Built in the 1970s as a movie theatre complex and later converted into a business hotel, Eaton HK's two-year make-over by New York-based studio AvroKO has drawn inspiration from the surrounding neighbourhood vernacular.
"We took the familiar feels and designs in the neighbourhood and gave it a new spin," says William Harris, principal and co-founder of AvroKO. "The energetic and colourful patterns in the tile work were inspired by local cha chaan tengs ['cheap and cheerful' teahouses] and shops. We used humble, local building materials whenever possible. Bright neon, bold graphics and eclectic, interconnected experiences help bring the brand to life."
Perhaps the most notable feature of the redesign is its central atrium and entry points. Hanging at its centre is an impressive five-metre-tall lantern-like chandelier crafted from layers of linen and perforated steel casts to resemble Hong Kong's bamboo scaffolding. A food hall occupies two floors, with the hotel's casual-dining Astor on the lower level.
Each guest room has been retrofitted with new surfaces and furnishings. Tiles in the bathroom pay homage to local tiled skyscrapers, while steel doors and cabinets reference the metal shutters of local shops.
On the fourth level is a co-working space and cocktail bar Terrible Baby, all wood and decorative metalwork with a terrace overlooking Jordan.
"Perhaps our favourite aspect of the design is the playfulness; the lack of preciousness throughout the project," says Harris. "It's the attitude, really. There is a sense of fun and freshness that is rooted in the past but created for the present and beyond. The eclectic colours, patterns and furnishings are surprising and at times a little odd, even. It certainly plays into our favourite AvroKO term, 'Best Ugly'. We love creating projects with this type of challenge, and we hope the end result inspires creativity, collaboration and above all, positive vibes."
Photos. Owen Raggett