the illuminated risers, creating the impression that the entire staircase is aglow from within.

    The 16 guest rooms have intricate divider screens, built-in bars and tables, and marble bathrooms with colorful lighting schemes — all part of the "Mario Andretti meets James Bond" theme.

    Both the Innside and Hotel Kassel Grimm show exacting design with light, color, mirrors, and sleek surfaces that can go a long way to help hotel guests escape from the humdrum.   >>>

    Discuss this article in the Architecture Forum...

    Michael J. Crosbie is editor-in-chief of Faith & Form, a senior associate with Steven Winter Associates, and a contributing editor to ArchitectureWeek.



    ArchWeek Image

    Lobby of the Innside Premium Hotel, by Jahn Lykouria Design.
    Photo: Tom Vack

    ArchWeek Image

    Marlene Dietrich and other "angels" grace the walls of the hotel.
    Photo: Tom Vack

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical guestroom of the Innside Premium Hotel.
    Photo: Tom Vack

    ArchWeek Image

    Guestroom with angelic headboard.
    Photo: Tom Vack

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical bathroom.
    Photo: Tom Vack

    ArchWeek Image

    Ground floor plan, Innside.
    Image: Jahn Lykouria Design Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Typical guestroom floor plan, Innside.
    Image: Jahn Lykouria Design Extra Large Image

    ArchWeek Image

    Residence suite.
    Image: Jahn Lykouria Design Extra Large Image


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