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Create a Completely Different World on Each Floor of a Hotel?

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How Do You Create a Completely Different World on Each Floor of a Hotel?
Hotel Puerta America Madrid

A homage to the world of architecture, design, and freedom

Usually, a hotel’s hallways and rooms all look the same. Hotel Puerta América Madrid is the very antithesis of this.

Its elevator doors open to interiors with Japanese influences, geometric shapes in shiny chrome, and a space that looks like a science fiction movie set. How did this hotel end up with such a wide variation of interior styles?

 

Opening its doors to the public in 2005 as part of the Silken Hotel Group, an investment of over 75 million euros commissioned a star-studded lineup of designers to work on the 12-story hotel, including Zaha Hadid, Marc Newson, Arata Isozaki, Plasma Studio, Kathryn Findlay, and more.

However, instead of collaborating to create cohesion throughout the hotel, each designer was given ‘carte blanche’ to design a complete floor of their own. The result: a completely different universe on each floor. 

Lobby of the floor designed by Plasma Studio, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Lobby of the floor designed by Plasma Studio, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América

Mrs. Diaz, PR representative for the hotel explains: “The Hotel Puerta América is a dream come true, a project where acclaimed designers and architects have conveyed their dream to us. It’s a homage to the world of architecture, design, and to freedom.”

An idea that could totally backfire, ending up with a hotel that seems totally incoherent. Bringing 19 of the world’s best architects together, all with such disparate styles, meant merging different visions of architecture and art. 

But the mission was to create a unique hotel, with spaces that speak to guests of all kinds of nationalities, from different cultural backgrounds.

Hallway of the floor designed by Marc Newson, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Hallway of the floor designed by Marc Newson, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América
Lobby of the floor designed by Arata Isozaki, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Lobby of the floor designed by Arata Isozaki, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América
Lobby of the floor designed by Ron Arad, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Lobby of the floor designed by Ron Arad, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América

Each floor has the same layout. The elevator opens to a spacious lobby, with two hallways on each side leading to the rooms. The designers were offered these spaces to showcase their uninhibited artistic vision, often reflecting their culture or worldview.

In short, the project brief for the architects was basically; just go for it!

So what happens when you give designers free rein?

Judge for yourself by looking at the photos, it's definitely no ordinary hotel. And this doesn’t only refer to the decorative aspects. Every time you step out of the elevator, you embark on a journey of the senses, discovering architectural experiments that include interactive elements.

Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid is praised for her intensely futuristic style with flowing lines and shapes. This distinct style helped her to win prestigious awards, becoming the first woman to win a Pritzker Prize (the Nobel Prize of architecture). Living up to this reputation, her design for the 1st floor of Hotel Puerta América is simply breathtaking.

In the rooms, the floor, walls, and furniture are all one continuous surface, connected through flowing shapes in stark white hues, all rounded in a single curved sweep.

Zaha Hadid Suite, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Zaha Hadid Suite, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América
Zaha Hadid lobby, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América title=
Zaha Hadid lobby, image courtesy of Hotel Puerta América
Digital design of the lobby by Zaha Hadid, courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects title=
Digital design of the lobby by Zaha Hadid, courtesy of Zaha Hadid Architects

Scottish architect Kathryn Findlay is known for her surreal-looking residential projects in Japan, as well as bigger projects such as the Orbit Tower in London. Her floor boasts a space-age design in what seems to be pristine white, using lighting to cast playful color schemes and shadows. 

Often integrating technology with architecture, she teamed up with interactive designer Jason Bruges for this project. He created the lighting installation in the lobby prudently dubbed “Memory Wall”. 

When guests walk by, sensors pick up their movements and even the color of their outfits, projecting a silhouette across a wall of light dots.

Lobby of the floor designed by Kathryn Findlay, with a lighting installation by Jason Bruges called “Memory Wall” title=
Lobby of the floor designed by Kathryn Findlay, with a lighting installation by Jason Bruges called “Memory Wall”

Another stunning masterpiece can be found on the 4th floor, where architects from Plasma Studio showcase their take on radical geometry. The concept of a linear hallway with floors and walls is completely lost here. 

Using a color gradient on all the geometric panels, and some gradually changing LED seams adds even more optical illusion to everything.

One of the most instagrammable hotels in the world

During the three years it took to complete the build of Hotel Puerta América, more than 650 people were sometimes working on the project at the same time.

As the unique work of art that it is, the opening of the hotel garnered a lot of media attention.

Within no time, the hotel was dubbed one of the most instagrammable hotels in the world, perched high on every magazine’s list of most unusual hotels. Daily, dozens of hotel guests use the halls and lobbies for (semi) professional photo shoots during their stay, delivering a steady stream of viral social content for the hotel.

The guest reviews also confirm that the sophisticated surroundings of the hotel have a soothing impact on their mood, proving the positive influence interior design can have on the human psyche. 

Curious to see more of the hotel? Check out this video to enjoy a tour of all floors in 3 minutes:

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