Canberra doesn’t grab your attention like Australia’s other great cities. Some say the only reason to go there is to see where your money is being spent. Recently, however, Canberra hit the international spotlight for a hotel that’s so “nice” that it’s been named twice. The uniquely Australian Hotel Hotel, a holistic concept from the Australia-based developer Molonglo Group, was recently named World Interior of the Year at the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors in Singapore.
The hotel is located on three levels of the Nishi residential building in the cultural hub of NewActon, in close proximity to Canberra CBD and Lake Burley Griffin. A superb grand staircase handcrafted from salvaged timbers leads visitors to the hotel foyer where over 5,000 recycled timber segments are fixed to the walls and ceilings. The segments are supported by steel rods running from the floor to the ceiling and create a strongly directional effect that leads guests from the lobby into the main part of the hotel.
The judges described the use of recycled timber as a “poetic use of leftover materials creating a powerful but not overwhelming result”. They went on to comment: “The choice of raw elements gives a warmth and familiarity mixed with the excitement of the unexpected.”
March Studio was engaged to create spaces that encouraged residents, guests and visitors to linger in what can often be a transient space. The suspended timbers filter exterior light and views into and from internal spaces and thin, pixelated shadows are cast on the floor and bare concrete walls.
A visit to the Hotel Hotel can be quite an experience with no two rooms in the 68-room, 28-apartment hotel being alike. The hotel’s public spaces are created from modest materials such as glulam timber, steel, glass, pre-cast concrete beams and recycled timber. Hotel Hotel’s 68 rooms feature custom-made furniture commissions and objects of artistic value. The judges felt that the thoughtful and innovative design created a “Bilbao effect,” rejuvenating the area.
Hotel Hotel beat over 100 nominees across nine categories to be named the best global interior of 2015 and also won a National Award for Interior Architecture at the 2014 Australian Architecture Awards. The INSIDE World Festival of Interiors coincides with the World Festival of Architecture. Together they form the largest festival of contemporary architecture and design in the world. In November this year it returns to Europe and takes place in Berlin, Germany.