In what’s known as the New York of the East, ancient and modern, tradition and innovation live in perfect harmony between the extraordinary skyline of skyscrapers, the buzzing alleys with their little restaurants, the shops in the Old Town and the palpable spirituality of the Temple of the Jade Buddha. Shanghai these days is an extraordinarily fascinating metropolis that not only attracts investors but also visitors from all over the world. Hardly surprising, therefore, that its hotels compete to offer their clients the ultimate in luxury, privacy and relaxation.
The Middle House, a five star hotel designed by Made in Italy architect Piero Lissoni is the latest in the Swire Hotels chain, a young brand that is turning Asia’s luxury hotel sector on its head. It is an unexpected space, enormously striking, joyful and sensual, which echoes the city’s contrasts with its blend of contemporary design and Chinese tradition.
The Lissoni Architettura concept starts with the façade and then moves onto the interior design of the two towers – The Middle House Hotel, with 111 rooms, event spaces, swimming pools and spas, and The Middle House Residences, with 102 apartments.
The theme running through the overall project is the juxtaposition of different forms of expression. The typical stylistic characteristics of the local artisan culture are offset by contemporary elements, generating an intriguing spatial balance based on contrasting materials and colours. The internal areas are sophisticated and elegant in their simplicity. Attention to detail reigns supreme.
The hotel rooms, all devised to accentuate the feeling of being in an ample and luminous space, are furnished with harmonious contemporary design elements, made to measure pieces and modern reinterpretations of traditional Asian furniture, such as the Oriental-style bedside tables, table lamps and long benches in the living area. A selection of accessories lends a domestic feel to the spaces, while the carefully sourced Chinese artworks magnify the sensation of luxury and uniqueness. Backlit walls and glass screens are brought into play to illuminate the divided-off bathroom areas.
The hugely comfortable and welcoming rooms in the residence are split into different areas by means of semi-transparent partitions, which serve to accentuate the effect of being in a large open space. Sliding wooden panels featuring a fine, typical Chinese inlay, mark the border between the bedroom and the living room. The dominant colours are the warm white used for the walls and the dark brown used for the brushed bamboo parquet and the sanitaryware in the bathroom. Contemporary furnishings blend with traditional local elements, with pops of colour on the furniture and objets trouvés.