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Fashionable Masterpiece: Mondrian Lodge Opens in Hong Kong

Fashionable Masterpiece: Mondrian Lodge Opens in Hong Kong

Inspired by one of the greats of 20th-century art, the appeal of Hong Kong’s recently opened Mondrian hotel is more than simply abstract.

Name your hotel after one of the greatest abstract artists of the 20th century and you need to back up that chutzpah with more than a few paintings hung on its walls. So when the French hotel giant Accor’s joint-venture with the hospitality and lifestyle group Ennismore decided to extend the footprint of its Mondrian brand to Hong Kong, not only did it enlist the wild imagination of Amsterdam-based designer Karin Krautgartner to execute the decor of its 320-odd guestrooms and public areas – part of which did indeed involve the liberal distribution of pieces by local artists around its 40 storeys – but it also took over a funkily ramshackle space on a Tsim Sha Tsui street corner. Opposite the entrance of the Mondrian Hong Kong yet on first glance entirely disconnected from it, this “Corner Shop” actually functions in almost guerrilla fashion as a tiny art gallery, one whose contents are changed from time to time and which most passers-by will encounter entirely unexpectedly (It opened with a Giant Crushed Cans installation by the artist Caroline Tronel, which doubtless had unwitting viewers scratching their heads in bewilderment.) Interestingly, it’s also one aspect of the hotel about which every staff member I speak to – from the general manager down – seems personally proud.

Opened in December last year in that teeming patch of high-rise concrete, honking traffic and surging humanity that buzzes 24/7 at the tip of the Kowloon peninsula, the Mondrian Hong Kong is the latest in a small chain of properties around the world to honour the Dutch painter whose later works often comprised white and coloured squares and rectangles, all enclosed within perpendicular grids of black lines. That geometrical ethos, which was loosely adopted by designer Philippe Starck for the interiors of the first Mondrian hotel – it was opened on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood in the late 1990s by famed American hotelier and club impresario Ian Schrager – is equally evident in the new Hong Kong guestrooms, on whose white walls a subtle frame relief pattern echoes the composition of the artist’s abstracts, with chairs, couches, carpets and headboards providing the requisite bold contrasts of red, blue and ochre. Whether rooms or suites, these bright and cheerful accommodations are also humorously dotted with local references, such as bedside lamps whose shades echo junk sails, artist-made china plates and snack-filled lacquer sewing boxes, while on the hotel’s higher floors (which make up a good two-thirds of the property) the views of the harbour, Hong Kong Island and the jumble of buildings alongside and below are absolutely cracking.

The hotel’s public areas are even more imaginative and elaborate, from the vast lobby mosaic of an undersea ballet to corridors whose walls are emblazoned with depictions of outsized sea monsters; “cinematic” is a word I’ve heard used more than once to describe these fantastical interiors, and it hardly seems to do them justice. The hotel’s 38th-floor Avoca, which can be reached via its own express lift direct from street-level on Hart Avenue, is a vast space enlivened by Krautgartner’s futuristic bar at its centre and music spun by an evening roster of DJs, which should feature on everyone’s list of after-hours haunts. As for the hotel’s flagship restaurant Carna by Dario Cecchini, which is entered via a lobby envisaged by local architect Joyce Wang in the vaguely art-nouveau style of a Paris brasserie, it’s a nose-to-tail Tuscan dining room with a menu devised by the Italian butcher of Chef’s Table fame. In other words, if cuts of succulent meat is a thing with you, this is your place.

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In fact, those words could just as easily be applied to the entire hotel. Granted, the Mondrian Hong Kong lacks a spa and a swimming pool, but I’d confidently argue these wonderfully characterful lodgings in the heart of this city’s most vibrant quarter doesn’t need either. What it does have is bags of fun, attitude, atmosphere, art and a genuine sense of place. And how many contemporary hotels in the 852 can you honestly say that about?  

Source: Prestige Online

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