Friday, February 17, 2006

Halls of Fame

If you read design magazines or sites, you've likely heard of the Hotel Puerta America in Madrid. The concept of the new hotel was to have a different famous architect design each of the 12 floors, plus the lobby and roof deck. The chosen architects designed everything from the hallways to the rooms. I've seen some photos of the various floors, but hats off to Daily Dose for providing us with a complete rundown of the hallways of each floor, top to bottom.

Almost all of the hallways appear to be design statements more than attempts at aesthetically pleasing decor. While they represent a departure from traditional hotel hallways, they all make for dramatic surroundings that will surely make guests feel like they are in some form of sci-fi movie rather than a pricey hotel.

My favorite ones are below, but go on over to Daily Dose and check out all the various floors.

Victorio and Lucchino's 5th floor, Mariscal and Salas's animal print 11th floor, and Richard Gluckman's stoic 9th floor are the only ones that approach resembling traditional hotel hallways to me.

I really liked the bright white light of Ron Arad's 7th floor and its metallic, handwritten room numbers. However, I imagine I'd have a headache after 3 minutes of walking down the hallway. Which would likely also be the case for the shiny red of the 6th floor, the blue glow of the 8th floor, the reflective polygons of the 4th floor, and the white, womb-like walls of the 1st floor.

By contrast, I think you would need a flashlight to help find your rooms on 12th and 10th floor, as the hallways are bathed in black with minimal lighting (although those hallways would be a little more hangover friendly).

In fact, overall I would say most of the architects weren't too concerned with the comfort of the guests, which is even more evident when you see the designs for the guest rooms themselves. Warm is not a descriptive term that comes to mind. I'll let you know when Daily Dose does its future feature on the interior of the rooms, and we can discuss.

David Chipperfield's third floor would normally be too industrial for my tastes, but it is almost conservative in comparison to the other floors. Its sci-fi chic atmosphere is further enhanced by the high-contrast lighting scheme.

Norman Foster's second floor is similar to Arad's, but the black carpet helps mute the design slightly, and the glass walls add an interesting, almost clinical feel to the surroundings that again brings in the futuristic, dystopian element. I picture a soothing woman's voice coming over the intercom reminding the guests to "be well."

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