I’m the biggest fan of Studio Ongarato design. Their work is modern, different, and well-thought-out, down to the very last detail. Their new project for W Shanghai is exceptional. By mixing contemporary interior design and art pieces by various commissioned artists, they managed to translate the essence of one of the world’s cultural capitals into a destination that is both hyper-local and yet distinctively ‘W’.
A mirror and brass kaleidoscopic installation occupies the reception. The custom design reflects the multitude of cultures and influences flowing through the area.
Designed in collaboration with Assume Vivid Astro Focus, a unique art installation is draped from the skylight above the Living Room, offering texture and movement as it plays with light to bring never-ending contrast to the space.
A dramatic agamograph mirror at the ballroom entry casts reflections of guests amongst Qi Pao florals.
Local artist Coozie created the vast white mural on black handmade tiles titled “Hongkou Tales”, commemorating legends of the past 110 years of the Hongkou District, where the hotel is situated.
The feature wall within Cantonese restaurant YEN is embellished with custom-designed enameled discs forming a dragon motif, working with local craftsmen practicing a centuries-old craft to create the installation.
A “W Metropolis” is created from bright lights and city towers hanging alongside a net of laundry and signage, all suspended at varying heights down a dramatic void.
‘Melting Qi Pao’ mosaics in the ground floor amenities; a fusion of Traditional eastern Qi Pao pattern and the melting pot of western influences.
“The Shanghai W Hotel on the Bund combines the feeling of old Shanghai with the avant-garde pioneers of the new era with innovative design, interprets the collision between the East and Western culture, creating a passionate journey through time and space.”
Famed for its exotic allure, Shanghai is a vibrant fusion of eclectic influences and captivating historical, social and physical contrasts—a mix of tradition and modernity, glamour and pragmatism expressed through installation, art consultancy and styling by the studio’s W Shanghai site narrative.
The hotel arrival sequence begins in a 22-metre atrium. Intended to delight guests and seduce passers-by, this dramatic void is activated by a suspended, multistorey neon installation created in homage to the iconic Lilong laneway laundry tradition. Layered first with stylised clothing, then the bright lights of Nanjing Road and, ultimately, the high-rise futurism of Pudong, it establishes a memorable and immersive entry that sets the scene for the experience to follow.
Whisked by elevator to the lobby reception area, guests are greeted by a second installation: a custom brass mirror and finished-steel kaleidoscopic screen intended to reflect the multitude of cultures and influences flowing through the area. Beyond, in the courtyards of the ‘Living Room’, Studio Ongarato commissioned artists Assume Vivid Astro Focus (AVAF) to create a site-specific installation that reflects their interpretation of the city. Signature styling elements continue throughout the hotel.
For its all-day diner, The Kitchen Table, we commissioned local artist Coozie to create a vast mural. Entitled ‘Hongkou Tales’, it commemorates legends of the past 110 years of the Hongkou District, where the W Shanghai is situated. In the hotel’s EWOW presidential suite, a custom dragon-smoke neon installation drifts up the double height space, transforming the room from day to night. By reinterpreting its urban context through a design that is both hyper-local yet unmistakably W, the hotel succeeds in both drawing upon and giving back to the city. The atrium installation in particular, generates social equity for the hotel, contributing to its fame and notoriety.
Custom Interior Installations
Interior architects: GA Design
Architects: SOM Architects
Living Room installation: Assume Vivid Astro Focus
Photography: Dirk Weiblen
Text and photography copyright of Studio Ongarato.