Perched among the clouds atop one of the tallest skyscrapers in the world is the newly completed Four Seasons Guangzhou, a project that set out to push design boundaries and challenge perceptions of interior spaces.
The design is the creative work of HBA/Hirsch Bedner Associates, the award-winning hospitality design firm also responsible for projects at renowned properties including the Grand Hyatt Dubai, The St. Regis Rome, the Hotel Alfonso XIII in Seville and The Beverly Hills Hotel.
The firm won an international competition to design the hotel and the results are certainly prize-worthy.
The Four Seasons Guangzhou fills the top third of the Guangzhou International Finance Center, a triangular tower that rises 103 stories above the Pearl River. Express elevators whisk guests to the Four Seasons lobby on the 70th floor.
The hotel’s naturally-lit atrium is surrounded by restaurants with the rooms above. An intricately textured screen of woven metal wraps around the interior of lobby and pays tribute to the theme behind the Four Seasons brand with each of the seasons represented.
If the property’s sky-high location reads as daunting, consider too the fact that HBA’s design encourages guests to embrace that height. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer panoramic views meant to enhance the overall experience of one’s stay.
The completed property features 104 rooms and four dining destinations. Throughout the hotel one will find modern Italian furniture coupled with contemporary Chinese art and custom carpets reminiscent of watercolors with their depictions of the skies and clouds. The idea was to create a global feel and to play off the elements of nature and culture in art selection and placement.
Art for the project was curated by HBA’s in-house art consultancy Canvas. The group tapped local artists to create an atmosphere reflective of the four seasons themselves, transitioning from spring on the ground floor to winter at the top floors. In the midst of it all, a glass and steel sky bridge allows guests to peer down 40 floors to the lobby below.
One particular piece making an impact actually comes from Australian Artist Matthew Harding and can be found after a quick trip on the dedicated elevators to the 70th floor sky lobby. The artist created a 10-foot red steel sculpture that’s situated to appear as though floating on a sea of watery glass, a trick achieved by the floor’s reflection of the ceiling 30 floors above.
There existed in this project the obvious challenge of bridging the gap between the modern, yet conservative style of the Four Seasons brand and the avant-garde nature of the building’s architecture. But even beyond the marrying of interiors and exteriors was the fact that the building narrows as it rises.
As a result, support columns intersect the interiors at different points on different levels and so the need arose for multiple interior layouts. In fact, HBA says the only constants in the guest room interiors are the bathrooms and beds, positioned to offer unparalleled views of the Pearl River Delta and cityscape.
More about HBA
HBA has been a force in the hospitality interior design industry since 1965. The global design group includes more than 900 designers, in 16 offices worldwide.
Through its designs, the firm works to create the signature look for traditional luxury brands, independent contemporary boutiques, urban resort spas, world-class residences, restaurants, casinos, and cruise ships.
In 2011 alone, HBA was honored by the Perspective Awards, the Boutique Design Awards and the European Hotel Design Awards.