Although China is only open for domestic tourism at present, the Other Place hotel, with its metaphysical design, demonstrates what unrestrained imagination can yield. Erica Jamieson reports
Inspired by Dutch graphic artist MC Escher, two rooms at the Other Place Guilin Litopia hotel in China evoke mind-bending geometric surrealist design. Completed in 2018, the award winning design was conceptualised by Studio 10, a Chinese architectural practice with offices in Shenzhen and Hong Kong.
Set nearby the popular Li River in China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the 60 sqm rooms and 23-foot-high vaulted ceilings are fashioned as “mysterious, infinite and impossible space”, Studio 10 told Dezeen. “After visiting the site for the first time, which was just an unfinished, concrete room, we saw the opportunity to do something special, spatially, as the space was unusually high and felt almost like a chapel”, said the studio, “Some obscure thoughts started to emerge.”Anti-gravitational staircases, arched doorways and maze-like walkways are based on Escher’s popular Relativity lithograph, first printed in 1953.All lighting, electrics and plumbing have been concealed behind fake doorways. Designers wanted to give the rooms an otherworldly quality, following guesthouse owner Feifei Yi’s brief for a “hideout from the bustling world”.Both suites, Dream and Maze, contrast white and solid coloured walls. The light colorscape of the Dream rooms is intended to create a serene and fresh environment for visitors. According to the architect, its pale pink palette resembles sweet, marshmallow and candy-coloured dreams.In the Maze rooms, forest green with gold highlights creates the illusion of a mystical forest.
“The challenge was in keeping the balance between the practical need of a hotel suite and the illusionary, spatial effect we wanted to achieve,” said Studio 10.Escher’s work, popularised towards the end of his life, explored infinity, reflection, symmetry, perspective and tessellations in natural life and manmade structures.
Four individual design teams are behind the Other Place’s remaining eight rooms. Decorations and furnishings throughout make use of local and natural materials, including stones, bamboo, rattan, basjoo leaves and timber. The guesthouse is currently open for business, following regional health and safety guidance, with stays starting from US$141.
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