5000 logs of recycled wood welcome the visitor to the impressive reception at Canberra Hotel.
The Australian architects from March Studio were given the job of designing the hotel’s ground floor. Situated in a shopping mall that boasts shops, private offices, apartments and coffee shops, the mall is part of an effort to rejuvenate the surrounding area. This effort to rejuvenate an area through architecture is known as the ‘Bilbao effect’, in reference to the Guggenheim Museum and what that did for the city of Bilbao, Spain.
By using thousands of pieces of reused wood Hotel Canberra’s lobby has a truly unique identity, it has an effect that blurs spatial boundaries and even creates a sense of movement. A grand staircase acts as the spine of the project, connecting the hotel lobby to the bar and creating a focal point at the end of the entrance.
Solid timbers are stacked together to give the form of stairs, contrasting with light wooden slats running along the wall that are bound together by thin steel cables. These pieces of reused wood let in light, creating an ever-changing shadow and light effect over the course of the day. Much like the lobby walls, the seats, benches and stairs are all made from the same material – wood. This includes laminated, polished and stacked wood. The wood is combined with prefabricated concrete beams. This unique system creates different spaces with their own character, turning seemingly non-descript hallways and corridors into comfort zones that encourage guests to stay and relax in them.
The project won best interior space of 2015 at the INSIDE World Festival of Interiors held in Singapore, along with other acknowledgements such as the Best Hotel award of the same year. Hotel Canberra is an exciting new way of showing how wood has many design functions and is the perfect partner for creating fascinating spaces.
Photography by John Gollings, courtesy of March Studio.