Set in phase 2 of Taoxichuan, the Art & Tourism development in the heart of Jingdezhen, the project celebrates all things ceramic in a one-of-a-kind hotel, Taoxichuan Hotel, the Unbound Collection by Hyatt. The project, named “The Road of a Fascination,” is a story of a journey: Like the long and fascinating life of porcelain, a journey toward the unknown, the unexpected, an urge to find the truth, and all the encounters in between.
ARCHITECTURE by David Chipperfield Architects
“Jingdezhen is a city in the Jiangxi province of eastern China, famous for its porcelain which has been produced in the area for over 1,000 years. Situated close to the city center, an extensive area of large former factory buildings set up for the production of porcelain in the mid-twentieth century is being redeveloped as a new mixed-use quarter” – David Chipperfield Architects
“David Chipperfield Architects developed a master plan, which preserves, restores and converts the existing buildings while complementing them with new buildings. The practice was also appointed to design three of the buildings within the master plan: The Grand Theatre, a music academy, and a hotel complex. The hotel complex is situated to the south. It consists of four separate buildings comprising a four-star hotel, a five-star hotel and an events venue with a light steel structure connecting them at ground level to create communal outdoor areas for various public activities” – David Chipperfield
INTERIOR DESIGN by AIM ARCHITECTURE
AIM Architecture believes that authenticity matters and that culture and context are great influences. AIM’s projects exist with purpose in space, and remain authentic to their surroundings. Understanding spaces and origins allow the studio to create projects that respond boldly and honestly to their locations.
For this project, AIM’s approach towards the interiors was first to ‘finish the architecture’: extending the brick facades of the exterior to the interiors, thereby using the architecture instead of replacing it. With this in mind, the physical spaces are divided by themes that feature the porcelain journey from China’s origin, eventually, spread and influence in the broader world, and return to its native home. The different spaces are the origin (Lobby), the creation (Lounge Emerald), the discovery (Ballroom), the fascination (Cobalt Restaurant), the appreciation (Fitness Center), and the return (Guestrooms).
Each space explores and uses ceramic differently, pulling out different colors and textures. Each area is a piece of the journey. The project seeks to unite raw and refinement, turning ceramics into architecture, interior, furniture, and patterns. The centerpiece in the connecting street is inspired by the fire kilns that bake the porcelain—Black, a landscape of platforms to put art to be or art that has become. Foof lights evoke the powerful heat of the kilns.
AIM’s second move was to dedicate each of the three volumes to one technique. The lounge uses green Celeron glazing. To move through the hotel is to move through different techniques of porcelain. An array of marble in a standard hotel is transformed here to a kaleidoscope of skill and technique.
The restaurant and Fitness Center are committed to the methods of using cobalt for blue coloring.
The meeting space and ballroom are all about the lightness and transparency of porcelain.
The guest area is more subtle and grounded. Called Ateliers, they are places for guests to return to, retreat, and refresh among the unglazed and more workshop-like textures, ‘benches’ and shelves.
Clay tones dominate, and canvas walls create solitude and opportunities for encounters with material and uniqueness.
As a whole, the hotel is a tribute to the technique and experience of porcelain in the heart of its birthplace. It is worth a journey now as much as was in the times of the Portuguese or Dutch tradesmen and emperors. Here, ceramic is commemorated in a way it has never been, expressing both as an honest material and exploring its versatility and power in interior design.