Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur has recently expanded its event facilities with two exciting multiuse spaces, Poolside Residence and Poolhouse. The novel concept spreads over two floors and is curated by award-winning interior and architectural firm, G.A. Design who has an extensive list of luxury hotels in their portfolio including the W Shanghai and The Langham in both Sydney as well as Hong Kong.
Both Poolside Residence and Poolhouse enjoy an expansive vista of the city, and are integrated within the hotel’s poolside setting – sprinkled with lush greenery and landscaping. The Poolside Residence comprises five private event spaces that are surrounded by the Gallery and Loft Kitchen whilst the newly reimagined Poolhouse (formerly the Poolside restaurant) is a stunning glasshouse surrounded by tropical plants.
The versatile spaces combine Malaysia’s glorious cultural elements with the cool vibes of New York’s lofts. The hibiscus – Malaysia’s national flower – takes precedence as the central theme of the spaces that are predominantly more neutral but dressed in dazzling accents of gold and brass.
While the more understated and relaxed Pool Residence is a simple urban retreat that celebrates the local context, the Poolhouse comes in a more extravagant finish. As you meander around the space, there is a sense of familiarity and comfort that comes together with the well-balanced design elements. Warm natural tones with splashes of cool gray and blue give a calming effect while the symmetrical juxtaposition of its spatial planning provides a structured elegance to the space.
As we immerse ourselves in the luxurious setting of the newly revamped Poolside Residence and Poolhouse, we speak to Adrian Currie, Managing Director of G.A. Design Kuala Lumpur about the creative concept of the spaces that combine two contrasting styles – New York loft trend and Malaysian cultural context – and how they work together holistically.
What exactly is the New York loft coolness and how has this design trend evolved over the years?
The initial mould for the New York loft style was set in 1960’s Soho, New York, where groups of artist moved into unused factories and warehouses in order to develop studio living space for minimal costs. To keep budgets low these groups tended to retain what was there before whilst adding additional elements from the worlds of art and design to elevate and individualise the spaces. Historically the material palette was exposed brick, steel beams and trusses, large-scale industrial style windows and concrete.
Taking this historical reference on board and bringing it into a modern day context, one would usually assume that the design language for a loft style interior would be typified by the use of simple, raw materials used as strong and bold statements.
These are completely diverse concepts– combining the New York loft ideals into the local context. How do you find the balance between these two?
The team finds simplicity in regards to the overall planning and maximises volumes and the creation of strong lines. The interior spaces should also connect to the surrounding environment to create a smooth transition inside out. Bringing in as much natural light as possible further enhances this interaction with the natural landscape.
We choose a modest palette using natural materials augmented with sustainability in mind — more robust materials and clean vertical geometry. This way, it maintains a relaxed and fluid space for its local cultural immersion.
We notice the statement rug in the Poolside Residence that features the national flower. But why is it not red?
Yes, local references have been kept subtle and simple to avoid pastiche and to enable a more harmonious relationship with the New York loft concept. Statement pieces and features have been limited but where needed, we have opted for bold choices to create the desired impact.
For first-time visitors, what should they be looking out for in the newly designed spaces?
There is a quote attributed to Mies van der Rohe which posits that ‘God is in the detail’ and this is really what our story is about. Hopefully, the first-time visitor will appreciate the overall ambience upon entering the residence; the openness, sense of space, the abundance of natural daylight and the feeling of integration with the landscaping and the pool. But then as they slowly immerse themselves further into the environment, the layers within the design will become more apparent and the details will reveal themselves.
The suggestion of local flora within the carpet design for instance or the references to local traditional crafts with the use of hand-carved teak credenzas allow visitors to peer into a more localised experience. There are also selected artworks that pick up on the elements of the surrounding pool and landscape, whether this is in the feature wall sculpture which forms the major backdrop upon entering the residence, or the triptych of painted works that make up a procession along the main meeting room corridor. All these elements help to build on the story without visually overloading the guests.
Lastly, how would you summarise the project in a nutshell?
A simple urban retreat that celebrates its location in beautiful Malaysia, and acknowledges the local cultural context but presents itself in a modern and yet relaxed manner.