4 Star Style
Creating a chic executive hotel was the top priority for IMA and the Radisson SAS.
The second phase of the Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Media City has just opened its doors showcasing a modern continuity between the adjacent towers, designed by Isabelle Miaja and her team from IMA in Singapore.
The extension adds a further 125 deluxe and business guest rooms, including five suites. It is designed to be the main entrance for the whole hotel and as such, the reception area is on a much grander scale than its older sibling. The main all-day dining restaurant, Chef's House, is open to the lobby space too, encouraging a lively bustle befitting a busy business hotel. Tower 2 also provides the main conference and meeting facilities of the hotel and is designed to appeal to the executive traveller.
Miaja says: "The overall design concept is a chic modern business hotel catering to an international clientele. The interiors feature unique natural stones combined with glass and stainless steel to give the design a modern edge."
The fluidity of design was executed by using the same architectural finishes and details as Tower 1, and both buildings are linked through a modern glass bridge connecting the towers on the first floor. "The colour schemes of the executive rooms and suites are similar to Tower 1 in terms of the overall chic modern styling, but we used different furniture because of the large-scale space of the lobby in Tower 2 and it is more luxurious because the room size is bigger," Miaja explains.
The balance of creating a sense of luxury with the reality of being a four-star hotel was a key consideration in the design process, as Miaja explains: "The design approach for a four-star hotel is definitely different to a five-star property. This reflects in the architectural planning and overall space allocation of the property. The guest rooms have three fixture fittings compared to five-star hotels, which require a minimum of four fixtures."
She continues: "Fortunately for us, we had a five-star budget to work with. From the sanitaryware to the finishes and fabrics, all are quite high-end and definitely give the hotel a luxurious feel throughout. The client invested in unique artworks and imported furniture and accessories to complete the look."
Siegfried Nierhaus, general manager, Radisson SAS Hotel Dubai Media City says: "The design for both towers is a combination of fashion with tradition and contemporary with elegance. Original art and sculpture are key facets to the hotel's design." After installing some striking artwork in the first tower, including the Emirate-inspired nickel sculpture gracing the lobby of Tower 1 and the three-dimensional Indonesian teak cubic sculpture in Certo, Miaja knew the art in Tower 2 had to be equally as impressive.
She says: "The sourcing of the artwork was exciting due to the scale of the spaces. The illusionary art of Thomas Maurer from Australia is quite extraordinary and unique." IMA used one commissioned piece by Maurer in Certo which was 6m long, and implemented similar stunning art pieces in the second tower, including colourful, circular glass 'portholes' in the bathrooms of the guest rooms to add contrast to the otherwise sleek and simple bathroom interior.
The sanitaryware was sourced directly from Roca in Spain, while Miaja opted for Hansgrohe to supply the faucets and showerheads. Polystone imported the white marble used in the bathrooms from Volakas in Greece. As Nierhaus explains, the projected clientele provided the concept for the guest rooms, as the client, operator and designer all worked together to envisage the future guests and what they might need or want in their ideal hotel room: "The concept was to design a unique state-of-the-art product and modern rooms that would appeal to the hip and young urban professionals working nearby. It should meet the requirements of the dynamic business travellers, providing more than just hotel facilities."
The balance between functionality and pleasing aesthetics is clear in the guest rooms, which are fitted with carpet from USA commercial carpet specialist Bolyu, which was supplied by Goodrich Global in Singapore. This range is designed specifically for commercial, mainly hospitality, interiors, as it looks good, is easy to maintain and has a long lifespan.
Miaja opted for Philippe Starck designed lighting from Flos, manufactured in Italy, but distributed through Million Lighting in Singapore. This designer element is in keeping with the Radisson SAS's desire to push the definition of a four-star hotel up a level. Nierhaus says: "We have invented an inspiring and sense-stimulating hotel that uniquely caters to every possible need of both discriminating leisure and business travellers. The second tower has five-star amenities, but the overall hotel rates as a four-star plus hotel."
The furniture was from a selection of suppliers, including Andreu World from Spain and the Italian firms Cavali and Alivar. Miaja also had items custom-made from Xtra Design to fit in with her visions for the suites. She injected an exotic element into the joinery work, using Macassar ebony veneer from Africa.
"The challenges were to ensure the quality control of the workmanship and keeping within the project schedule. The original timescale was to complete both towers by mid 2006. There has been a lot of unforeseen design changes that have evolved through the course of the construction, thereby causing the delays," Miaja adds.
The completion of the second phase has signalled a new direction for the hotel group as Nierhaus explains: "The property has been designed as per the Radisson SAS standards and as a management company Radisson SAS managed together with the owner to make this property a perfect sample to be considered as the newest member to the 'new breed hotels' under the Radisson SAS brand because of its contemporary and chic style."
It is also a clear indication that expectations of what constitutes a four-star hotel will be raised following this launch. As the holiday brochures for this region get ready to welcome budget hotels and more three and four-star hotels to their pages, Dubai has already set a very high standard of hotel design and it will be interesting to see how other designers follow these high hopes with much tighter budgets.