Capital of Vision by W. Design: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Apartment Lobby/Amenity
A soothing retreat for emperors in 18th-century China, the Summer Palace was at that time set amid shaded gardens surrounded by a quiet forest. In today’s capital, near the palace, chief design director Ben Wu recognized a similar need for escape. So he brought a feeling of imperial-style serenity to a building’s ground level and basement, 20,000 square feet in all. “We emphasized the relationship between man and nature, which is the essence of Chinese philosophy,” he explains.
This is instantly felt on entering the lobby. Its visual focal point, fluttering ever so slightly in the breeze, is a cloudlike ceiling installation of white crosses 3-D printed from resin. Elsewhere, softer lines and darker colors, accented by copper and lacquer, further enhance the calming, almost poetic mood. The balustrades of the spiral staircase, descending to the amenity level, are oak finished in an inky black to evoke the swooping brushstrokes found in Chinese calligraphy. Along corridors is yet another traditional element, glass pendant fixtures positioned just 2 feet above the floor to create an atmospheric lighting effect. Of course, there are thoroughly up-to-date attractions as well, such as a lap pool fit for an emperor.