By all accounts, One Take Architects had their work cut out for them when a pair of restaurateurs tasked them to renovate a small pre-existing village building in China’s Jiangsu province into an 18-room boutique hotel.
The original footprint was tight and narrow, and the entrance near a major road. What’s more, the architects were particularly anxious to avoid the look and feel of a typical Chinese country hotel. The solution was found by replacing the car-park with landscaping to create depth, and bamboo fences for a sense of privacy from the low-rise residential neighbourhood. Texture was layered by way of wall plaster, its soft off-white hue the result of mixing plaster with shredded bamboo. Inside, dark corners were lightened with mirrors and white walls, whilst rough-hewn logs were used for ceiling accents and bed-bases.
The result is a remarkably effective rendition of a slickly modern Chinese village, all the more so since the owners have also parlayed their time running a restaurant in Hangzhou into creating the in-house restaurant, Lou Wai Lou. Here, home-cured bacon and locally sourced bamboo shoots are the tasty basis of a homey menu that also includes sweet spring onions stirred through with eggs, and house-made bayberry wines.
Zhuhai Village Yixing County Jiangsu Province
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Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.
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