As the American Midwest reels from the deadly effects of the polar vortex, we have to ask: Have you also seen how Louisiana’s coastline is disappearing at a rate of several metres per hour? Hehe. And how beach spots in Southeast Asia and the Caribbean are receding so fast that current employees of the local tourism industries will turn into economic refugees of climate change? Hehehe.
So when InterContinental recently opened its partly-submerged Shanghai Wonderland Hotel, it hit a bittersweet note. Martin Jochman’s architectural work results in a potentially interesting project, yes, but consider this: underwater hotels in coastal tourism locations used to be straightforward luxury fantasies, but today read like a very horrific and very feasible dystopian situation. Hehehehe.
Located inside an abandoned quarry, the property’s soul is based on what the Cheng Chung Design team calls ‘the aesthetics of mining’: wild rocks, vertical cliffs and the natural environment. ‘After a few site visits, the CCD team felt that humans had changed the natural environment through fast social and economic development in the past decades,’ founder Joe Cheng explained. ‘However, the power of nature is surreptitiously penetrating the development of human civilizations as well, therefore, the changing relationship between human and nature is the inspiration of the interior design.’ The resulting concept is labeled The Adventure to the Centre of the Earth: guests get to embody the role of an ancient British explorer. Throughout 16 floors, they start their journey at a mining site, dive down to the core of the earth and end up in an underwater sea world. Hehehehehe.
That means that, after going through bedrooms, the ballroom, an executive lounge, two restaurants and a bar, they end up at the Undersea Restaurant. ‘Seeing the fish swimming in surrounding water, guests can enjoy the most unique dining experience in the underwater world,’ added Cheng. Oh, and honeymoon suites are also submerged. ‘The guests can have the lovers’ world under the water, and enjoy the romantic and unforgettable moment.’ He. He. Hehehe.
CCD’s hospitality work is usually in order – you’ll find the studio’s name behind some of the most exciting Sheraton, Sofitel and Westin properties in China – but this particular execution is conceptually shaky. Well, for one, this hotel ended up confirming that humans have indeed changed the natural environment – albeit not in the way the designers intended. But on the plus side, the Wonderland is design-ready for the rise in sea levels, eh? He. He. Hehe. *uncomfortable laughter intensifies*