How Heritage Inspires Contemporary Hotel Architecture?
Designing a hotel with heritage in focus requires delving into a city’s ethos and going beyond design cliches. However, hospitality designers can create an authentic experience for locals and travellers by tapping into multiple sources of inspiration. Hospitality design helps tell a story about the surrounding landscape taking cues from the unique landscape, layering in cultural nuances, and evoking a specific atmosphere. From grand facades and lobbies to rooms with a view of the bustling cityscape, a hotel design can speak volumes about the local culture for the tourist to indulge in the destination.
The preservation of local culture and nuances in the form of hospitality design has become the new norm as they lend a sense of belonging to its visitors and remain highly contextual to the city/place. In this article, Ar. Amit Gulati, Founder of Design21, discusses the importance of bringing heritage into contemporary hotel design that encourages the local identity.
With the tremendous growth in heritage tourism, where tourists seek to participate in an authentic and immersive experience, heritage hotels have become widespread accommodation places. These hotels add aesthetic and symbolic value to the context, carrying the experience of a historic site and culture. Adaptive reuse of heritage buildings is increasingly endorsed as a practical approach to revitalizing heritage cities with various social, economic, cultural, and environmental benefits. Heritage hospitality entails the destination’s personality to build its brand by understanding visitors’ perceptions of the place and creating its distinct identity.
Modern architecture and contemporary design can often feel rootless and generic without indicating the place’s larger context. But contemporary design is also malleable and flexible, lending itself well to local influences. For instance, the Amayaa hotel, outlined by Design21 in Varanasi, translates the spirit of the land of Gods and Ghats. The design of this hotel is a successful attempt to reintroduce the local heritage with a mid-century vibe in a contemporary era. From guest rooms that display traditional artworks to the local materials spread throughout the spaces, the hotel strives to enhance the city’s skyline in several ways by truthfully reflecting on the heritage of Varanasi.
Beyond designing for brand identity, it has now become equally important for hotels to craft a memorable experience that represents the legacy of the location. Architects and designers are pushed to explore the built heritage of the context to design culturally relevant spaces that draw inspiration from tradition yet appear contemporary and global in their expression. Infusing local crafts into the rooms can help us understand multiple expressions & influences and originate informed designs. Deep knowledge of the history and heritage of a locality can steer us away from kitschy imitations, resulting in a meaningful design with a strong sense of place. Designers can also collaborate with local craftspersons & artisans and can devise new ways of keeping local art & crafts alive.
It has become a trend where traditional touches pop up in every element of hotel design and decor these days. This encourages an immersive local experience for luxury travelers into the cultural ethos. If a hotel is circumferenced by iconic architecture, the hotel should also feel the same, be it sweeping high ceilings or intricately woven corridors. Enriching the local architecture in the hotels can give guests a positive experience and keep in line with one of the progressive movements in the hospitality industry.
Creating a niche and attracting a wide range of audience has become vital for any hospitality establishment. In the current age, more than the trendiest and most highly functional designs, an immersive experience of the local destination is all that the travellers need. They expect hotels to describe strong narratives, transcending a traditional ethos. Even though thematic interiors might be in trend for a while, they need to establish a connection between the hotel and the context. The rethought design of contemporary hospitality interiors is rooted in providing locally authentic and dynamic experiences to its users, transforming hotels from just a place to stay to destinations in themselves.