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A Work of Substance was tasked to redesign and rebrand The Fleming Hotel, originally opened in 2006. A new take on the architecture, interior, products, and identity transformed The Fleming into a 66-room boutique hotel that is a true reflection of Hong Kong. Occupying a building from the 70s’, the hotel stands in Wan Chai close to Victoria Harbour front. The multilayered design concept draws inspiration from the location and history, leveraging Hong Kong’s maritime heritage and 70s’ industrial era to create a cultural, social and efficient character.

One landmark that embodies these three elements is the Star Ferry – having connected people across the harbour for over a century, it is a piece of Hong Kong’s collective memory and identity. The Star Ferry, a unique and elegant icon of Hong Kong’s past and present, became the foundation for every design detail, including the custom designed furniture and lighting. Nostalgia is further evoked by colours and scents: Carmine reds and bottle greens — hues seen on the hull of Hong Kong’s ferries, fishing boats, delivery trucks, and temples —and apothecary-inspired toiletries and custom aroma of sandalwood and amber notes, to deliver an authentic sense of place.

We are most proud of meeting the needs of our target audience, and creating a memorable aesthetic impression that captures what Hong Kong feels like. The Fleming now drives foot traffic to the industrial Wan Chai, uplifting aesthetics and rejuvenating culture in the neighbourhood. Our creative strategy was informed by an in-depth research process on international and local hospitality landscape and The Fleming’s clientele — businesstravellers.

We found that in particular future business travellers expect increasing emotional experience with art and culture, as opposed to traditionally commercial trade-focused. Responding to this demand, efficiency, sociability, and culture became the backbone of The Fleming’s new experience. Practical systems of storage, conveniently placed light switches and power points, thoughtfully zoned rooms that satisfy different usage, ledges and tracks along the walls that allow for unlimited configuration of the local artwork all support a smooth operation.

Sociability is the essence of the layout design and custom made furniture, creating interfaces among guests as well as one to interact with the staff. The reception, for instance, has lounge chairs with movable backrests, creating a flexible and social space. Going beyond meeting the needs of the business travellers, we’ve curated a multi-sensory cultural experience, hoping each guest leaves Hong Kong feeling nostalgic.

Design: A Work of Substance
Photography: Dennis Lo

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