Everything, from the unexpectedly bright, airy street approach to a café that looks like a comfy lounge, is a joy to discover at the Madera, Hong Kong’s newest boutique hotel
Surprise and delight aren’t generally in plentiful supply in today’s world, so when they do come along — especially in tandem — it makes for a wonderful experience. And if they come courtesy of an unexpected location ‑ Jordan in Kowloon, just past Tsimshatsui – and everywhere you cast your glance reveals yet another deftly considered design touch, so much the better.
The Madera hotel, which opened in March this year, was designed by Barcelona-based design firm Lagranja, whose Hong Kong office is headed up by Gemma Fletcher. Madera — which means ‘wood’ in Spanish — is the first entry into the hotel business by property developer Hip Shing Hong Group, which is re-imagining itself for the new millennium by trying out different things. In this case, the group decided the Madera should have a very strong design focus beyond the merely functional.
Hong Kong design firm Ado was behind the main public spaces such as the lobby and coffee shop, as well as the standard guest rooms, while Lagranja conceived the Signature Suites. Where the standard rooms are chic and stylish in a formal, corporate way, the suites are as chic and stylish, but with a much more European flair. “As a designer, you have to find the right balance between your passion for your own ideas, the abilities of your team, and what the client requests,” notes Gerard Sanmarti, founder and partner of Lagranja.
Lagranja’s involvement in the Madera came about by chance: Fletcher and her husband were living in a Hip Shing Hong Group property, and managing director David Fong took it upon himself to follow up on a complaint they had relayed to the management team. After an initial meeting, casual chats led to business discussions and Fong decided this was Hip Shing Hong’s opportunity to make good on its wish to “reignite and rejuvenate” itself by trying something new. “We are one of the oldest developers in Hong Kong, and by nature a very conservative group,” he says. “We have learned much in working with Lagranja – among that, the need to be more international, to explore new worlds.”
Read the full story, ‘Surprise & Delight’, in the May 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!