Design Travel explores the interplay between design and travel. It might be a new hotel for business travellers, an airline collaborating with a world-renowned architect or a product designed specifically to enhance the travel experience. Our brief is to make you want to be there and inspire you to seek out incredible design examples when you travel, or in your own city. 

Stephanie Williams, is an interior designer,  writer and travel communicator. Stephanie was the first editor of Qantas epiQure and her work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, television and online.  She also has a love of fashion design, borne while working for Comme des Garcons

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GREEN HOTEL: Element Kuala Lumpur Opens, Interview With Creative Team, ACID

GREEN HOTEL: Element Kuala Lumpur Opens, Interview With Creative Team, ACID

Marriott International, celebrated the debut of the Element Hotels brand in Southeast Asia recently, with the opening of Element Kuala Lumpur. Designed by globally-acclaimed architects Foster+Partners with interiors by Avalon Collective Interior Design (ACID), the hotel sits within Ilham Tower, making it the tallest eco-conscious hotel, raising the city's standards in sustainable hospitality. Element Kuala Lumpur is Green Building Index (GBI) certified with eco-friendly design and best practices including a rainwater harvesting system, indoor air quality CO2 monitor and energy-efficient LED lighting - how cool is that? Built green from the ground-up, Element Hotels incorporates sustainable design and eco-friendly practices from the beginning. Design Travel's editor, Stephanie Williams spoke to Ashley Yeo, FF&E* designer at ACID and artist Claudia Bueno, to get the lowdown on the art, design and neighbourhood the hotel is playing with.

SW: Did you work with any local artists or makers for parts of the interior?

AY: The client is a huge art collector. We had the opportunity to work with Juhari Said, one of Malaysia’s most established contemporary artists on his woodcut pieces for the guest-rooms and corridors.

SW: Are there any features or furnishings a design lover should look out for when they stay at Element?

AY: A dip in the pool will be an out-of-this world experience to an art lover. The floors and the walls of the pool have been paved and lined with artwork by a local artist, Yusof Ghani. It is called Ombak or 'Waves' translated into mosaic. The light installation at the reception lobby is yet another artistic feature. Designed by Claudia Bueno, it features flora of Malaysia. 

SW: Were there any design decision that you made based on the environmental credentials of the building? Did the environment play a role in your interior design?

AY: Taking into consideration that Element Kuala Lumpur is an eco-conscious hotel, we made sure that the materials selected are Green Certified. Inspired by the brand values of Element Hotels, we have also injected different shades of green throughout the hotel, at places such as the bar and buffet counters at the all-day dining, TRACE restaurant and bar as well as through the artworks found in the guestrooms and corridors.

SW: What is the story behind the illuminated blue ceiling feature in the lobby – what is the material and what does it represent?

AY: Claudia Bueno, Venezuelan light artist, was commissioned to create a site-specific light installation specially for the reception area. This installation is the first of its kind in a hotel in Malaysia and is an evocative piece that changes with the time of day. The artist drew her inspiration from Malaysia’s rich tropical flora, plants and sea-life - the forms of abstracted mushrooms, fungi, hibiscus flowers, ferns, and coral seen floating and meandering above the reception of the hotel.

The installation is entitled Life:Resilient as a tribute to life, and human beings’ ability to persist, to keep going, to keep living, to adapt to the unforeseen, to be malleable and to go with the flow, and come out the other end stronger. Claudia hopes viewers will be able to take a moment to embrace and connect with the piece visually as the light system changes softly, pulsating and coming alive as the colours change. She said, ‘If you give yourself time to look and spend time with the Life:Resilient installation, you’ll see the colours have a rhythm and a pulsation and they come in waves. Through interacting with the piece I hope people will start looking introspectively, to connect with themselves.”

Although the installation is on the 40th floor, Claudia believes it can be a grounding experience for the viewers. The colours and structure of the installation make it very inviting and soft, but at the same time, it’s alive, it has a heart and its beating. Claudia shared, “Life:Resilient is a symbolic human web. It’s the idea of looking at life as a whole, instead of separate living things; interconnected with everything else. Life itself is a network, and there is cause and effect with everything we do. I view it as one living organism. So these webs you see in the sculpture, they contain different areas, each pattern differs from another, so there are colonies of patterns, families, but they’re all connected to each other. You won’t see separate, isolated spaces, they’re all related, they’re all in touch with each other, and they’re all working as a whole. At first glance, it can look like random networks, but once you get closer you start noticing all the small details and begin to recognise the contrasting patterns present.”

SW: What hotel design trends are you seeing in Malaysia, and the world right now?

AY: Hotels are connecting with the neighbourhood and vicinity in the context of art, culture and music. Food is also a popular connection where local food fare is made available in the hotel restaurants. Also there are possibilities of extending guests dining experiences in nearby eateries.

DESIGN TRAVEL OFFER

Want to experience the hotel for yourself? We’ve secured a very special Discover Element Kuala Lumpur Opening Offer for Design Travel readers.

Stay and enjoy:

  • Bright and Open Studio
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi Access
  • Free access to Motion Fitness Centre
  • Complimentary Evening Reception*
  • Double SPG Starpoints

Rates starting from RM350 ($AUD110) per night per Studio. Offer is valid until 1 November 2017. 


Terms & Conditions

• Offer is subject to availability at the time of reservation. • Offer is available from 1st May 2017 to 1st November 2017 • Book Date: 2nd Feb - 1st Nov 2017 • Stay Date: 1st May - 1st Nov 2017 • Bright and Open Studio • Complimentary Wi-Fi Access • Free access to Motion Fitness Centre • Complimentary Evening Reception* • Double SPG Starpoints • A limited number of rooms may be available at these rates. • Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply. • Offer not applicable to groups. • Not to be combined with other offers or promotions and subject to change. • Not responsible for omissions or typographical errors • Void where prohibited by law. • Starwood reserves the right to discontinue this offer at any time. Starpoints, SPG, Starwood Preferred Guest, Sheraton, Four Points, W, Aloft, Le Meridien, The Luxury Collection, Element, Westin, St. Regis and their respective logos are the trademarks of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., or its affiliates. Complimentary Evening Reception is only available on every Monday - Thursday.
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