After an eight-month rejuvenation, Shangri-La Hotel’s Tower Wing, the core of the property, emerges with a resplendent new urban resort look. In the Lobby Lounge, a spacious indoor garden paradise flooded with natural light welcomes guests. Potted ficus benjamina trees give the impression of walking through a park, and at the centre is a floor-to-ceiling basalt rock of lush tropical ferns and mosses. The central chandelier gives way to an infinity pool of sleek black stone as the focus of the space, while six sculptures of children at play are dotted about the entire lobby. At the reception area, the chandeliers have made way for a soaring installation of thousands of stylised metallic leaves.
In every area of the lobby and mezzanine floors, one will find contemporary pieces of furniture with sustainable materials sourced from Southeast Asia: parchment and shagreen from Thailand, as well as rattan and wood from the Philippines. Peranakan ceramics and patterns are also found in The Lobby Lounge and accessories in the mezzanine floor, sourced from Jing De Zhen Ceramic Institute in Jiangxi province, China. Vintage pieces are sourced from international antique dealers.
The hotel’s reimagined Tower Wing lobby, guest rooms and NAMI Restaurant and Bar are the conception of Japanese interior designer Ryoichi Niwata of Bond Design Studio and his dedicated team of craftspeople and artisans.
Each of these distinctive spaces has been conceived to heighten the enjoyable guest experience by drawing on elements of the property’s location, culture and history, infused with the elegance of Japanese aesthetics and philosophy. For instance, each new painting above the bed for the 503 guest rooms is a unique creation. Also, each wooden console beneath the TV is a distinctive piece of sustainable timber from North America.
Niwata worked closely with the hotel group’s design team, who commissioned the artists for this latest reimagining of the hotel. The design inspiration is Shangri-La, the mythical utopia between heaven and earth. There are five key elements featured in the design: wind, water, wood, trees and stone.
Stepping into the lobby, one is immediately greeted by the Tree Canopy ceiling art installation, of thousands of swirling stylised three-toned metallic leaves. The artwork is by Studio Sawada Design, headed by Hirotoshi and Nami Sawada. The piece evokes the lightness of cloud and the flow of wind, tickling the imagination to see it perhaps even as a school of fish or flock of birds.
Six sculptures of children playing by the central infinity pool feature collectively make up the charming work Children Dabbling in the Water by artist Yi Hwan Kwon. They impart a sense of childlike free-spiritedness to the lobby, such as the sculpture of a girl with a donut swimming float around her waist, and a boy taking a dip, submerged to the shoulders in the infinity pool. The artist conceived this group of carefree young ones having fun in the lobby to evoke a sense of uninhibited playfulness and harmony.
Two large root balls and finishes on the lobby furniture, walls and framing impart a sense of rusticity and nature’s touch as a complement to the contemporary lobby design, further enhancing the ambience of a warm guest welcome.
Six potted ficus benjamina (weeping fig) trees loom over armchairs in the lobby, their crowns providing guests with a gentle canopy as they read or pass the time in conversation. Indigenous to India and Malaya and standing 4.5 metres tall, they are an arresting presence with their height and stately branches.
Evoking a mountain rock face is the basalt feature wall at the centre of The Lobby Lounge measuring 9 x 6 metres—Southeast Asia’s largest indoor natural feature wall. Australian landscape designer Charlie Albone constructed this distinctive rock wall from 350 kilogrammes of basalt stones that were flown in from Australia, and attached by a stonemason from Scotland. Tumbling Rabbit’s Foot fern, Jungle and Staghorn ferns and eye-catching purple Spanish sprawl mosses bring in a relaxed atmosphere and tropical freshness.
Albone worked with a team of three botanists and six specialists to construct this hanging paradise comprising real potted plants hung on galvanised mesh and artificial plants. Living plants include Club moss, Tassle fern, Bird’s Nest fern, the purple-flowered Spanish sprawl and miniature Potted Ficus trees. Putting together the wall was a massive undertaking of over 700 man-hours of installation.
A three-dimensional rock painting by Singaporean artist Tay Bak Chiang was also installed at the Horizon Club Lounge on Level 24.
Project Name: Tower Wing of Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Location: 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore
Completion Date: May 2017
Gross Floor Area: 94,504 square metres
Number of Rooms: 503 guest rooms and suites, lobby and meeting rooms
Client/Owner/Developer: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore
Hotel President and General Manager: Reto Klauser
Architecture Firm: Chao Tse Ann & Partners Pte Ltd
Principal Architect: Chao Tse Ann
Interior Design Firm: Bond Design Studio Inc
Principal Designer: Ryoichi Niwata
Civil & Structural Engineer: TYLin International Pte Ltd
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: TYLin International Pte Ltd
Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon KPK
Lighting Consultant: Bond Design Studio Inc
Fine Arts: Tay Bak Chiang
Artwork Sculptor: Yi Hwan-Kwon
Artwork Designer: Studio Sawada Design
Artists: Hirotoshi and Nami Sawada
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Shanghai Chong Kee Furniture & Construction Pte Ltd (Guest rooms, Horizon Lounge, Japanese Restaurant)
Images: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore