SENTIENT live edge dining table

Hotel V Wanchai by studio OFF

This project is a full-scale conversion & façade modification of Hotel V from a 30+ years old office block located in Wanchai, Hong Kong. It was designed by studio OFF with an idea of roughness as a metaphor. The wall finished with a special mosaic expression tile – Tri-tonal Tile® to give different visual expressions in different weather conditions and viewing angles.

from studio OFF:
this roughness, as a metaphor, does not cover just the literal one – the unevenness of surfaces, the colour disorder of the surrounding, the chaos of façade expression along the streetscape, the ups & downs of the skyline – all in all, this is the backbone where our concept lies.

Full-scale conversion & façade modification of Hotel V
An urban dwelling carved to order

Project Background
The building was originally a 30-plus-year-old 12-storey office block in Wanchai. In the 4th floor there is a terrace balcony with an area of approximately 43 m2. The original building was cladded with dark marbles in much worn condition.

Design Concept and Development – an urban dwelling carved to order
We started off studying the existing contexts of the site and have concluded with a very interesting finding – the roughness of the community where the building stands. However, this roughness, as a metaphor, does not cover just the literal one – the unevenness of surfaces, the colour disorder of the surrounding, the chaos of façade expression along the streetscape, the ups & downs of the skyline – all in all, this is the backbone where our concept lies.

We look at the building as another existing piece of big “roughness” in front of us. There is indeed a reference of which we associate the whole building to – Cappadocia, Turkey. The idea is then to carve the whole piece of this roughness to a space inhabitable. And the notion of this rough-smooth-duality is formulated and this has colonized every corner of the building.

This rough-smooth-duality can be visualized in all guest rooms as in the featured wall where all functional space is covered with back-lit, smooth polycarbonate doors whereas all exposed wall surfaces are finished with artificial carved-stone. The result is a wall of features with all functions properly enclosed and at the same time a sense of roughness is left as the aftermath of carved-living.

The same design principles are applied in the entrance foyer – with a twist. The cave-like entrance, a rough element, features a ceiling/wall complex with a subtle transformation from a squared opening in the shop-front to an arc of quarter-ellipse in the reception and is regarded as the rough element. Also changing is the scale of it – from more than 5m high in the shop-front to a mere 2.5m in the reception desk, this change of ceiling scale marks a gateway from the hustle & bustle of the city to a prestigious hospitality.

Contrary to this roughness is a conceptually exaggerated “skirting” which peels off from the rough wall and has been carved to become a piece of ultra-refined, sculptured furniture. This “featured skirting”, made of marble, spans the whole depth of the reception foyer and stretches all the way to the shop-front. It contains various functions such as an exhibition space in the front, followed by a guest area and the reception desk in the inner end.

At the right to the reception foyer is a mosaic wall which rolls inwards from the shop-front to form an entrance “tunnel”. A seemingly disproportional cantilevered “tunnel roof” hangs out from this mosaic wall and looks like as if it is resting on the glass wall in the other side of the tunnel – of course this is structural impossible. The wall is finished with a special tile, Tri-tonal Tile® (in a mosaic expression), designed and developed by this studio and it gives different visual expressions in different lighting conditions / viewing angles – an unique way to represent the idea of “roughness”.

Continuing from the mosaic wall outwards the Tri-tonal Tiles® wrap around to cover the whole façade of the building so we ended up having a building which looks totally different from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute. It also gives different expressions under different weather conditions as well as paths of approach and viewing angles – this is a façade which subtly talks to anyone who cares to take notice of it, near or afar.


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Alireza Yavari

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