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Situated in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, the Hotel des Arts Saigon has been designed to reflect the city that surrounds it. While not a historical replica, with the architecture being modern and contemporary, the interior design by dwp | design worldwide partnership tells the story of Saigon’s past — from the influence of the French colonial period, the civil war and finally up to the dynamic growth seen in the city today.
The city creeps into the design through numerous small elements that can be found around the hotel — from copper pots and pans to colonial-era tiles that echo the interiors of Vietnamese shophouses and traditional café furniture. By day the hotel’s restaurant evokes the feeling of Vietnamese street markets, but by night it transforms into an elegant and intimate dining room.
The design of the hotel furthermore focuses on the romance of travel, especially that of a journey from the south to the north of Vietnam. The interiors of the hotel incorporate multiple visual layers that allow guests to go on a journey of exploration and discovery as they progress through the different sections of the hotel. This journey is one that is experienced through art, found objects and key furniture items.
However, it is art that sits at the center of the design of this hotel. On the very first meeting with the design team, the owner took them to his private gallery. The paintings there expressed a consistently intense and moody theme that told the story of women separated from her lover. This experience stayed with the designers and it can be said that the hotel represents a beautiful woman with a sad but romantic past. Much of the owner’s art collection is now placed around different sections of the hotel for guests to experience.
There is also more to the design of the Hotel des Arts Saigon than just its aesthetics. Hotels are sometimes said to be magical places where everything is delivered, cooked or made up invisibly and seamlessly. A lot of the design of a good hotel is that which is not immediately apparent. The small footprint of the hotel was a challenge in that the hotel was required to deliver multiple functions. In addition to the reception, lobbies and guestrooms, the hotel also includes restaurants, function and meeting rooms, a sky lounge, a health club, a pool and pool bar and a café. All these function areas required innovative and efficient space planning of both front-of-house and back-of-house areas.
This thoughtful space planning was also conducted with the guestrooms. It is here that the dwp design team managed to deliver five-star rooms in a limited space through incorporating the bathroom and bedroom into a single space. The guestrooms at Hotel des Arts Saigon feature thoroughly modern comforts but with reminders of a by-gone era. There is also a certain romantic touch that is often missing from many contemporary hotels.
With the design of the Hotel des Arts Saigon, dwp have delivered a luxurious but comfortable and romantic boutique hotel that has a strong sense of its place in the center of this dynamic and complex city.