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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Behind the Scenes at a Hong Kong Hotel


Taking center stage in the InterContinental Hong Kong’s stylish new Lobby Lounge is a dramatic, two-ton art piece doubling as a communal bar table. As chronicled in this fascinating new video, the table is a result of the hotel’s collaboration with artist/designer Jake Walker of the Ballistic Architecture Machine (BAM), an award-winning art, landscape, and architectural design firm with offices in Beijing and St Louis.

Hand-crafted in Shanghai, the free-flowing table is made of imported woods including African Padauk, African Rosewood and American burled poplar.  The finished table has a unique amoeba-like shape with a subtle Yin and Yang influence. The base resembles the belly of a whale while the tabletop is finished with a high gloss varnish designed to reflects the dynamic lighting in the Lobby and create the illusion that the table is floating within the space.

As described in the three-minute video, the table’s free-form shape, size and weight created unique challenges for the design team when it came time to move and install the massive structure. A customized steel cage was built to assemble and transport the table while the hotel’s main doors were removed to accommodate the 4-ton apparatus as it was wheeled into the space by a team of over one dozen men. The table was then strategically placed in its permanent home at the heart of the newly redesigned Lobby Lounge.

The passionate, driving force behind the one-of-a-kind design was the hotel’s Managing Director Jean-Jacques Reibel who worked closely with Walker and his team to see the project through from start to finish. Commenting on how Mr. Reibel’s idea evolved into an amazing design feature of the new-look Lobby, Walker simply explains, “Jean-Jacques had a vision; we just gave it form.”