Inspired by the different properties of water, HBA Singapore collaborated with Illuminate Lighting Design to create this contemporary design for Marriott Xiamen.

Located in the CBD area of Haicang District, along the picturesque promenade of Haicang Avenue, Marriott Xiamen offers spectacular views of Haicang Bay and Gulangyu. Designed by HBA Singapore in collaboration with Illuminate Lighting Design and completed in 2018, the property presents 304 guestrooms and suites, three F&B outlets, a ballroom, and a health club & spa. Responding to Xiamen’s location at the mouth of the Nine Dragons River, where legend has it that nine dragons would frolic in its glistening waters, the contemporary design is inspired by different properties of water such as wave, drizzle, spray and crystallised.

With the strong design narrative, Illuminate Lighting Design conceptualised how lighting could enhance the story thread. As one arrives at the lobby, one is greeted by the voluminous space that culminates at a faceted ceiling that captures the frozen, crystalline nature of ice. Striplight weaves itself through the ceiling layers that provided the multidimension form of the ceiling. Flanking the space are linear screens that convey the sense of cascading water, which is enhanced by intricate light profiles integrated within various slats of the screen. The result is a subtle nod to the water inspiration, where the screens appear to glisten of its surface. A sweeping sculptural staircase anchors the huge lobby space, and grants another lighting interpretation of the organicity yet powerful imagery of water flow. Flexible striplights find their way into the underside of the staircase, visually impacting how one experiences the design language being eye level to it. At the far end of the lobby, the eye is drawn to the backlit stone wall behind the reception desks. The warm glowing stones set a welcoming backdrop and create interesting silhouettes with the ebb and flow of guests.

The lobby lounge, in contrast to the dramatic lobby space, takes a quieter approach with a compressed ceiling height, lighting looks at layering softness to the ambience through featural decorative lights over the live edge wood table and integrated lights in shelves that promotes a settling sense of comfort to laze around. Special wall lighting details were introduced in the nooks of the lounge to uplift the ceiling design with an interplay of shadows, marking these corners for intimate conversations. In contrast, on the opposite side of the lobby, the All-Day Dining is a celebration of abundance in harvest, with a mix of copper-toned metals, rich wood, and heritage chests details that reminds one of the trading port days of Xiamen. Lighting was positioned to accentuate the visual textures while providing the basic functions of delivering focus to buffet & dining tables.

As one proceeds up the 3rd floor where the Chinese Restaurant is located, lighting initially takes a subdued approach at the ala carte zone where the design is a water-tone scheme of blue and aquamarine with buff grey, the private dining rooms prove to be where the gastronomical experience is. With richer tones, textures, and alluring decorative pendants, and especially in the VIP room, where the interior design takes a rustic twist, lighting even comes in backlit ceiling format surrounded by leaks of light grazing down the traditional brick walls. The atmosphere boasts of grandeur and is a visual feast as one enters for the first time.

Within the guestrooms, there is simplicity in the design that allows featural artwork or carpet pattern to pop, a clear reflection of the mix in culture, traditional and modern, that Xiamen has become to be. Lighting approaches this with sensitivity by reducing the visibility of fixtures, only with focal pinspots were dedicated to art and accessories enhanced by soft ceiling cove lights forming the primary light scene. The Presidential suite celebrates the scenery of Xiamen, with inspirations from the ocean and garden, lighting appears in the organic forms in the decorative lighting selection, whilst keeping a general atmosphere of gentleness through diffused covelights and integrated headboard lighting. The result is an undisturbed restful enclave where the VIPs could bask in serenity.

Photo Credits: HBA Singapore

Project: Marriott Xiamen, China
Location: Xiamen, China
Design Studio: HBA