WHotel

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WHotel
WHotel
Seoul,
Korea
GAIA,T0NyCHI,AitDRADEXTENDS
l-Tllrt 0FSTUDTO
THEW HOTELBRAND
TOASIA,TAKII{GDIFFERENT
APPROACHES
TOCOOL
DESIGN.
By naul Barronocho
Architoct of publtc apacgs: Srrdio
Forits frst propertyin Asia,Starwood
Hotelsand Resorts'trendy,destgnconscious
W chainchosethe
Walkerhillcomplexoutsltredoryntorn
Seoul,an urbanresortoverlooking
the HanRiverfromthe baseof Mount
Acha.Iheforestedhillsidesite,which
wasnamedafter U.N.GeneralWalton
H.Vriblker,
openedas one of Sorlth
Korea! f rst intemational-caliber
resortsin 1963.Today,the complex
includes
a duty-free
shoppingmall
withinternational
luxurybrandqa
Sheratonhotel,andthe W which
openedin August20 Theproperty
is the chain'sthird tocationoutside
the US.,afterS)dneyand Mo(icoCity.
(a spin-offof the Asian
branchof RemKoolhaas's
O{,lA)designedthe blue
frined-gassarchitectural
shell as tvellasthe spa.
Interior doslgner of r€staurants:
To{ryChiandAssociates
Tony Chi ond Associates-Toty Chi,
d tlervYorkdesigned
priacipal; Johflny Marsh, William
the
hcftets tv/o high-end
Paley, NelsonBicol, David Singer,
re$aurants.Namuand
Ierry Ryu, project team
KitchenArd StudioGaia,
Deslgn archttoct of hotet: &{D_
the tlervYorkdesignfirm
Aaro Tafi,principal
respot6iblefo. someof
Archltoca of JecoJatiHeerifi
Manhattan
s trerdkst
Gen€ral cofiractor: SK
restauEntsard dub6 in
Cofistruction
the 199Os(sucfi6 Bond
Street,
ReArdtc ard
Slze| 253 guest rooms, 100seats
[email protected])
d€s€nedtt|e
(Nafiu); 160seats(Kitchen)
lobby,guestrco.rE,and
Complatjon daler Augrst 2004
Program
hotelstore.
The14-storyhotelcontainssome
llan Warsbrod.
presadent
of
of traditionalAsianmeditationspaces.
Source3
predictable
functions_253guest
Studiocaia (nanEdafter his 17Raaeplion arca rugt Eurotex
Fortheirpart,TonyChiand
rooms(30 ofthem suites);two
yearolddaughter).
sa's one of his
Resin wall panols: Kifiot
Associatescreatedtwo restaurants
restaurants;
a gym;a 5O,OOO_
orggestchallengeswas to translate that put
Half-round lounge chalrs!
a sophisticated
polishon
square-foot
spawith a caf6;anda
the intimatefeelingcf a bout4ue
rusticnaturalmaterials.
Chi,the
businesscenter-and lessstanhotel to a spacew'th the torcnng
Bar benchos and bar stools:
desrgner
responsibte
for suchstylish
dardfare.Besidesthe requisite
scate
of a grand horetbbbyCustom by CasaZeta
Asian
eateriesasAsiatein New
receptiondeskandconcierge
sta_
Waisbrodbrokethe s.OOO-square_York'snew
Lcather banquettos: MooreA Giles tion,
l/andarinOrientalhotel
the 5,000-square-foo!wireless foot doubte-height
roomIntoa
andthe HongKongoutpostof
Internet-readylobby(brandedby
seriesof smallerzoneswnhout
SpoonbyAlainDucasse,treatedthe
Starwoodas the LivingRoom)
walls,creatingvarioussrningareas lofty Kitchen
restaurantas a -mod_
includesa 10,0o0-square-foot
bar,a with modish,lg7os-rnspiredeggern interpretation
ofa hillsidebarn.,,
DJbooth,and loungyseatingareas. shaped
chairsand lovJ-slung
sofas Namu,whichservesfoodfrom
builtintothe stairs.
aroundAsia-Japanesesashimi
Solutlon
Waisbrod's
firm designedthree
and
sake,Koreanbarbecue_also
W commissioned
threefirms to
typesofguest roomgdistingulshed finesses
warmtraditionalmaterials
designthe hoteland its interiors.
Dydecorratherthan s2e:standard
wth
more
modernstyling
AaronTanof the HongKonglirm RAD rooms;
mediaroomswth round
:!t .Ere infornEtion
on this proiect,
bedsanda giantpole-mounted
Commontaty
!E : gi:Hing Typ€5study at
Contributingeditor RaulBarreneche,s plasma
videoscreen;andsparoornq By hiringthree
.at-.tch.ecord.com.
differentdesignfirms
pacific
nett bookwill be
Modern.
designedas contemporary
versions
wrthdistinctvisualsensjbilities,
Wgot
Gaia-Ilan Waisbrod, pr it cipaN
KeeinLien, YukikoKiode,Veftnie
Lau, Maki Tsuchiya,
AfiuragNema,
ilesign team
Z
t---::.:-/-.
,i"-.--j
. ri
n
The Ho n g K o n g f i r n r
RA D de s i g n e d t h e
buildin g s c n l e l o P e
loPPo s i t e ) w h i l e N e w
Y ork b a s e d S t L r d r o
F
G aia cr e a t e d t h e P u b l i c
s pac e s , s u c h a s t h e
nrult iti c r e d l o b b Y .
! ! hic h t h e h o t e l c a l l s
t he L i v i n g R o o m '
rright a n d b e l o l v ) .
t
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ffiffie
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ltl
In the l obby,the 60-
i
l
!lrF
foot-l ong Woo B ar
{above)features di gi tal
a
art on the w al l and
cool toned l i ghti ng al l
a
l'
around. In the l ounge
areas. the fi rm tri ed to
create more casual ,
i nti mate setti ngs (ri ght).
!
i.g
r$"
!
I
{,
t
r=-TvYYY\
t
\*+
lr
a
The 5,oo0-square-foot
Liv i n € l R o o mP r o v i d es
access and a patchwork of lounges where
distinctive f urnishings
and steps, rather than
wa l l s o r P a r t i t i o n s ,
de f i n e t h e s p a c e s
(below and right)
>1
q?i
xi&
-
: . :.
j ". dx
- : - F. . .
/ c , n6
: fn , / o
:
U u ts
pla),fu
:--: :- appropriately
| wrappublic
:€-':' Si.droGaiasMinimalist
r:::9s andguestrooms,populated
:- ^.onochromatrc
egg-shaped
:::o.r'r
ans,curvaceous
armcnatrs,
3rd othercustom-designed
furnish.gs.TonyChi'selegantif overwrought
.estaurants
lookliketheywouldbe
in a moreserious'noreappropnate
andmore"grown-up"-hotel.
Butin
a trendy,Minimalist
interiorworld
suchasthis,thosegrown-up
rooms
feelwelcome,
nonetheless.
In the lobby,Waisbrod
wanted
to mixup activitiesandblurdistinctionsbetweendifferentfunctions.
To
that end,he designed
a singlelong
barthat servesas concierge
desk,
reception
counter,cocktailbar,and
DJbooth."You'renot sureif the guy
behindthe counteris the barmanor
the concierge;'
saysWaisbrod.
That
proposition
maybe a provocative
for a studentdesignproject,but in
the realworld,weary,jet-lagged
travelerswouldrathernot haveto
guesswhowill booktheircar serviceandwhowillpourtheirmartini.
Adda DJandthe 10,000-squarefootWooBarto the lobby,asW
did,andyoumightstartto wonder
who'sthe moreimportantcustomer,
guestsor localswhostop
overnrght
byfor a fewdrinks?
Indeed,it seemslikethe top
prioritywasto makethe entirehotel
feelmorelikea trendynightclub
than a restfulretreat.Waisbrod
designed
the experience
of walking
intooneofthe standardroomsto be
lrkeunwrapping
a giftiwhitecunains
iankingthe entryconcealeverything
excepta sculptural
chairat the end
ofthe room.Foranyonewhohas
evernavigated
the unftmiliarterritory
of a hotelroom,not beingableto
seeanlthing-thebed,the bathroom
door,the deskwhereyouleftimportantpapers-soundscompletely
and
unnecessar
ly dlsorienting.
Designao.scoushotelsshouldremember
:rat travelerscareas much,if not
-c.e. aboutmundane
thingssuch
:s gcodservice.easynavigation,
:-: gef,.g a goodnght'ssleep.
r
138
, . ' : ; : : : . - : r . . r ;. R r i . n ?| 0 i
Tony Chi designed two
restaurants in the hotel.
At Namu (opposite two)'
he used wood on many
surfaces to relate the
design to the trees on
nearby Mt Acha, and
created Private dining
areas in both western
a nd As ian s t y l e s .
Visitors to Kitchen
(right) enter through
a " maz e" d o m i n a t e d
by s c ulPt u r a l P i e c e s
created by the Korean
artist Lee Jae HYo.
>.

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