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ASIA Luxury Hotels and Resorts


Written by Staff Writer


Singapore, 10 July 2017 –

After an eight-month rejuvenation, Shangri-La Hotel’s Tower Wing, the core of the property, emerges with a resplendent new urban resort look. In The Lobby Lounge, a spacious indoor garden paradise flooded with natural light welcomes guests from near and far. Potted ficus benjamina trees give the impression of walking through a park, and at the centre is a floor to ceiling basalt rock of lush tropical ferns and mosses. The central chandelier gives way to an infinity pool of sleek black stone as the focus of the space, while six sculptures of children at play are dotted about the entire lobby. At the reception area, the chandeliers have made way for a soaring installation of thousands of stylised metallic leaves.

In every area of the lobby and mezzanine floors, one will find contemporary pieces of furniture with sustainable materials sourced from Southeast Asia: parchment and shagreen from Thailand, rattan and wood from the Philippines. Peranakan ceramics and patterns are also found in The Lobby Lounge and accessories in the mezzanine floor, sourced from Jing De Zhen Ceramic Institute in Jiangxi province, China. Vintage pieces are sourced from international antique dealers.

The hotel’s reimagined Tower Wing lobby, guest rooms and NAMI Restaurant and Bar are the conception of Japanese interior designer Ryoichi Niwata of Bond Design Studio and his dedicated team of craftspeople and artisans. An artist by training, Niwata was at award-winning Japanese design firm Super Potato for 12 years before starting Bond Design Studio in 2011.

Each of these unique spaces has been conceived to heighten the enjoyable guest experience, by drawing on elements of the property’s location, culture and history, infusing these with the elegance of Japanese aesthetics and philosophy. For instance, each new painting above the bed for the 503 guestrooms is a unique creation. Also, each wooden console beneath the TV is a distinctive piece of sustainable timber from North America.

Mr. Niwata worked closely with the hotel group’s design team who commissioned the artists for this latest reimagining of the hotel. The design inspiration is Shangri-La, the mythical utopia between heaven and earth. There are five key elements featured in the design:


Wind: Stepping into the lobby, one is immediately greeted by the Tree Canopy ceiling

art installation, of thousands of swirling stylised three-toned metallic leaves. (Please click the hyperlink to view the video).

The artwork is by Studio Sawada Design, headed by Hirotoshi and Nami Sawada. The piece evokes the lightness of cloud and the flow of wind, tickling the imagination to see it perhaps even as a school of fish or flock of birds.

It was inspired by the movement of nature in water, trees, clouds and the earth. Studio Sawada Design, founded in 1994, taps on the expertise of a stable of artists, designers and craftsmen to work with luxury brands to create nature-inspired artworks. Some of Sawada’s notable clients include Printemps in Paris, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and IFC Hong Kong. Born in 1958 in Japan, Hirotoshi Sawada graduated from Osaka University of Art in 1979. Constant themes in his art are organic forms and the movement of nature.

Water: Six sculptures of children playing by the central infinity pool feature collectively make up the charming work Children Dabbling in the Water by artist Yi Hwan Kwon (please click the hyperlink to view the video). They impart a sense of childlike free-spiritedness to the lobby, such as the sculpture of a girl with a donut swimming float around her waist, and a boy taking a dip, submerged to the shoulders in the infinity pool. Artist Yi Hwan Kwon conceived this group of carefree young ones having fun about the lobby to evoke a sense of uninhibited playfulness and harmony.


Seoul-based Korean artist Yi Hwan Kwon is a renowned sculptor known for his intriguing works that inhabit the space between reality and an imaginary world of illusion. Yi Hwan’s typical process is to first photograph his subjects then manipulate the images using computer graphics. The end product is one that wavers between the two-dimensional and three-dimensional forms, straddling imagination and reality. Yi graduated from Kyongwon University, Seongnam with Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in environmental sculpture in 2004. After placing in the Korea Conceptual Sculpture Prizes in 1999, he participated in the Busan Biennale at the Eulsookdo Park in Busan City in 2004.


Wood: Two large root balls and finishes on the lobby furniture, walls and framing impart a sense of rusticity and nature’s touch as a complement to the contemporary

lobby design, further enhancing the ambience of a warm guest welcome.


Trees: Six potted ficus benjamina (weeping fig) trees loom over armchairs in the lobby, their crowns providing guests with a gentle canopy as they read or pass the time in

conversation. Indigenous to India and Malaya and standing 4.5 meters tall,

they are an arresting presence with their height and stately branches.


Stone: Evoking a mountain rock face is the basalt feature wall at the centre of The Lobby Lounge measuring 9 x 6 metres – Southeast Asia’s largest indoor natural feature wall. Australian landscape designer Charlie Albone constructed this distinctive rock wall from 350 kilogrammes of basalt stones that were flown in from Australia, and attached by a stonemason from Scotland. Tumbling Rabbit’s Foot fern, Jungle and Staghorn ferns and eye-catching purple Spanish sprawl mosses bring in a relaxed atmosphere and tropical freshness.


Widely known as one of Australia’s best landscape designers, the LNA Master Landscapers Association Ambassador is a two-time winner of the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show (UK) and stars in The LifeStyle Channel (Australia) as its resident horticulture expert. He worked with a team of three botanists and six specialists to construct this hanging paradise comprising real potted plants hung on galvanised mesh, and artificial plants. Living plants include Club moss, Tassle fern, Bird’s Nest fern, the purple-flowered Spanish sprawl and miniature Potted Ficus trees. Putting together the wall was a massive undertaking of over 700 man-hours of installation.


A three-dimensional rock painting by Singaporean artist Tay Bak Chiang will be installed next month at the Horizon Club Lounge on Level 24. The graduate from Singapore’s Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and the China Academy of Art was awarded First Prize in the Chinese Painting category in the 19th and 22nd United Overseas Bank Painting of the Year Competitions (2000 and 2003).

In 2002, he received the highly regarded Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council of Singapore. Nature is his constant inspiration, which he interprets through Southeast Asian imagery such as heliconias, banana and palm trees and lotus ponds.

Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts currently operates over 95 hotels with a room inventory of over 40,000. Shangri-La hotels are five-star deluxe properties featuring extensive luxury facilities and services. Shangri-La hotels are located in Australia, Canada, mainland China, Fiji, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Myanmar, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sultanate of Oman, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom. The group has a substantial development pipeline with upcoming projects in Australia, mainland China, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. For more information, please visit www.shangri-la.com.


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