Geared towards an “art gallery” concept, The Portman Ritz-Carlton Shanghai’s lobby provides not only an urban sanctuary space to the local community but also a welcoming spacious, and modern hospitality touch to all the guests.

Once awarded the “Best Hotel in Shanghai” by Institutional Investor magazine, the Portman Ritz-Carlton, Shanghai is designed to exude luxury centred on the principles of excellent customer service, with a modern interior enhanced by Asian-inspired details. Located in the heart of the city’s historical past and the modern-day buzz, the hotel provides easy access to the best dining, shopping, and entertainment in the city thanks to its prime location on the renowned Nanjing Xi Lu. After a day of sightseeing, visitors can unwind with a relaxing spa treatment, savour a delicious meal at one of the six on-site restaurants, or just relax in their opulent suites while taking in Shanghai’s beautiful cityscape.

Inspired by the richness of the “Old Shanghai” style, Ritz Carlton’s lobby calls for a connection with the hotel’s legacy design language on the entrance façade, while adding a modern twist to the interior. By preserving the existing environment and integrating traditional elements, the lobby’s stunning transformation honours Shanghai’s The Portman Ritz Carlton’s original role as the first foreign luxury hotel in China and a longtime favourite of US Presidents. With original design and artistic details, Gensler’s design exemplifies the trend of hoteliers transporting guests back to a bygone era.

Through removing non-loadbearing walls and columns in the back of the space, underutilized space is minimised, and created better circulation throughout the lobby. The design of the main atrium mimics a traditional Chinese courtyard, through the use of light and natural elements. Massive wooden columns are a perfect regal welcome to the lobby’s foyer. Extravagant chandeliers and lighting fixtures highlight every architectural element and décor at its finest, while a super high ceiling completes the scene. With dark wood round tables and polished brass, the lobby’s decor is modern-meets-traditional.

One can enjoy afternoon tea over a business lunch or even a finely crafted whiskey during the evening hours.

A library defined by Art Deco-inspired furnishings, vintage mirrors, and a fireplace casts the space into a rich glow of opulence. The space is filled with 1920s Shanghai artifacts, such as a Chinese-inspired apothecary cabinet, Oriental screens, and ceramic porcelain. From the texture of the chair to the lighting fixtures, each item was carefully curated from several different periods, sources, and uses, creating something that feels entirely new.

At the bar area, the colour scheme changes from light creams and taupes to silvery greens and yellows. Above the bar are beautiful lighting pendants, reminiscent of Chinese lanterns. A dramatic curtain wall of light drapes over the window sitting area, bringing the space into a whole new realm. The new space re-created the nostalgia of Shanghai through a careful collection of Heritage, Elegance, and Nature. The lobby brings about a feeling of 1930s shanghai and elements of western design together in one holistic space.

Project: Portman Ritz-Carlton
Location: Shanghai, China
Design Studio: Gensler
Photo Credits: Gensler / Derryck Menere

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