Conrad Hotel Shenyang a tribute to China’s Manchu culture: Karen Hay

by | 20 Dec 2019 | Design

A closer look at the stunning Conrad Shenyang.

IN-Dulge’s Conrad Hotel Shenyang project won top honours at the Creative Spark hotel design competition at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019.

The IN-Dulge team behind the Conrad Hotel Shenyang — Founder & Creative Director Karen Hay and Senior Interior Designer Kivina Leung — attended TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Shanghai 2019 to present at the Creative Spark hotel design competition.

The latest instalment of the now legendary TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR day-long networking event and conference took place on December 5th in the Andaz Xintiandi Shanghai.

The designers let attendees in on all the secrets behind the concept design of the Conrad Hotel Shenyang and its stunning realisation.

The essence of Conrad

The Conrad Hotel Shenyang was designed to embody the spirit of Conrad – elegant and timeless, yet very much of the modern era. The hotel opened recently and is in the heart of the historic city of Shenyang on the top floors of the Forum 66 tower, Shenyang’s tallest building.

“What inspired our design was the Manchu people and culture,” Hay told delegates at TOPHOTELPROJECTS’ boutique networking event.

The before-after photos and sustainability features of the elegant, modern yet timeless hotel design paying homage to the Manchu people of the region scored big.

Guests enter on the lower floors and are then transported up to the hotel via a private shuttle lift, so they can check in at the main reception. Here, visitors are greeted by stunning panoramic views over the city, one of the hotel’s main highlights.

A double height seating area is crowned with a mouth-blown glass sculpture which hangs down from above and transforms into a chandelier in the evenings.

Ancient traditions with a modern twist

The team behind the Conrad Shenyang has taken inspiration from local history and tradition in many of the design elements. A decorative screen in the reception contrasts to the carved stone reception desk, and a canopy of brass screens in the lobby lounge is inspired by the region’s Manchu houses.

“Even in Shenyang’s tallest building, we worked hard to bring in blues and golds of the local cultural narratives. We replicated old Manchu house patterns on windows and played with light and shadows with perforated panels to provide a soft feel in an industrial office space,” Hay added.

Local accents also make their way into the hotel’s two dining areas, The Link and The Archive. The Link is decked out with woven timber screens, a dark patterned timber floor and high timber panels in the ceiling, while The Archive employs a library filing index that recalls a Qing dynasty emperor, who was an avid reader. Filing cabinets break up the space and create intimate nooks and crannies for people to retreat into.

“The good news is that the restaurant is a solid hit and booked out three months in advance,” Hay said.

About the Creative Spark competition

Creative Spark is a hotel design competition that includes three architects/interior designers, and it’s a staple of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR programming. Shortlisted finalists present their projects, and further discuss their work as part of a stimulating panel discussion, giving valuable insights to the assembled guests about the state of hospitality architecture and design.

For information on how to enter the Creative Spark competition or about upcoming TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR events, get in touch with TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.



INdulge is a Hong Kong based interior design studio specialising in luxury international hotel and entertainment environments throughout the Asia Pacific region.


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