Don’t be fooled by the outward appearances of the raw 1930’s façade. Towering over a historical riverside neighborhood, the Waterhouse at South Bund raises the city’s boutique hotel stakes with unprecedented design, comfort and views.
A conceptual blending of the antique and the contemporary, the Waterhouse at South Bund prides itself on integrating into the traditional local environment while challenging its boundaries.
The hotel dominates the Pudong cityscape, where Shanghai’s quaint low-rise architectural heritage is still largely intact. By maintaining its old façade, the hotel stays integrated into the neighbourhood, while bringing into it a magnificent, new light.
Neri & Hu Design and Research Office—winner of countless international awards and regarded as one of the most important forces in contemporary Chinese aesthetics—had a challenging situation with this project.
Initially the building was simply a huge concrete shell with about a dozen staircases that led to nowhere. The brief set before the design firm, by the hotel owner Loh Lik Peng, was to make the endless spaces something not only useable, but also beautiful.
Neri & Hu achieved this by largely keeping the 1930’s building intact and then adorning the rough space with brilliant, sleek contemporary touches. They looked into the concept of a hotel and restructured it, blurring and inverting the established standards.
In the process they created an exquisite hotel with 19 guest rooms, spectacular lobby, rooftop bar and a destination restaurant.
Design and meaning
The Waterhouse at South Bund is an exciting and memorable hotel experience—with an emphasis on comfort and outstanding city views—that distinguishes it from any other boutique hotel in Shanghai.
Asked about the design ethos in the project, Lyndon Neri explained: ‘This is a hotel that puts the emphasis on the traveler in search of some meaning, and not just the luxury component of living.’
Main text prepared with contribution from Design Hotels™.