Owner: Marriott Group
Hotel operator: RYSE Hotel/Autograph Collection Hotels
Interior design: Michaelis Boyd Associates
Furnishings: Bespoke furniture by Ben Masterton-Smith/Michaelis Boyd Associates
Photo credits: Yongkwan Kim
The lively Hongdae creative district in Seoul provides the formidable setting for the interior design of the new RYSE Hotel (part of Autograph Collection Hotels) by Michaelis Boyd, the studio based in London founded by Alex Michaelis and Tim Boyd, renowned for their sophisticated and imaginative approach applied to sustainability and environmental awareness. Add this to the fact that the hotel is located inside a building designed by the team of architects of SCAAA (Los Angeles-Seoul), and everything takes on aspects of exceptional refinement. The structure reacts to the atmosphere and urban condition of the site, a place of intellectual ferment and intercultural encounter. The two different facades establish a respective dialogue with the lively pedestrian zone of Hongdae and with Yanghwa Road, a main artery bordered by a series of commercial facilities and office buildings, thus creating a natural connection between the two fronts and a circumscribed area of social gathering. While it is a hotel, of course, the RYSE wants above all to draw in the energy of ideas, discussion and creativity. This intent is interpreted by Michaelis Boyd through a daring vision in the interior design, inspired by the landscapes of Korea.
An extraordinary first glance immediately captivates guests with a decidedly theatrical open lobby, in which at the center of a three-story space a monolith stands out composed of concrete slabs with shifting textures, in contrast with the clean image of the perfectly cut and polished marble. The studio’s aim was to obtain “a rough diamond,” so the lobby features a mixture of rugged materials and luxurious details: the pink resin floor ‘glows’ thanks to a full-height glazing that floods the space with light, where a system of modular sofas faces upwards toward a work of art suspended in the air, composed of pieces in a ‘woven’ pattern. The work continues vertically, crossing a helical void that divides the space into two parts.
The final effect is one of extreme intimacy, throughout the hotel, in a perfect balance between luxurious and primitive. The 274 guestrooms on 20 levels have also been conceived in an alternative manner by Michaelis Boyd, replacing the typical corridor/bath-at-entrance arrangement with a ‘ductile’ wall, customized from room to room, giving rise to an open wardrobe and glass panels that border the bathroom – a game of black and white, in contrast with the colors of the living area – as well as a greater sense of spacious fluidity.
Here, as in the rest of the hotel, a furniture collection has been specifically created by Ben Masterton-Smith, who was still a part of Michaelis Boyd Associates at the time of the project. The Hongdae chair, Itaewon table, Seoraksan sofa and Jeju ottoman are just some of the pieces that stand out for character and elegance, masterfully combined with fabrics, leathers and velvets. Some of the suites – 14 in all – have been specifically personalized with works of art by Laurent Segretier, Charles Munka, Yeojoo Park, Maekan, Na Kim, adding to the sensation of personalized hospitality. “RYSE is much more than a hotel – says Jaisun Ihm, General Manager – it is a cultural experience.”