InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is the group’s 200th property. Hotel Spec editor Can Faik spoke to the interior designer and architect behind this amazing project...
InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland is a bold work of architectural design. It has been masterfully built directly into the side wall of a quarry decommissioned for over a decade. In a city renowned for its shiny skyscrapers, the quarry hotel emerges as a unique ‘groundscraper’, an edifice built downwards into the ground instead of upwards towards the sky. The hotel features two above ground storeys and 15 storeys that stretch 88 metres below altitude, creating a breath-taking facade.
There are 336 luxury rooms and suites all with spectacular views of the quarry. Each room enjoys its own unique style based on the quarry’s “waterfall” and “rock wall” elements. Guest room types include “turquoise water” bedrooms, “red industrial” twin rooms and underwater suites featuring an in-room aquarium.
The hotel also has six underwater suites, which offer two levels: the landing deck at water level houses the outdoor terrace and living room, whilst the underwater level features a bedroom encased within a turquoise aquarium.
The hotel offers a wide array of exciting activities including extreme challenges such as rock climbing and a glass-floor skywalk.
RESTAURANT AND BAR
Mr. Fisher Specialty Restaurant located one floor below water level, is a seafood venue, enveloped in a sea of water creatures swimming in a custom-built aquarium, while Cai Feng Lou Chinese Restaurant boasts a thematical motif representing traditional Chinese bird-keeping culture.
The Quarry Bar with its awe-inspiring views serves up creative concoctions as well as all-time favourites.
The 200th InterContinental hotel, like all other InterContinental hotels, will provide guests with high standard of branded guest service and captivating destination experiences.
Martin Jochman Principal & Design Director JADE+QA, and Joe Cheng Founder and Design Director CCD/Cheng Chung Design speak to Hotel Spec editor Can Faik about their vision behind this state-of-the-art project...
Martin Jochman, Principal & Design Director, JADE+QA
Tell me about your involvement on the InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland?
As the architect for the hotel, my role was to bring to life a unique concept. I wanted to explore the architectural possibilities of the abandoned site, and create something special, wonderous and give it a new lease of life.
I have been involved in the process from start to finish, continuously making sure that the hotel was staying true to the initial designs, despite any challenges thrown our way.
What was the inspiration behind the design concept?
The main idea was to utilise a disused industrial site (what we call a ‘brown field’ site) and give it new use. Our intention was to exemplify how a difficult site, that is a manmade scar on the surface of the earth, can be given new life and made into an attractive leisure environment.
How long did it take to bring this project from concept to completion?
Were there any particular challenges? If so, what were they?
There were many challenges created by the unusual location and the fact that the building is an ‘inverted groundscraper’. These were technical, operational, financial and cultural challenges. Of the technical challenges the most important were satisfying the seismic and fire regulations and ensuring safety from the flooding and potential rock falls. All these had to be solved to create the building that can safely function as a resort hotel.
Joe Cheng, Founder and Design Director CCD / Cheng Chung Design (HK)
What was the inspiration behind the design concept InterContinental Shanghai Wonderland?
CCD has established a hospitality space that is full of adventurous stories, giving an exotic brand positioning to the hotel. In consideration of the geographic location, topography and uniqueness of the project, CCD has come up with the theme of ‘Adventure to the center of the earth’ as the design concept. Starting from entering the lobby to the underground floors, such as guestrooms, theme restaurants, and bars, all interior designs are conceptualized by an adventurous story. The entire staying experience would be described as following an ancient British explorer to a mining site from the outer layer of the rock to the inner core of the Earth, and ultimately to the underwater sea world.
How many people did you work with on the design project?
30 people from CCD have participated in this project.
What was the highlight of the project for you?
CCD is dedicated in reshaping the relationship between the architecture and natural environment through hospitality design. The abandoned quarry is located at Sheshan Mountain Range, with waterfall and green plants growing along the cliffs. After a few site visits, CCD design team felt that humans have changed the natural environment attributing to fast social and economic development in the past decades, but the power of nature is surreptitiously penetrating the development of human civilization as well, therefore, the changing relationship between human and nature was the initial inspiration of the interior design.
CCD design team thus puts the inspiration into the design, and tries to find the balance between the natural landscape and human beings, creating the consonance between natural environment and artificial designs.