Hotel has cohesive design – from a faceted facade through to room interior detailing

Guests at West Hotel activate its facade as their movements, the opening or closing of drapes, or lighting choices animate the room-size windows

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: exteriors, John Gollings; interiors, Felix Forest
West Hotel offers travellers a unique stay in apartment, architecture, building, city, commercial building, condominium, facade, home, house, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, neighbourhood, property, real estate, residential area, sky, tree, black
West Hotel offers travellers a unique stay in the heart of Sydney. Tucked between two buildings in the western corridor between Sydney Harbour and the CBD, the design has a cohesive expression, from the faceted facade through to room interior detailing.

Hotels often rely on their great setting or proximity to shopping destinations or commercial hubs to draw guests to their establishment. The West Hotel in Sydney has both these advantages, but creative design – inside and out – make the contemporary, 182-room hotel an attraction in its own right.

The brief was to design a building that responded to the character of the Western edge of the Sydney CBD, yet popped out as offering something quite unique, says James Fitzpatrick, principal of Fitzpatrick & Partners, the studio that undertook the design of the boutique hotel.

“The design borrows ideas from the surrounding buildings of this part of the city, but then abstracts these elements to create something special,” says Fitzpatrick. 


“From the beginning, it was the people using the building and how this was represented in the architecture that would drive the design and create that unique sparkle, that something special.”

The diamanté studded or ‘Chanel handbag’ façade concept was born from this thinking, as a way to visually define and animate every room at the hotel as part of its visual attraction.

“Essentially, every room-size window frame acts as a proscenium to the guest room’s internal activities, and this creates the energy of the building,” says Fitzpatrick. “Whether it’s lights on or lights off, curtains open or closed, voyeuristic or private, this variability of use creates the variety of visual expression which is the character of the building.”

The individual prisms have two solid aluminium facets to minimise solar gain from the north. Plus, the generally square modules were halved for a more vertical shape on the far left side of the front facade. This creates an accent that complements the verticality of a heritage building alongside.

However, the one-of-a-kind faceted facade appears on the other sides of the

In West Hotel’s lobby and restaurant bar, a bar, night, water, black
In West Hotel’s lobby and restaurant bar, a monolithic emerald green terrazzo bench is set against a backdrop of atrium foliage.

 building too, as well as in the oasis-like atrium. It is even echoed in the shaping of the roof plant, as several adjacent taller buildings look down on the hotel.

To let the drama of the facade and the movement in the rooms predominate, the architect kept the colour and material palettes simple and elegant.

The hotel’s interior design was by Woods Bagot, with senior associate Jacqui Senior at the helm.

“The hotel’s siting and architecture are unusual for Sydney, qualities that were eagerly taken up by the interiors team,” says Senior. “We really embraced its difference, and drew from the crystalline geometric pattern of the façade in creating a consistent story across the interiors scheme.”

The patterning appears in different guises and scales – from the floor patterns in the restaurant and entry, to the faceted faces of the marble bar, to its use on lift lobby screens, balustrades and even on bedheads in the guest rooms.

“Sydney is such a bright, light-filled city and its hotels traditionally focus on the views out,” says Senior. “Here, we took a different approach and instead focussed on that rich internal experience that’s done so well in Europe.”

The ground-floor restaurant at West Hotel, Sydney looks interior design, lighting, restaurant, black
The ground-floor restaurant at West Hotel, Sydney looks into the mini-rainforested, eight-storey open-air atrium.

At eight storeys high and open to the elements, the hotel’s mini-rainforested courtyard atrium is a key element within this design strategy. The atrium is visually connected with both the hotel lobby and restaurant, and is overlooked by guest rooms.

Referencing the open-air space, Woods Bagot’s global design leader Domenic Alvaro says organic design and lush-luxe are siblings in an international trend to bring natural beauty and its calming effects into high quality design.

“Contact with nature is both a basic human and universal need,” says Alvaro. “Biophilic design, which integrates architecture and nature – in this instance, urban nature – is increasingly supported by research findings on its wellbeing benefits.”

Overall, the interiors scheme references the colours and textures of the Australian landscape. A palette of richly dark eucalyptus greens and greys are the colours of the bush, with deep blues and greens referencing the harbour.

Guest rooms feature a sophisticated light- industrial aesthetic. The detailing of materials and form are highly considered with soft, dark tones in the bespoke carpet, walnut and brass accents.

“The end result is a building that sits comfortably within its CBD context,” says Fitzpatrick. “West Hotel is defined by how it is used, and the visual richness of its character and expression.”

Jul 31, 2018

Credit list

Architect
James Fitzpatrick, Fitzpatrick & Partners; project architect Mathew Marr
Construction
Multiplex Constructions
Mechanical engineer
Equilibrium
Quantity surveyor
Multiplex
Fire consultant
Defire
Specialist lighting
Point of View
Planner
Ethos Urban
Prismatic facade
Aluminium and glass
Flooring
Entry – Australian hardwood timber by Top Knot carpentry; restaurant – marble, various, by Deemah Stone; concrete floors – French Grey with Sydney White, by Pangea; Aggregate; bedrooms – custom carpet designed by Woods Bagot, supplied by Modius Carpets; suites – timber parquet by Havwods
Paints
Ceiling in Luck, columns in Natural White, bathrooms in Blue Steel, corridors in Timeless Grey, all Dulux paints
Interior designer
Sydney hotel leader,rJacqui Senior, Woods Bagot; design team, Lauren Tudor
Civil engineer
TTW
Electrical engineer
Hurley Palmer Flatt
Landscaping
Sturt Nobel
Hydraulic consultant
Warren Smith and Partners
Facade engineer
Surface Design
Accessible consultant
MGAC
Cladding
Vitacore G2 aluminium and Equitone fibre cement in Natura finish
Public area wallcoverings/treatments
Lobby wall – Austral Bricks Designa basalt slimline, shadowstone & lava stone; column and back wall cladding – routed MDF panels with a 2-pac polyurethane finish, from UTJ; timber batten restaurant ceiling; furniture veneer – walnut, from UTJ
Lighting
Restaurant wall lights – Aticolo Float Light in Drunken Emerald; restaurant table lights – Neoz Owl 1; lobby feature pendant – Di Emme by Creative Solutions
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