LTW Designworks references culture from six dynasties at Jumeirah Nanjing.

Located within the iconic International Youth Olympic Culture designed by Zaha Hadid, the luxury hotel Jumeirah Nanjing brings a sense of Nanjing’s statue as the capital of China for six dynasties.

Strategically situated along the picturesque Yangtze River in the Hexi New Business District, the hotel enjoys panoramic views of the water against the bustling cityscape. “Nanjing was the capital of China for six dynasties and boasts a long history serving as a cultural and literary centre, dating back to the 3rd century”, says Lim Hong Lian. LTW was commissioned to craft the interiors for the hotel’s public areas, guestrooms and suites, restaurants, lounges and wellness facilities.

Lim continues, “We were inspired by the poetic narratives from this unique history, and have employed these as the base of the design concept, evoking a strong sense of place by reinterpreting Chinese literature with a modern twist. Zaha Hadid’s fluid and organic architecture gave us the opportunity to create an upscale, modern and refined interior that conveys a dynamic yet harmonious synergy between the exterior and interior, complementing the distinct curvilinear features of the building.”

Inspired by a folklore about “the black dragon” seen by the Emperor through the misty air of Xuanwu Lake, the hotel’s Main Lobby features two key elements from this legendary tale: the peaceful, reflective quality of the lake and the contrasting dark intensity of the mythical creature. Juxtaposing light and dark, smooth and textured, the aura of the powerful mythical creature is translated in the soaring dragon-scale feature wall, set within an 8-storey high curved glass skylight. The grand lobby depicts scenes of a flowing river, with its central seating area composed of weaving islands on top of ripple-patterned marble flooring. Two imposing structures stand within the lobby space to draw the eye upwards, allowing guests to take in the dramatic height while giving scale and proportion to the lobby floor.

Drawing influence from a Tang Dynasty poem that describes “spring rain and autumn mist hovering over Chinese palaces”, Cha Jie Tea Lounge and Chocolatini Martini Lounge on the 41st floor narrate a play between the seasons. Cha Jie’s spring-inspired design employs soft, neutral shades of white and beige to create a sunlit, open space framed by black lacquered panels inset with falling ginkgo leaves. Sitting across is Chocolatini, an elegant chocolate-pairing cocktail and martini bar designed with warm Autumn-hued interior with tangerine arched ceiling, brick red plush leather armchairs, and lacquered panels with red and yellow maple leaf motifs.

Zhou Xian, a fusion seafood restaurant and bar, exudes a relaxed sophistication with its chestnut brown banquettes, taupe leather chairs and sleek open bar, surrounded by sequential timber tiles, embossed ceiling panels, and perforated metal screens resembling fishing nets as described in a famous Tang Dynasty fisherman’s tale.

Lu Chao, the contemporary Chinese restaurant located a floor below, depicts the majestic glamour of ancient Chinese palace, inspired by a poem about Jinling – the land of emperors and kings. With interior based on imperial gold, this luxurious colour is highlighted in a subtle manner with rich mustard and white abstract carpeting, stained parquet flooring and plush tan leather and ivory upholstered seating. Warmly uplit ceiling coffers add cosiness to the space
while delicate gold string artwork hangs on textured cladded columns to give reference to willow trees.

Tracing back to Nanjing’s history as an education and literary haven for scholars, the guestroom design is a comforting retreat for sophisticated international travellers. The “Four Treasures of Study” – brush, ink, paper, and inkstone – were used as key inspirations within the rooms and suites. Oversized compositions of traditional wooden printing blocks were adapted into decorative screens; their asymmetrical brush-stroke patterns alluding to the flowing dragon motif. Sculptural lighting fixtures in the suites give consistency to the public area design, set amidst a predominantly neutral colour palette of warm timber flooring with abstract brown and white inset carpet, beige lacquered panels and grey upholstered furniture with black accents.

Inspired by a Ming Dynasty prose about a morning blossom by the water, the Talise Spa is minimally designed with subtle floral patterns, inviting guests to a peaceful retreat within its treatment rooms. The Sky Pool sits atop the building under a glazed skylight with its rectangular infinity pool orientated towards the vast city beyond. Specially designed gym studios created by LTW are housed in three individual glass boxes overlooking the pool deck, giving the four-storey space an appropriate human scale.

Celebrating cultural heritage with modern elegance, LTW’s design for Jumeirah Nanjing is an exemplar for a deeply inspired design concept rich with bespoke details and executed with timeless perfection.

Photo Credits: Edmon Leong

Project: Jumeirah
Location: Nanjing, China
Design Studio: LTW Designworks