Full Steam Ahead: Johannesburg’s Radisson Blu Gautrain

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    With sophisticated and avant-garde interiors by MKV Design, the Radisson Blu Gautrain opened just in time to host Johannesburg’s visitors for the World Cup. Constructed in a contemporary building that overlooks the city’s new Gautrain railway station, this is a hotel for modern international business people. The hotel’s scheme includes subtle references to train design and a flow of public spaces that picks up on the movement of the station below. The primarily monochromatic colour palette of this property could not be more different from the design practice’s first Radisson Blu in Johannesburg, and blends modern classic furniture with an edgier, yet elegant, vibe that relates to the excitement of its urban locale.The interiors of the bold street-side lobby command attention with a faceted wall sculpture in a vibrant, cherry red lacquer. Dramatically stretching for five metres from floor-to-ceiling, the monolith houses a lift that whisks guests to the main reception and public areas on the fourth level. Complementing this vivid focal point, a polished steel concierge desk is accented by an artistically styled atlas of the world’s capitals. Laser-cut out of stainless steel, it is a reference to the international values of the brand and the hotel’s globe-trotting business travellers. As a counterpoint to the angular surfaces, warmth is added to the space through contemporary wingback chairs upholstered in supple scarlet leather and rosy-toned African teak cladding on the floor and walls.

    The hotel’s location above a mixed-use development of retail boutiques rewards guests with panoramic views of the city from each of its 12 levels. All the public areas are located on the fourth floor and benefit from a terrace that wraps around the building, overlooking the station and city panorama beyond. The main reception, bar, restaurant, and terrace flow together to form fluid zones through which guests migrate.

    Neutral colour blocks in white, black and grey create a fresh, airy palette that is punctuated by touches of persimmon. Behind the reception desk and the bar seating, the sculpted wall element reappears and brings drama and depth as it displays African artefacts under focused spotlights. Following the silhouette of the faceted structure is a soffit inset with LED strips that shift from amber to red depending on the time of day and desired mood. These lights also trace the bottom edge and black granite top of the double-sided bar, providing an ethereal glow that reflects off the polished steel façade and shines through the floor-to-ceiling windows to the station below.

    Daniel Fountain / 04.08.2010

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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