Because we live and breathe hospitality here at HD HQ, we always have our fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in this industry. To really understand where we’re headed, however, we like to take a step outside of our comfort zone every once in a while.
In fact, our September issue (out soon) is dedicated to external influences from creative minds around the globe. We looked at wellness and retail as well as urban planning and installations to inspire our readers to break out of their box and push boundaries. Because there is no limit on inspiration, we have four more projects (including two coworking spaces, an office building, and a plant-clad hotel) that prove ingenuity, creativity, and innovation are always top of mind in the design world.
The Working Capitol, Singapore
While creating the Robinson location of coworking brand Working Capitol in Singapore, Hassell’s local office emphasized lifestyle and wellness to create an “environment where the space was organized by activity,” says Joel Sampson, Hassell senior associate. The firm’s design boasts 11 floors of private offices and collaborative areas, along with a gym, sky garden, and outdoor lap pool. Penthouse floors take a New York-loft approach with meeting rooms clad in dichroic film.
Sampson and his team also wanted to encourage serendipitous meetings between members. Unisex bathrooms are one way as are more tucked away alternatives, like the single lounges, characterized by orange armchairs, Prussian blue goat hair carpet, akari paper lanterns, and plywood arches that allow for a more intimate gathering, says Sampson. – Jennifer Young
U-Cube Nanxi-Jing, Shanghai
Designer C.R. Lin drew inspiration from the concept of water dancing hoping to break the mold of the typical “boring, lifeless office environment,” he says, for the U-Cube Nanxi-Jing coworking space in Shanghai. Comprising two floors, the multidimensional and living design encourages communication with an array of spaces but also allows for independent working with smaller, more confined rooms. Black, gray, and white marble mix with light woods in the flooring, as copper-toned metal fixtures that hang throughout the building provide fluidity. A copper egg creates an unexpected private studying area and doubles as art complementing the structures, while on the ground level, plants cascading down a wall offer a fresh and bold pop of color to the otherwise neutral palette scheme. Some areas transform into a lunchroom at noon and at night a bar, adding to the transitional theme.
The conference rooms, however, are the real standout. The capsule-like quarters are completely enclosed by wood paneling with artistic light fixtures woven into the panels, referencing the building’s name, and are complete with simple office chairs and modern tables. – Jennifer Young
D Beirut, Lebanon
Bourj Hammoud, a northeastern suburb of Beirut, is fast becoming the Middle Eastern metropolis’ creative mecca. One example is last year’s arrival of D Beirut, home to an intimate collection of artists, fashion designers, and architects, complete with a yoga studio, set in a circa-1960s factory that once produced industrial kitchen equipment.
Architect and designer Vick Vanlian, creative director of Vick Vanlian/V World Sal, is one of the complex’s free-spirited tenants, and for his office he preserved the building’s airy, vintage feel by capitalizing upon the height “and at the same time making it cozy. That is why I elevated the offices and lowered the lighting fixtures.” Those fixtures, custom designed by Vanlian, have a Bauhaus flair and dovetail with the flurry of floor-to-ceiling metal, concrete, and recycled particle wood that illuminate his vision for a “raw, industrial chic” vibe.
Along with the original terrazzo flooring that now flaunts a layer of shiny epoxy, the space is spruced up with playful elements like swaths of red, a display of cartoon figurines, and most notably, a retro-pop mural of Superman gracing a lacquered blue wall. The atmosphere, says Vanlian, is one that “mixes the old and new, rough and elegant, and is always sexy.” – Alia Akkam
Atlas Hotel, Hoi An, Vietnam
Located in Hoi An’s Old Town, an area that has seen rapid growth since it’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Atlas Hotel’s eye-catching exterior—covered in greenery—is a nod to the House for Trees project spearheaded by local firm Vo Trong Nghia Architects, which tries to make every project a small park. The firm started with an irregular plot, approaching the design by highlighting this constraint: The linear layout is divided into several internal courtyards, and the building is lifted above the site to craft an interconnected network of courtyards.
The defining characteristic of the five-story, 48-room property is the façade, clad with locally sourced sandstone pieces and combined with an exposed concrete slab as well as a series of planters that provide solar shading and cooler air to ventilate the spaces. Perforated stone walls admit daylight without blocking air flow, and plants rejuvenate the urban area while contributing to societal improvement, meaning the hotel is truly one with nature. – Alissa Ponchione