Sukhothai Shanghai by Neri & Hu Design and Research Office: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Boutique Hotel
Hired to create a Chinese spin-off of a storied Bangkok hotel, Interior Design Hall of Fame members Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu devised a scheme for Sukhothai Shanghai that speaks to the brand’s roots and oasislike élan. “The project encapsulates the core essences of Thai culture: a profound spiritual compassion, a refined aesthetic sense, and a deep connection with nature,” Neri says.
But the 260,000-square-foot property, located in a new-build mixed-use development in Shanghai’s bustling Jing’an District, lacked the verdant garden that is a defining feature of the original. So the partners created what Neri describes as “spaces of reprieve” in both the public areas and the 201 guest accommodations. “We were inspired by a universal condition that defines many dense Asian metropolises,” Hu adds, “the sense of fragility and congestion and the correlated desire for room to breathe and rejuvenate.”
Every aspect of the design nods to nature, from the piazza-esque lounge areas to the green terrazzo that paves one of the restaurants. The stair from the lobby to the ballroom level is encased in a wood lattice strung with glass pendant fixtures that glow like moonlight. Guests navigate the lower-level spa by way of a pebble-bordered garden path. Even the color and materials palette of the guest rooms was conceived to recall a courtyard, with the bathing area articulated with thick stone walls and timber beams to read as the adjacent house.
Project Team: Chloe Chiu; Akrawit Yanpaisan; Laurent Tek; Cao Fang; Daisy Yuan; Gail Chen; Gu Jia; Jiameng Li; Joanne Feng; Lara De Pedro; Megan Shen; Tracy Fong; Brian Lo; Mona He; Xiaowen Chen; Zhao Yun; Christine Neri; Chengju Chang; Litien Peong; Siwei Ren.