Project Of The Week – Ultima
This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire series features Ultima a spectacular luxury clubhouse that uses decadent lines and curves inspired by it’s hillside location overlooking a remarkable view of the famous Victoria Harbour.
The designers were tasked with imagining a clubhouse for a leading local developer as part of a package that also included standard provisions for lift lobbies, bathroom and kitchens in the six tower complex and adjacent houses. The clubhouse, a three storey, 3,995 square metre space, is situated in the podium below the towers. The programme encompassed front of house areas including a lobby, fitness centre, spa, indoor ball court, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, library, bar, billiards room, private dining rooms and all supporting back of house areas. The clubhouse’s position on a hill in southeast Kowloon commands unobstructed views of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong island beyond.
SBID had the opportunity to speak with Mathew Lui, Partner of Hirsch Bedner Associates Hong Kong about this exceptional project.
Project Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
What was the client’s brief?
The developer already had a flagship residential property on Hong Kong Island, and intended for this development to be its flagship Kowloon residence. The lead designer, who grew up visiting the site when it was formerly a low rise hill village, was intimately familiar with its orientation and panoramic views. Unusually for a project of this calibre, the developer had no brief for the designer; instead, architectural renderings were provided and the designer had to come up with the programme based on their experience with residential developments. As the building’s architecture included curves and aerodynamic-like details, the yacht concept became all the more relevant to the design scheme.
As the designer was also responsible for the property’s standard provisions, and the clubhouse’s targeted market would be high net worth individuals, whose children may be attending boarding school overseas. The children’s play area was therefore reduced; instead, an indoor ball court for teens returning for holidays was designed with vibrant colours. Hip hop culture was kept in mind to appeal to that particular demographic. The F&B components were styled to flow between pre-dining lounges, bars and private rooms, allowing for a whole evening of entertainment which is an extension of hosting parties at home. The designer felt that residents would regard health and wellness as a priority, and ample square footage was devoted to a well-equipped gym and two pools along with a spa, which ladies could enjoy alone, with friends or as a group.
What inspired the design of the Project?
In response to the site, the theme tying together the different aspects of the programme was inspired by luxury yachts and the former colony’s English roots. It took advantage of the double height volume on the ground floor by creating a central “crown-like” structure embellished with crisscrossed chrome lattice upon glass back-lit for an incandescent glow. A circular planned library below offers plush seating, while upstairs is dominated by an onyx back-lit whiskey bar. Each subsequent area was given its own distinct identity to appeal to different target demographic and user types. For example, the billiards room was designed as a “gentleman’s retreat” and references the glamour of James Bond films, with mirrored panelling that in theory could hide a sophisticated arsenal of pool cues. Overall, the clubhouse’s design reflects an aspirational lifestyle akin to a five star hotel.
What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project?
As the designer developed the overall programme as well as the interior design, a major challenge was determining the hierarchy of spaces. In order to maximise efficiency and eventual usage, each area had to be proportional to the overall project size and scope. It was the first project that this designer was responsible for an entire residential complex, and another challenge was to consider a script for how to sell the residences through the interiors. The clubhouse had to be imbued with the look and feel of a value added component to the unit’s selling price, while also reflecting the developer’s brand as a stylish home builder that employs top materials and fine craftsmanship. An intricate network of perceived value with hardware and software alongside an enviable address had to be conveyed through the interior design.
What was your team’s highlight of the project?
Many new residential developments in Hong Kong offer on-site clubhouses with nondescript design and a standard programme. The results are that some rooms are under-utilised, while others are booked solid throughout the year. With this project, the designer came up with the programme with different intended users in mind. The goal was to ensure that every corner of the clubhouse was functional and appealing to the property owners’ various family members. Each area has its own personality while at the same time there is a logical, efficient progression of spaces.
Using curved lines, extensive use of wood such as Ziricote , textured glass, tinted mirrors, and stone contributed to the nautical aesthetic that form the core of the clubhouse’s design. Yet a novel approach was to embellish that core with self-contained areas that reference the energy of a Nike shop for the ball court, the tongue-in-cheek reference of a Double Zero film for the billiards room, and a Gucci café chic for the VIP dining rooms. Each special area with its own take on a concept helps provide a more immersive experience for the user, underscoring memorable story-lines for the spaces. The clubhouse’s strong narrative concepts led to its eventual design solution.
Why did you enter the SBID International Design Awards?
Winning an SBID International Design Award is truly a high achievement; the Awards are assessed by a technical panel, a public vote and a panel of leading industry experts, who look for outstanding examples of technical content and aesthetic creativity. It is a great acknowledgment of hard work and expertise.
Questions answered by Mathew Lui, Partner of Hirsch Bedner Associates Hong Kong.
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If you missed last week’s Project of the Week with the artful restaurant Alkimia click here to see more
Entries were received, finalists deliberated and the winners of the SBID International Design Awards 2017 have been announced! Click here to see the full list.
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