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By Neharika Padala | December 4 2014
In Shanghai, all roads lead to Xintiandi, a collection of glamorous stores, international restaurants and historic Shikumen houses, and on October 15th, 2010, the city’s ultimate lifestyle destination saw the debut of The Langham, Xintiandi, a five-star luxury hotel with 357 elegant guest rooms and suites.
The 28-storey hotel pays tribute to Xintiandi’s heritage and traditions with connection to its surrounding context, while at the same time embraces all the luxuries and features that guests expect from a five-star hotel. Synthesising old and new, the hotel responds to this context with a warm-gray stone cladding and low-rise podiums that engage the historic neighbourhood at street level. The powerful architectural forms and high-end amenities embody the dynamism of modern-day cosmopolitan Shanghai.
Designed by collaborative parties – renowned international hospitality interior designer Peter Remedios and New York-based Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF) – The Langham, Xintiandi is within a uniquely shaped concave building that stands 100 metres tall. It is one of the twin hotel towers adjacent with each other that carry almost identical DNA but different personality, holding each other by a sculptural footbridge and a double-deck underground tunnel. These twin sisters amalgamate contemporary architecture, interior and materials with the essence of Shanghai and Chinese culture, experimented and illustrated the depth of design integration as world architecture.
Remedios’ design philosophy is based upon a strong belief that each project should have its own unique identity and personality. “I believe that a project should reflect its city’s architecture thus giving the property an appropriate “Sense of Place”. We believe the challenges to the designer go beyond the obvious and simplistic replications of any given style to the more exciting, but harder to achieve, approach of evoking the look and charisma of that style, thus capturing the imagination and creating unique guest experiences”, said Remedios. The
INTERIOR PLANNING AND DESIGN:
Like KPF, Remedios was inspired by Shanghai’s historic architecture – both the Art Deco period and the courtyard houses of Xintiandi. Bringing this to life meant both sourcing and thinking local while building off a colour scheme of black and green hues. Dark local granite was polished and used as flooring and walls in the grand reception area often accented by glass green details. The curved walls of the tower and unconventional wall treatments create distinctive window configurations that produce a variety of city views for guests. Forming part of the urban cityscape, the building transformed the traditional delicate Jiang Nan (Southern China) window lattice screens into modern unitised curtain wall system on the outlook. The luxury Chairman and Presidential suites are designed with private sky garden and outdoor spa, creating extraordinary experiences for visitors in urban Shanghai.
The most important motif is the horse (a key Han symbol), which is elegantly and delicately transformed into a subtle pattern, lasercut into large lobby columns. The horses are accented by an equally authentic paisley motif, which is etched into a series of bronze beams “and look almost like bark on tree,” says Remedios. “I wanted it to look as if you were walking through a forest.”
Upstairs, the 357 guestrooms are less forest and far more city centre – though still with a material palette as rich as in the lobby. Due to the hotel’s unusual façade, there are numerous room shapes and sizes. But all share common design DNA, once again inspired by the Hans, along with the adjoining neighbourhood. Walls, for instance, are made from rich leather inlaid with a stitched-on pattern whose geometric shape is reminiscent of the exterior. Rooms also include green and gold wool carpets, which almost feature that Han-inspired paisley-like motif.
The Langham Xintiandi also houses a 24-hour fitness centre and 25-metre indoor pool, T’ang Court restaurant featuring Michelin starred Cantonese specialty dishes, Cachet restaurant offering international cuisine from its open kitchens, Chuan Spa featuring Traditional Chinese Medicine based spa treatments, Langham Club Lounge and XTD Elevated, a lifestyle bar set on an outdoor terrace complete with cabanas and day beds.
Ideally located in the heart of Xintiandi, The Langham, Xintiandi stands as a gateway to Shanghai’s entertainment scene. Step outside the hotel and you will find an exciting array of boutiques, galleries, outdoor cafes, restaurants and bars. The hotel is also just a short distance from leading Shanghai landmarks such as The Bund, People’s Square, Shanghai Art Museum, Shanghai Museum and Yu Garden.
(The Langham, Xintiandi)