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RYSE Seoul

Will Speros • August 22, 2018
Photography by Yongkwan Kim

Photos: RYSE

Youth, color, and creativity characterize the Seoul neighborhood of Hongdae, which made it an apt locale for the second Korean outpost of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. An artful reflection of its surroundings, balances an industrial aesthetic with delicate comforts, thanks to an urban- and natural-inspired design from London-based firm , and a collaboration with Steven Song of Los Angeles-based architecture practice , which crafted the building.

“The inspiration came from the elemental beauty of the Korean landscape against the alternative, vibrant, youthful, and creative character of the Hongdae neighborhood that the hotel is located in,” says Michaelis Boyd founding partner Tim Boyd. “The neighborhood encourages self-expression and individuality, characteristics we wanted the hotel to have. In design terms, we wanted to create something that fit the raw energy of Hongdae, but at the same time, had its own exciting and unique design language.”

Juxtaposing rough and raw materials, the spacious lobby is anchored by concrete slab walls, polished pink resin floors, and timber and concrete bleacher seating. “We treated the space as a living room for Hongdae,” explains Boyd, who kept the lobby as open as possible “so that everyone in Hongdae can wander in and out of it.” Furniture clad in pops of pink and green inject warmth into the otherwise industrial space, “reflecting the diversity and energy of Hongdae,” he adds.

Large windows in the Tartine café further reinforce the surroundings, while the Side Note Club boasts abundant greenery across its rooftop terrace. “The space was designed with aspirational guests in mind,” Boyd points out, “offering a collaborative social space to drink and dance with stunning views of Hongdae.” The signature eatery Long Chim embraces a more industrial flair with exposed brick wall features and concrete floors.

The concept for the 272 rooms “was to break down the typical corridor and bathroom box at the entrance to a hotel room,” Boyd explains. Here, he chose sliding doors and transparent screens to partition sleeping areas from living spaces and bathrooms, which are wrapped in polished tiles and terrazzo slabs, contrasting the natural green and blue tones of the cozy rooms.

The 14 suites include the 2,300-square-foot Executive Producer suite on the 20th floor, boasting a graphic wall by Korean graphic designer Na Kim, and the signature Artist suites, which reflect the local youth culture and inject each of the spaces with an individualized flair, showcasing photographs by Laurent Segretier and collages by Charles Munka, among others. Sculptor Yeojoo Park even installed polychromatic film partitions to create moments of color throughout the interior.

While swanky and sophisticated, the functionality of the London firm’s design serves as a complement to the vernacular of the South Korean capital. Bespoke elements, from shelving solutions to custom headboards, instill into the hotel with a style as unique as its setting. “As a hotel guest, you are visiting a lively and constantly changing design-led environment,” Boyd says, “and the design of RYSE taps into this in all senses.” 

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