Blossom Dreams HotelMichael Webb • Photography by Jing Xufeng • October 4, 2017
When it came to the design for the Blossom Dreams Hotel, Jiang Xiao-Lin, founder and design director of Shenzen-based Co-Direction Interior Design drew on Yangshuo’s fantastic landscapes of flowing water, soaring peaks, and dense forests. Located in the area around Guilin, China at the junction of the Yulong and Li Rivers—one of the world’s most scenic wonders—the firm turned the 26-key hotel into a dreamlike escape with striking views.
It was an inspired choice as the hotel combines tradition with a contemporary sensibility. “The challenge was to create a design that would complement the extraordinary scenery, framing views but also offering guests a sense of tranquility within,” he says. “Our team used a variety of materials and were inspired by nature and the legacy of Chinese craftsmanship to create an interior of great beauty.”
The first hurdle to overcome was the proximity of an old building in the village of Xiatang; this was screened out by a palisade of bamboo. A landscaped forecourt with dry and water gardens mediates between the jagged karst peaks and the quiet elegance of the lobby. This is also enclosed with bamboo and evokes the gardens of Suzhou in which nature is abstracted and compressed within a small walled space. In the lobby, lattice screens of bamboo span wood-paneled columns and play off the pale stone floor. Antique replica chests and chairs fit easily into this frame with a book bar and tea room opening out of the lobby.
“White space, symbolizing infinity, is an essential part of Chinese art,” says Jiang, “and we’ve used it here to enhance the environment and create a sense of spaciousness. The regional culture of Yangshao inspired our design—bamboo rafting on the river, summer lotus and autumn dandelion, sculptured mountains, and the narrow alleys of the village. We tried to integrate traditional culture and innovation.”
In the guestrooms, a color palette is characteristic of the region, giving each a distinctive flavor. Large French windows bring the mountains to one’s bedside immersing guests in the culture and transporting them to another time and place.