By Jessica Wertheim, REA Intern
How does the hotelier make his hotel the most desirable, beautiful, and unique in an extremely competitive crowd? Does he hire the best architect and design studio? What about bringing together 19 of the top architecture and design studios, from thirteen different countries? That is exactly what the development did for the Hotel Silken Puerta América Madrid in Madrid, Spain.
Each floor of the hotel has a unique concept and is designed by a different architect. From the moment the elevator doors open on a new floor, a new story and adventure begins. The guest is invited not only to view, but also to explore and interact with the space – to look, to touch, to smell.
Unlike most hotels where each room and floor is virtually identical to the other, the designs of this hotel differentiate one room from another. The uniqueness of each room reflects the overall themes of the hotel – individuality, culture, and freedom.
Let’s take a closer look at a few of the floors:
Hotel Garage (Teresa Sapey): Brightly-colored walls and text graphics set the tone for the rest of the hotel. The words that form the finger pointing to the exits, a person walking a dog, and a person in a wheelchair are all from a poem called “Libertad” (freedom in Spanish) by Paul Éluard, Sapey’s main source of inspiration.
Sapey intends to tell an emotional story about the right of every person to live life to the fullest. “It is to move emotions that I work with spaces,” Sapey said. “I’d go for provoking just about any kind of feeling, no matter what it is… [A]rchitecture should provide a varied range of sentiments to be considered both inspiring and useful.”
Floor 1 (Zaha Hadid): Hadid was the first woman recipient of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in the award’s then 25-year history; and, after exploring the first floor, it is no surprise to understand why the jury selected her. Curvy lines create the flow and movement of the space. The snow-white corridor produces a dream-like, fictional world, free of distractions, open for imagination. Once stepping out of the elevator, one enters a clean, well-lit space. Curved benches extend from the walls, illuminated by a twisted lamp that hangs from the ceiling and slowly changes color as time passes.
A unique feature is the guest-controlled messages that appear on the outside of the door. For example, if a guest wants to sleep in, he can project the word “privacy”; he can also project “breakfast” to have a meal delivered to the room in the morning; or even “repair” if something needs to be fixed.
Floor 4 (Plasma Studio): Floor four is a visually and architecturally complex space that plays with geometry and brings the meaning of three-dimensional to a whole new level. The studio used a “repetitive rhythm of partition walls, service ducts and entrance doors as a sectional framework.” Dramatic geometric shapes, built entirely out of steel, are suggestive of spaceship panels; color-changing LED lights outlining the shapes provide a fictitious feel.
Floor 8 (Kathryn Findlay): Kathryn Findlay believes “architecture’s success depends on the convergence of all the elements integrated within the work: external aspects, internal space, structure, environment and location.” She has worked extensively on the integration between technology and architecture – the way in which technological advances influence design and the final product – and continues to explore and incorporate that combination on the 8th floor.
For this project, she collaborated with a lighting designer, Jason Bruges. The two decided that the guest should play and interact with the space. In order to achieve this, they had fiber optic panels constructed for the lobby of the floor, which capture the movement of the guest and then project a distorted image above the panels with some points of color. The walls react to the movement of people walking in front of them; the bedroom numbers are light projections in front of the door. The rooms are completely white – the furniture, the walls, the curtains. It is a place of meditation, peace, and silence.
Floor 5 (Victorio & Lucchino): This comfy and serene space welcomes guests with warm colors and textured fabrics.
Floor 9 (Richard Gluckman): Inspired by the concept of a “box within a box”, Gluckman strives to deliver to the guests an experience entirely different from that of their home; cement ceilings and walls highlight this attempt. The result is an industrial-looking space.
The Hotel Silken Puerta América Madrid is simply “the best in avant-garde design and architecture, where creativity and the freedom to develop each of the spaces has been the hallmark.”
Now, does that scream original or what?