Aug 09, 2023

5 ways to create a luxurious hotel

Maps Design shares how you can take a cue from stylish hotels and resorts around the world to bring an effortless sense of ease and comfort into your living room

When illuminated at night, the perforated roof of this building in Kunming, China poetically recalls the sight of a starlit sky. Once a showroom, its new lease of life as the Star Art Gallery celebrates the timeless quality of its design concept. The brainchild of Singapore- and Bangkok-based firm Maps Design, the gallery reflects the studio’s thoughtful approach, which takes into consideration the surroundings and longevity of each project.

“Design is intelligence made visible. Architecture is all about being inclusive yet projective, and in the process, exploring spatial enclosures of joyful sensuality—a unique amalgam of qualities that makes design perpetually invigorating,” says Maria Hartati, who founded the practice with fellow principal Tan Hock Beng in 1996.

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Having designed an impressive array of luxury hospitality properties including The Datai Langkawi, Pan Pacific Nirwana Bali and the Garden wing of Shangri-La Singapore, the firm is keenly attuned to the multisensorial effects that a beautiful space can have on visitors. Currently, the studio is working on projects in 90 cities across 30 countries. Here, Hartati reveals to us the key details that will help you create a plush environment in a living room that evokes the elegance of the most remarkable hotels and resorts.

Anchor the look of a space with a bold statement piece such as the Up series armchair from B&B Italia, available at Space Furniture. The 50th anniversary edition of this seat comes in striped beige and petrol green upholstery, referencing the original colour palette in 1969. “It was love at first sight when I first saw it in 1998; the Up armchair has been constantly updated since its inception in 1969,” says Hartati.

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Hartati recommends including casual accent pieces as an easy way to make your living area more convivial. Among her favourite designs are the Kartell Stone stool by Marcel Wanders from Space Furniture, which is present in her family home, too. “These stools are light, flexible and interesting. They allow the grouping to shrink and grow whenever the occasion requires it. They also serve as incidental side tables for drinks, books and other accoutrements,” she explains.

It’s the little details that add up to make a space truly feel like home. “The best accessories and art for a room are those that are the connectors to the owners’ history,” says Hartati. She and her team often select handmade ceramics for their projects to impart that cosy touch. “Some of the works we love are by ceramic artists such as Kyra Cane, Akiko Hirai, Karen Swami and Kaori Tatebayashi,” she shares.

To create a home that represents comfort and tranquillity, keep your spaces neat with adequate storage for all your bric-a-brac. “Storage is important to generate a clutter-free environment, while good-quality furnishings and furniture contribute to the overall ambience,” says Hartati. “Some of our favourite brands where comfort and elegance are put together well are Poliform, Flexform, Cassina, Holly Hunt and Liaigre.”

Tasteful pieces from the Flexform Earl collection are good picks. The range comprises consoles as well as low and tall cabinets in various sizes which are crafted in wood veneer; their tops can be clad in various marble varieties. As each piece from this collection is fully finished from the front to the back, it can function as a room divider in an open-plan layout to signal a visual division between the living and dining areas.

A well-designed sofa is often the hallmark of a cosy living room. “The best seats have gone through rigorous prototyping to ensure that the materials, ergonomics and design will serve users well, not only in their comfort level but also in anchoring the ambience of the environment,” shares Hartati.

She highlights the Giorgetti Wally sofa from Space Furniture, which she purchased for her home. “It’s so amazing that my daughter calls it the ‘magic couch’ because it never fails to lull her to sleep. I have always respected the level of attention that Giorgetti lavishes on all their products, especially the joinery in their woodwork; the Wally has truly brought us joy all these years.”


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