«Others deliver an interior design, but we offer a reason for a visit, we create a destination. A hotel should entertain, inspire and stimulate. We want the guest to have a lifestyle experience, by creating a place full of surprises and beauty». We can only believe the words of Marcel Wanders, which describe the philosophy that envelops and permeates the Kameha Grand Zurich – walking along its corridors we seem to be surrounded by bars of chocolate and as weenter the lobby, we are overwhelmed by huge golden bells. We really cannot help but be captivated, enthralled and amazed.
The Kameha is a truly extraordinary hotel, just like the person responsible for its design. The Dutch designer Marcel Wanders has created a new sense of welcoming hospitality, expressed in the union between design and lifestyle, which aims to surprise through the most varied forms of creativity. A great respect for Zurich, where the Kameha is located, and for its characteristic traditions, underlies the interior design. The challenge was to incorporate local elements with the visionary approach of the designer, in a crescendo of drama and emotion generated by the interior. Hence the series of details that allude to Swiss industry and personalities, such as the chocolate-patterned wall paneling, mini-bars that resemble safes, lamps that look like giant bells, and even sofas whose shape is reminiscent of the famous Toblerone chocolate. The lobby offers a foretaste of this concept – which later develops in a variety of styles and themes through the suites, meeting spaces, two restaurants and lounge – serving as an introduction and at the same time as a connecting point for the various themes. The entrance area is decorated with elements that evoke the heritage of Zurich, including its watchmaking tradition and the success story of its banks. A red carpet guides visitors into the hall, ending in the imposing staircase that leads to the Kameha Dome, a multifunctional 710 sq m space that evokes the grandeur of traditional ballrooms.
The design of the rugs in the lobby is directly inspired by Swiss banknotes – the designs used are the result of the study of guilloche rosettes and metamorphosis patterns. The walls and ceiling are primarily white – a neutral tone which accentuates the decorative elements and furniture even further – enriched by padded and quilted panels, with touches of light provided by large golden keys. Above the reception, big golden bells illuminate the space, embellished with floral motifs that recall the Kameha logo, which is scattered at many points throughout the hotel.
245 rooms, including 6 suites and 11 themed business suites, each different from the next, which bear Wanders’ unmistakable signature. The entire hotel is the result of his eclectic, creative genius: the whole interior, from the furnishings to the patterned upholstery, was custom-designed for the Kameha, along with iconic pieces that complete the design.
This exclusivity dominates 11 themed suites, where playful touches and imagination create unexpected results: there is the Princess suite, the Poker Face suite complete with a roulette table, the Ghostwriter and the Fair Play suite with a pool table, darts and table games, the Watchmaker suite, which was created in collaboration with a Swiss watch manufacturer, the Burlesque and Gentlemen suites, the Diva suite for those who want to play the role of a movie star, and the Workout and Serenity suites, equipped with a yoga mat and scented candles. Every room is a carefully orchestrated blend of furniture and styles and the trend continues in the catering spaces: the Italian restaurant, L’Unico, and the Japanese Yu Nijyo, whose design, according to its creators’s vision, aims to unite culinary authenticity with a modern sensibility. The ceilings are modeled in line with the sizes and shapes of the tatami mats, while the walls – laser-cut wooden panels – depict elements of Japanese history, from geishas to cherry blossoms and other symbols. East and West come together in a project that is above all a tribute to the local tradition, but which also encompasses a profusion of influences, culminating in a sophisticated English style – in the smoking lounge – and Moorish touches that define the Middle Eastern suite and the Shisha Lounge.
Ownership: Turintra AG, a real estate found on the Swiss Bank UBS
Hotel Managment firm: Kameha Grand Glattpark Betriebs GmbH (LH&E Group)
Main Suppliers: 2F Hotellicht, Prolicht, Artemide (Lighting), FEURING Projektmanagment (Dècor)
General contractor: Mettler2Invest
Design Team: Marcel Wanders
Photo credits: courtesy of Kameha Grand Zurich, Marcel Wanders