For the recently completed ‘le meridien’ hotel in zhengzhou, china, neri&hu design and research office have conceived a tower which is composed of stacked frames around its façades. the strategy serves to break down the large scale of the structure, while creating an identity for the building which is envisioned as a landmark for the henan province. conceptually, the building is imagined as an ‘archive’ of new and old artifacts, which become a point of discovery for travelers as well as regional residents. the 25 floor high-rise is comprised of a 5-storey podium at its base containing public functions, and 350 private guestrooms in the levels above.
multiple box volumes in the tower’s composition are cantilevered outward, and treated with different tints of green glazing. these elements are further distinguished by their black and coffee colored metal cladding, which is textured with perforations to create patterns that reference the local henan wild rose.
the design of the 5-storey podium is influenced by the regionally historic longmen caves, a prominent example of chinese buddhist art carved into limestone cliffs. a sense of excavation is expressed through various openings surrounding the central atrium, which visually connect the public areas across multiple floors. above, skylights provide shafts of daylight which serve to highlight the sedimentary pattern on the gray sandstone clad walls. green tinted windows and a sequence of chandeliers suspended high in the space help to produce a colorful ambience.
the main idea behind the design of the guestrooms is to express a contrast between light and dark. the living and sleeping areas are defined by their gray walls and a stained timber wainscot, while the bathrooms are entirely finished in white and glass materials.
to disrupt the monotony of typical hotel elevator lobbies and room corridors, three-storey atriums are composed throughout the tower, and accommodate art installations.
le meridien zhengzhou includes three restaurants and a rooftop bar, with each receiving a different architectural treatment. the japanese restaurant features walnut boxes hung from the ceiling at different heights, creating a dynamic form above the dining area. a chinese restaurant contains private eating rooms, distinguished as black mesh volumes. below, an all day dining restaurant is lit by illuminated volumes which protrude from the ceiling.