Designers Group creates a contemporary hotel in Indore, drawing inspiration from the peacock
With luxury hotels mushrooming in tier-II cities across India, there is often a repetition of design elements, included to connote a sense of grandeur. It is, therefore, refreshing to find a property that uses a more locally relevant muse as its design motivation. At their latest project, Designers Group has done just that.
When it came to designing for this hotel in Indore, which already existed in a bare shell form, the firm chose to bring in elements inspired by the national bird of India – the peacock. A concept that sets the 5-star property apart from its peers, it was devised through elaborate research that led to the discovery of the fact that the population of peacocks in the region, which was once in abundance, has dwindled due to the increasing real estate development in the area. Thus, the design that followed was an attempt to revive the memory and legacy of the peacock population in the area.
“The client brief was very straight-forward in this case. As the property already had a group of buildings primarily built as a mixed-use structure with an integrated budget hotel, the client wanted a change in the interior architecture and removal of the commercial aspect that would convert the whole establishment into a premium luxury hotel,” says Khozema Chitalwala, principal architect, Designers Group.
As a result, the project was developed in a fashion that would provide a contemporary design language to the architecture. This was imperative as the client wanted the design to pique the interest of onlookers and be visible from a considerable distance. In keeping with this brief, the façade of the hotel takes its inspiration from the national bird – the peacock. Given that the firm was working with an existing floor plate, glazing was selected as the main material to redo the façade. Also, the existing rooms were compact in size, and glazing proved to be a great solution to this issue, ensuring the acquisition of the extra inches required to increase the room size. The intent was to achieve a staggered profile for the façade, so as to avoid turning the design into a typical commercial-looking glass façade. To achieve this, the glazing was randomly broken up at regular intervals, reducing the monotony in the building’s profile. Adding an interesting element is the tinted glass that was opted for, keeping in mind the fact that the building was exposed to sunlight. This lends a classy look, while adding a touch of glamour to the façade. Also, the peacock eye is beautifully replicated through vertical light profiles.
“Dwelling on the process, the existing plan was clearly not in compliance with operations of a luxury hotel. Considering the footfall pattern of the target audience and brands in Indore, a huge potential for banquets was unearthed. The commercial block was hence converted completely into banquets,” explains Chitalwala.
Another major obstacle that cropped up during the drastic zoning interventions was regarding the floor-to-floor height in the commercial block. To tackle this, alternate slabs were cut to create double-height spaces appropriate for a banquet hall. The team created an inconspicuous connection between the main hotel block and the banquets for easy access. Since the rooms were meant for a budget hotel, a major constraint in the design process was the revaluation and rebuilding of the room layouts from scratch, and accommodating them into the present structure. The entire range of rooms were included along with the vertical shafts and services. Bringing in an arty vibe, customised digital art wallpaper – inspired by the concept of peacocks – adorns the walls of the rooms, further reinforcing the original concept. Apart from changing the basic layout to increase room area, a conscious effort has been made to provide as much room space as possible while designing structural glazing.
Also, the open-to-air atrium at the property was covered with a tensile structure. As the ground floor of the hotel block consisted of the main lobby, reception and the coffee shop, while the upper level housed the service floor, regulated acoustical treatment was carried out on the ground floor to intercept and negate any noise that might potentially travel to the resident rooms. As a striking addition to the design, the dead wall of the atrium received special attention, and was used to create a beautiful rendition of a peacock-inspired artwork. The lounge situated on the first floor of the banquet block, christened Twilight, was planned in a way as to function as both an individual entertainment space as well as part of the entire hotel. A magnificent feature of this lounge bar is the huge console table at the welcome point that consists of owl figurines in varying sizes – curated from different sources, where the owl serves as a mascot for the lounge. An exquisite artwork that represents a constellation with the peacock blue colour is another intriguing feature in this space.
Special focus has been paid to the lighting and colour palette to evoke the right sentiment that the client desired. Similarly, the furniture was ingeniously devised to make individual statements, while still tying in seamlessly with the holistic narrative of the concept. Muted colours have been paired with vibrant flashes and accents in hues that can be noticed in a peacock feather. The chairs in the lobby are symbolic too, and were specially placed there instead of creating the colloquial ‘selfie points’ that are all the rage as the impact of social media is seen all around. Sustainability has also been considered as is reflected in the smart usage of solar panels.
In all, the project showcases the intelligent use of indigenous materials and cost-effective locally-sourced elements to create a contextually-relevant space that is high on both design and heritage.