by Almas SadiqueMar 22, 2023
When Green Park, a legacy hospitality brand in South India running successful business hotels across Hyderabad, Chennai and Visakhapatnam tasked Khosla Associates to "increase the design quotient of the brand in their upcoming Bengaluru hotel," the Indian designers thought best to go 'local', to conceive this haven of calm sophistication. Located in south Bengaluru’s JP Nagar in Karnataka, India, a prime residential area now dotted with a variety of swish restaurants and brewpubs, the suave Green Park Hotel was completed early this year and will open doors in February 2023.
Led by principal designers, Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand, the firm shares with STIR, “The essence of the design was to provide a warm, comfortable and engaging hotel experience for the business traveller vis a vis a theme of ‘India Modern’. A design that prompts the guest to look closely at the work of a variety of design studios across the country especially working responsibly with craft." The bringing together of locally crafted objects and materials and contemporary spatiality lends the Green Park Hotel its clean, charming personality. A subtle combination of textures and finishes adds depth to the otherwise expansive spaces of the hotel, embedding a more connected sensibility throughout.
The clients acquired an empty building shell suited for a hotel’s design, and commissioned Khosla Associates to design the interiors of a 160-key hotel. According to the Indian architects and designers, spaces in Phase 1 to be designed were the lobby, an all-day dining restaurant, standard and club rooms, and banqueting facilities, while Phase 2 would comprise a rooftop speciality restaurant, pool deck and bar.
“When our clients approached us with an ‘India Modern’ theme, instead of taking a cliched direction, we sought to question the very core of what the term meant in today’s context, of growing, modern India. We, therefore, chose to explore and celebrate the immense talent of contemporary design studios across the country, working on contemporary products and furniture that explore local materials and crafts. There are pieces with bone inlay work from Jodhpur, wood marquetry from Mysore, lacquerware from Channapatna, textiles and cane from Nagaland, carpet making from Jaipur, papier mache from Kashmir, to name a few,” Khosla tells STIR.
For the hospitality design, Khosla Associates saw an opportunity to ‘think local’ in terms of materiality, furniture, and accessories employed, as they were deeply keen on reducing the carbon footprint of the overall design and construction process, as much as possible. The ensuing fit-out of all the 160 rooms of the Green Park Hotel was conceived in a local carpentry and metal workshop just a few kilometres from the site.
"Rather than a bulk of hotel orders and sourcing from China, (which seems to be a norm in business hotels), all carpentry and metalwork fit-out throughout the hotel were from local Bengaluru factories and vendors. All sanitary and electrical fixtures in the hotel as well as every piece of furniture, accessory and artwork were sourced from within India. I believe that this was a simple yet important choice to make, in the long road to being as sustainable as possible. We were keen to showcase the work of a variety of design studios across India through a curated approach. Some pieces were collaborations custom designed for the space and others were bought-out items. Our idea was to have an open-source design directory/brochure in the lobby for all the curated products on display, for any visitor to the hotel to know where they could be sourced from,” Khosla tells STIR.
The design aesthetic articulating the Green Park Hotel is 'mid-century modern,' flaunting a simple yet refreshing appeal, with a white shell as a base and adorned with pops of colour and varying textures. As one enters the hotel, an arresting voluminous vaulted roof ensnares guests, running almost 40 meters in length and reaching a height of nine meters, along the linear north periphery of the expansive, thoughtfully crafted lobby. Conceived by Khosla Associates, the vault is dressed in shingled layers of warm plywood, crafted in collaboration with local Bangalore studio SFA works.
"The vault acts as a strong visual connector running between the lobby and restaurant and is the most prominent and unifying element between the spaces, flanked by double height windows that admit natural light and connect the indoors to outdoors," the Indian architects explain.
Running perpendicular to the vault is another linear axis beginning at the entrance and culminating in a four-meter-long fluid reception unit which is clad entirely in brushed brass and Banswara marble. This reception unit seems to float 'sensuously' ahead of a massive bookshelf composed of walnut wood and polished cement. The shelves here are peppered with curated objects organised from across the country—sculpture, framed graphic art and India-inspired books. A space for rest and pause is cultivated here, defined by clusters of mid-century seating on either side of this axis. "In its aesthetic, the softness of form of the vault as well as the pattern on the shingles echo the mid-century aesthetic in the rest of the lobby and restaurant space,” Khosla adds.
According to Khosla, the overall ambience of this entrance lobby and allied spaces is expansive and soothing, with the visitor traversing coolly on sheets of white terrazzo flooring, broken only by the rhythm of hand-polished cement columns and the playful criss-cross of custom-designed pendant lamps for company. The same spatial vocabulary and ambience spill into the all-day dining restaurant, augmented by gentle cane partitions and two dramatic biophilia walls serving as the backdrop for the booth seating. Metal racks with terracotta planters house a variety of indoor plants here, bringing the natural outdoors in, and "reinforcing the brand language of Green Park," he relays to STIR.
For one end of the conspicuous lobby, graphic designer Tania Singh Khosla of TSK Design created a ‘delightful’ 5.4 metres high, hand-tufted wall rug (manufactured in Mirzapur by Jaipur rugs) inspired by the KR flower market in Bengaluru. Drawing from a cubist aesthetic, the carpet depicts an aerial view of the flower sellers with their huge circular baskets of brightly coloured marigolds and jasmine garlands, juxtaposing elements from maps, and architectural details of the market. Ahead, a communal table created in collaboration with Vayam Collective, who worked with toy manufacturers in Channapatna, features clusters of colourful turned wood lacquerware legs to support its organic-shaped walnut tabletop.
The 'mid-century' modern language and colour scheme continue inside the rooms of the hospitality interiors. “A lot of thought was invested in re-looking at the essentials of a business hotel room. Thus, we did away with closed cupboards favouring an open cupboard scheme, eliminated a standard desk and chair and introduced a sofa and worktable instead," informs Khosla. The rooms were brought alive by contextual artworks by TSK Design, who carried out a complete and refreshing rebrand of Green Park hotels. The bold and versatile branding picks up on the recurring circular forms within the architecture and interior elements. Circular graphic artworks extend the theme of the flower market—where malipus and marigolds reappear as embellishments on the hairdos of women.
A pristine and comforting blue and aqua scheme brings alive the banquet halls, where a mid-century graphic carpet was created by the interior designers to offset oak-finished walls with vertical inserts of padded blue chenille. The ceiling here features a playful array of half-cut dome inserts that are painted a matte gold, emanating a gently angelic glow.
Commenting on the name of the hospitality project, Khosla relays that a theme of ‘green’ was also considered paramount—Green Park, an existing legacy hotel brand; an abundance of ‘greenery’ that was introduced into the hotel’s interior design, as part of its all-day restaurant through large biophilia walls and indoor plants; and going 'green,' by thinking of sustainability goals, of reducing carbon footprint by sourcing everything locally.
Khosla Associates relay that one of the challenges they faced, was to take on the ambitious curation of several objects, works of art, accessories, and furniture in different mediums from design studios across the country, while still maintaining synergy and cohesiveness to the overall design language of the project.
Conceived through an almost artisanal lens, the Green Park Hotel achieves sophistication through its curated spatiality and décor, its seemingly simple interiors elevated by the inclusion of tactile touchpoints, some grand, others modest. Deep in tone and intent, the locally crafted sculptural elements carry the project to fruition, essaying the heart of the hotel’s design.
Ruminating on their design approach shifting to adapt to varying design typologies, Khosla shares, “We approach each typology differently, its superbly layered each time, depending on the client, the scale of the project, the site, the concept, and so much more. First and foremost, it is always a response to the design brief as well as the specific needs of the client. For instance, in a private residence, one is catering to the needs of a few individuals of a family, their personalities, their preferences, and their beliefs. The client and the end user are one and the same. In a hotel, however, the program is a lot more complex as the client and the end users are completely different. Hence, one must look at the design with a universal appeal and perspective, transcending individual needs. In the case of a business hotel such as this one, we had to look at the generic needs of a business traveller, and the elements that are most important to them.”
Name: Green Park Hotel
Location: Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Year of completion: 2023
Interior Designer: Khosla Associates
Principal Designers: Sandeep Khosla and Amaresh Anand
Interior Design Team: Sandeep Khosla, Amaresh Anand, Jesuvi Packiam, Nisarg Shah and Anagha OR
Graphic Design and Brand Identity: Tania Singh Khosla, TSK Design