5th August 2020 | IN HOSPITALITY DESIGN | BY SBID ShareTweetPinterestLinkedIn Project of the Week This week’s instalment of the #SBIDinspire interior design series features a luxury hotel suite design by 2019 SBID Awards Finalist HBA. The Beijing Wang Fujing Mandarin oriental hotel is made up of 80 suites and is the only hotel in the very heart of Beijing, with amazing views of the forbidden city a few hundred meters away. Company: HBA Project: Wang Fujing Mandarin Oriental Hotel Location: Beijing, China The project inspiration came from the rich history of Wang Fujing and the Chinese courtyard mansions that used to occupy this important area of Beijing. At the centre of this project, and perhaps in a wider sense at the centre of the dialogue between the Chinese architectural tradition and modernity, is the theme of tension between privacy and intimacy versus openness. What was the client’s brief? The client’s brief was very simple and challenging: they had been discussing the possibility of planning a small luxury hotel in a property they owned in Wang Fujing for a long time; space was limited, especially in the context of Beijing where properties tend to be very large so they told us, it has to be like a small precious hidden gem. What inspired the interior design of the project? The main inspiration was the architectural experience offered by the courtyard mansions that used to populate this area of Beijing; their conception as a series of specialized courtyards gives a sense intimacy and seemed to respond to the briefing and to our desire as architects and designers to connect with such an amazing physical and historical context. What was the toughest hurdle your team overcame during the project? Some time ago, When I was first put in charge of a project, I remember having a conversation with a senior executive and he told me: young man, remember that “best” is the worst enemy of “good” … In this project, because for the prestige of the owner, the amazing location and our own ambition, we were all compelled to do the absolute best and we all suffered the psychological burden of having to achieve “the best”. “The best” is per se an unmeasurable quantity and a target that will always leave you uncertain and unsatisfied as it’s always possible to improve upon something extremely good. The project took 8 long years, we went through many ideas and several iterations of the design, getting each time closer to what felt like increasingly good… but was it the best? Looking back, I think we gave ourselves the biggest hurdle by setting our collective goal as achieving “the best”. What was your team’s highlight of the project? When we started this project we were in a phase of our career where our main focus was food and beverage design; so to us, the highlight of this project remains the combination MO bar and Café Zi as it represents the most mature work of our team in what has been a long time obsession: We’ve never accepted the limitation of the built environment to adapt to changes in mood, to different situations; and this combination of spaces is all about adaptation and change. The restaurant offers 3 different menus at breakfast lunch and dinner and the MO bar transitions alongside the restaurant from a cheerful courtyard in the morning where breakfast is served to an intimate and somewhat den-like environment at night. The décor is carefully studied to constantly change at the “flip of a panel” and hopefully, it will surprise endlessly. I’d like to invite the guests to visit the restaurants at different times and find for themselves. Why did you enter the SBID Awards? We consider SBID one of the few truly international design awards and we thought that entering SBID with our project was a great way to measure how close we got to designing “the best”. Questions answered by Federico Masin, Partner at HBA, and Chief Designer for MOWF. We hope you feel inspired by this week’s design! Let us know what inspired you #SBIDinspire If you missed last week’s Project of the Week, featuring a Chicago residential refurbishment, click here to see more.