In a fantastic renovation project, korean lawyer-turned-hotelier Loh Lik Peng has turned an old warehouse located in the old dock district of Shanghai into one of the edgier contemporary hotels that's around: The Waterhouse at South Bund. Making the Conde Nast Hot List for 2011, the broken-down building has been given a thorough scrubbing and made leaps and strides into modernity. Designer furniture accents minimalistic rooms that allow the peculiarities of a building definitely not built to be a hotel to shine through. The external maintains a facade of the original industrial architecture that hides within it the intimate boutique hotel.
Small projects like this are the perfect province of boutique hotels. The small scale allows the designers to take risks that would never fly for larger investors who want a safe, guaranteed return. Cutting-edge properties like this one are, in my opinion, where the real innovation in luxury design happens. Public and private spaces are integrated into one another, allowing glimpses of the other side. The Waterhouse is part of a Chinese aesthetic revolution that is grasping at the old classics and transforming them into something wholly new.
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