A 1970s office block now stands proud as one of Western Australia’s most vibrant luxury hotels thanks to a make-over by leading design studio CHADA.

The 16-storey bright blue office building was a bit of an icon in the heart of Perth, a city which has undergone radical changes to its city scape in the past decade.  It first became a 4.5 star Rydges before getting a major overhaul and re-opening as a truly international hotel.

Nestled amidst the tree-lined King Street Precinct with a charming heritage streetscape of theatres, cafes and luxe retailers, the new 240-room property is the latest offering from InterContinental and the sixth from this brand to open in Australia.

Western Australia’s natural mineral resources and its landscape inspired the colour palette of soft neutrals with highlights of olive, rust and warm metallics. Specially commissioned sculptures, paintings, bespoke ceramics and glass works, by renowned Western Australian artists, feature throughout the hotel with original works in every guest room. A curated collection of three thousand books is displayed throughout the hotel to give the hotel a more residential feel.

Guests enter the lobby through a newly designed façade by architects Woods Bagot – a rippled gold curtain that wraps around the building’s podium. In the lobby of the hotel, a grand staircase beautifully engineered with glass and bronze creates a link between reception and the first floor bar, lounge, opening to a wide terrace with outdoor seating and views over the bustling street below.

The lobby has a relaxed feel with extensive timber panelling and floor to ceiling art display shelves. The soft-toned timber laid in wide planks on the walls, exposed timber beams on the ceiling and split-faced limestone feature walls brings the sense of a grand contemporary country home. CHADA overlaid this with burnished metal trims, travertine floors and wenge timber bespoke joinery, bringing a luxe vibe to these public areas.

The crowning feature is a bespoke glass sculpture light made up of 76 hand-blown glass leaves that seem to be drifting from above.

The InterContinental is the first hotel in Perth to offer a club suite combined with a dedicated Club InterContinental where guests can retreat to the top floor to enjoy the sweeping city views.

The biggest challenge for CHADA was the relatively compact footprint as the guestrooms were small for a five-star hotel, however careful planning maximised the spaces and overcame these limitations. Custom-designed joinery incorporates storage and the television while a window between the bathroom and bedroom adds natural light and an increased sense of space to the footprint.

“We always try to bring natural light into a bathroom. We don’t favour black boxes. We have to come up with more and more inventive ways of securing privacy whilst letting in light,” says Juliet Ashworth, CHADA Creative Director. “We also had to compensate for space by dialling up the sense of luxury.

“InterContinental wasn’t getting the usual amenities associated with the brand like big rooms and bathrooms and a swimming pool and so on. So, we made up for that by making sure the guest experience was incredibly inviting and comfortable, with that sense of international glamour whilst still feeling really local,” Juliet explains.

“Creating a true sense of place and belonging is a CHADA trademark. This is the key element we strive for on every project. No two are alike. We do a lot of research before we develop concept narratives and that narrative then becomes the blue print for everything we do. We constantly refer back to it during the development process as it’s a really important part of our practice,” Juliet explains.

Extensive care was given to the joinery details creating beautifully lit spaces for object and art. The colours of Western Australia’s magnificent beaches were introduced to the mix and custom designed rugs bring extra warmth to the scheme.

“The concept was to include the colours of the local flora as well as the fluid lines of the landscape. The piece has sparkle but is also playful, light and natural, much like the region,” says Juliet.

Project: InterContinental Hotel
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Design Studio: CHADA
Photo Credits: Dion Robeson
Website: chada.com.au