TAJ Hotels has recently engaged WOW Architects + Warner Wong Design to design the flagship of their new brand Vivanta whose response was a unique combination of contemporary space and high-end technology set within a strong landscape paradigm.
Whitefield is a rapidly developing suburb of Bangalore where many IT related companies were and still are building corporate offices, residential precincts and related amenities, and it is one of the first successful working models of work and play environments in India.
This naturally made the new hotel a gateway statement between the IT Park and the developing city around it.
Located at the entrance of the ITPB, Vivanta serves as a contemporary socio-cultural hub for the local IT community. The architects were confronted with constraints of low height restrictions and high site coverage which demanded creative, adaptive solutions, from which emerged this landscaper concept.
“By introducing landscape back to the folded ground ‘plane’, the idea of a landscaper (as opposed to skyscraper) building was formed,” says Wong. “The podium then seemed to dematerialize, blurring the distinction between building and ground, architecture and landscape.”
The hotel’s three-storey room block extrudes itself from this ground plane, hovers above it and flexes its way around the site, lifting its way mid-air to contain 200 rooms within its form. These are the key features of the project.
As a result, public and private spaces flow and connect to each other in an endless promenade of spatial experiences with cinematic qualities that are quite unique to its context in this part of the world, drawing references to traditional Indian dance forms of twisting and circling.
The design of the building embraces the context of Bangalore’s culture and climate, adopting a site-specific landscape strategy that plays on relationships between interior and exterior spaces.
The façade design was generated from a desire to ‘remember’ the site with a curtain wall composed of colored glass and PVB laminated glass, and designed for optimal solar performance.
Sustainability takes on a poetic ideal emanating from the sculptured form; the landscaped ground plane becomes a green roof facilitating various energy efficiencies.
The hotel rooms are housed in the pixilated greenscape façade with each facet a room conceptualized as an urban studio loft. According to Wong, the rooms were conceived of as one open plan space. Within each room 28 square meters are zoned into bedroom study corner, relaxation corner, naturally lighted shower, walk-in-wardrobe and bathroom and glass enclosed WC.
The appliances and conveniences of TV, mini- bar, magazine rack, and AV systems are all built into the walls.
The rooms carry a light and lifted ambiance by way of fit and finish, stemming from the loft concept. Space conservation and an openness that is created by natural light reinforce this concept.
Based on an Indian garden pavilion theme, the rooftop bar takes advantage of Bangalore’s good climate.
The design uses natural ventilation and great unobstructed views of the surrounding tech park and the hotel’s sloping garden roof.
Access to the roof is through a series of dramatic vertical accents. Either from the lobby along the main grand stair promenade, up from the pool along the main sloping roof garden, or an intimate passage from the patio of the Indian restaurant.
The journey is then rewarded by arriving into a cozy lounge called Tease that is a series of tented seating platforms around a reflecting pool. There’s also an indoor disco/live music area for higher volume partying.
The all-day-dining restaurant is the main dining area and is located close to the lobby and the nexus of activity and flows of the hotel.
It is a tall dynamic space that looks out on and is connected to several courtyards, gardens, terraces and the main pool deck.
The ceiling of the dining room is a dynamic energy field; a rippling and waving surface that interacts with the action stations and diners below.
The Indian specialty restaurant, Terracotta, is based on the cuisine of India’s North West. In order to take advantage of the city’s mild weather, the design layout is a dining room with an open plan kitchen and a large dining patio.
The entire kitchen is a backdrop to the restaurant where the bread oven, tandoor and grill become show case elements for the guests.
Material patterns of the floor wrap up from the floor to the ceiling of the restaurant providing a seamless transition between the indoor-outdoor spaces.
In all, the resultant form and function of the hotel coalesce into a symphony of meaningful, spatial and sensorial experiences that shapes the Vivanta brand and signals the coming of age of hospitality design in India.