Australian firm Layan Design Group was appointed by Cross Ocean
Development Group to design a new hotel in the middle of urban Shanghai.
The prerogative was to design a 5 star luxury property that is not just another
business hotel but an urban resort. A place where one can find peace and
tranquillity in the middle of the hyper-active urban jungle that is Shanghai today.
As a commitment to Layan’s endeavour to provide excellent design they invited two other internationally acclaimed designers – Jaya & Associates - Jakarta and
The Flaming Beacon – Melbourne, to become part of the design team.
Layan decided that the project had to have a distinctive Chinese, yet modern and
residential character to make the guest feel at home. The rooms and the public
areas had to feel like someone’s house – not like a space trying to impress but a
space trying to calm and relax. Instead of a grand lobby with huge reception desk
they decided on a fabulous large bar where one can drink, chat, meet and of
course check-in (or out).
This bar becomes the heart of the building – the
meeting place overlooking a stunning candle-lit 500sqm reflection pond, which
builds the boundary between the hotel and the adjacent JingAn Park. The views
from the public areas are directed towards the park wherever possible to create
the impression that one is in a large garden surrounded by mature trees and
In addition Layan created a very intimate space called the library - a 5.0m high
space with bookshelves all around and with a very special fireplace. The fireplace
is so long that one can sit within the fireplace to watch the flames surrounded by
thousands of books – a place where one can spend time alone without feeling
lonely – just like your private living room at home.
There is a very comfortable restaurant on level 2 with views of the park. The
space functions as a breakfast lounge in the morning and converts into a
restaurant later in the day with some space for more private lounging, reading on
a huge newspaper table and a private banquet room.
Level 3 is occupied by the state-of-the-art health club, the massive gym and the
spectacular signature overflow pool. Also on this floor is the sophisticated
On the top level of the hotel is the club used by guest occupying rooms on the
dedicated club floors. It offers a very subtle, luxurious and again homely
environment with a grand central fireplace, a
for breakfast and
snacks during the day and of course dedicated Club-check-in. With it’s huge roof
terrace overlooking shanghai this club is ideal to also function as a space for
private or corporate functions.
The philosophy of the hotel being calm, relaxing and offering a mostly residential
environment manifested best in the design for the individual guestrooms.
All finishes and materials are warm, soft, gentle and textured. Layan refrained from
using sharp-edged contemporary finishes and concentrated on the use of
textures and matt finishes throughout.
They did want to create a distinct Chinese feel without being overtly ethnic and
traditional. The reference and connection to the local Chinese culture is
developed mostly through materials used – not so much through particular
shapes. It is the overall proportion which is important to Layan – not so much a literal
copy of a traditional shape. This mixture of modern shapes combined with
traditional local materials gives the hotel its distinctive flavour – Chinese, yet
cosmopolitan in outlook.
The use of carved timber screens, textured local grey brick walls, dark and grainy
timber in combination with light honed sandstone and sand-coloured textile wall
coverings locates this hotel firmly in China with its mind set on the future – rather
than the past.
Layan have located the bathroom in such a way that it becomes
integral part of the room – in fact in most rooms the bathroom and the room are
hardly distinguishable. The bathtub is located along the window – together with a
huge daybed to lounge and relax. Every room features a proper dining table,
which also functions as a desk space. A set of full-height glass sliding doors
enables the guest to zone-off particular parts of the room to create more privacy.
Of course every room feature state-of-the-art media equipment including 42” LCD
TV, Bose Stereo System, wireless Internet, mini office including fax and printer
Layan strongly believe that the THE PULI has all the ingredients to become
Shanghai’s new best hotel - not in terms of quantity (most and largest
restaurants, biggest pool, largest room etc. etc.) but in terms of quality: Subtle,
simple, rich and very elegant with perfect and discreet service, finest F&B
selection and the atmosphere of a private home.