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Located in the centre of the old town Nanjing, Kempinski Hotel Nanjing is adjacent to the Ming Dynasty Palace Ruins, the world’s largest palace complex during the Middle Ages. To remind people of the transient yet glorious dynasty and to endow the hotel with unique memorable points and core competitiveness, the designer applies cultural narratives of Ming Dynasty to the magnificent space to give a review of the ancient Chinese civilization that appeared 600 years ago.
Typical cultural themes of the Ming Dynasty, such as the ‘Imperial Palace’, ‘Jiangnan Examination Hall’, ‘Qinhuai Night Scenery’ and ‘Jinling Taverns’, are included in the space design. Through modern design approaches, rather than boring history reproduction, the design simplifies the otherwise complex palace architecture and royal culture, making space an epitome of history, a place that meets modern people’s residential requirements, as well as a perfect integration of international hotel brand advantages and local ethnic features.
The lobby was the main point of the design. Its east-to-west orientation, plus the glass-structured curtain wall, introduces strong sunlight to the interior space. To reduce light transmittance, the ceiling is decorated with dark metal instead of regular white paint to darken the tone in the space. Carved feature screens, made of double-layered metal panels and placed at the reception, not only help weaken dazzling light but also lead guests into historical context through the Ming Royal architecture motif.
The design maximizes the usage of natural light to lower energy consumption. Cases include main function areas like the western restaurant, bar, lobby and lobby lounge all being arranged along the glass curtain wall to borrow outside landscapes and light for ambience creation. Ceramic tiles, low-impact paint and other innovative environment-friendly materials are used in the fitness centre to create an interior relaxation environment closer to nature.
In terms of circulation design, considering business requirements and later-phase operation, the designer separates public areas from guestroom areas. The lobby and guestrooms are on higher levels, which can be reached via dedicated elevators and therefore provide a better and more private living experience. In contrast, the ballroom and restaurants are on the first floor to facilitate hotel guest services and to attract a surrounding potential customer. What is more, the lobby lounge, meeting room, bar and other adjacent function areas share the F&B preparation system to optimize public space efficiency while maximizing the hotel’s revenue.
Yangbangsheng & Associates Group (YANG) is a large-scale Chinese design corporation based in Shenzhen, with offices in Paris, New York, Shanghai, Chengdu and Wuhan. YANG plays a leading role in China’s culturally distinctive hotel design, by insisting on an internationalized interpretation of local cultures and oriental aesthetics, and has constantly presented high-quality works, which won more than 200 awards at home and abroad, including Best of Hotel Category Award in the IIDA Global Excellence Awards Competition and the Best Resort in 34th annual Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design.
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