In his re-do of FOUR SEASONS HONG KONG, Peter Remedios has brilliantly made the usually-impersonal space between upper floors’ elevator lobbies and corridors into residential-feel reception areas, with knicknacks and seating – see above.
This got Girlahead thinking. Why are elevator lobbies on upper floors usually so boring? It’s as though designers invariably stop designing and go into utilitarian mode. It is essential to have one or more ‘closed doors’ on each floor, with push buttons or control pads to activate elevator cabins to rise or descend as required. Sometimes, in a tall hotel, the wait can be excruciatingly long. Think of the long elevator waits in the 45-floor PORTMAN RITZ-CARLTON Shanghai when ILTM China was held in the exhibition centre across the road: the angst was heightened because elevators were set one side, or the other, of a 20-metre empty space. By contrast elevator management at the 118-floor RITZ-CARLTON HONG KONG is no worry at all. Elevators ‘change’ at the 103rd-floor main lobby.
Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong’s marsupial neighbour W HONG KONG has mastered what to do with elevator lobbies. They are whimsical with fixed books and statuettes, all in white (hotel designer Nic Graham, GA International).
Obviously Hong Kong, with its verticality, has special challenges when it comes to making elevator lobbies attractive, but so do other cities with a plethora of tall buildings. In New York, such old-traditionals as THE PIERRE, A TAJ HOTEL, had inbuilt entertainment. Those waiting for elevators were treated to intermittent excitement as guests’ outgoing letters and cards fluttered down the glass-walled mail-drop chutes outside elevator doors. Pop a note in at any floor and it went down to the ground floor waiting area. Today the chutes remain but writing notes has long since gone.
Girlahead sends a message to all developers and designers. Please, for everyone’s sake, turn elevator lobbies from necessities to mindful experiences. Add mirrors to allow checking if make-up is all right. Add promotional space for hotel and other events, and today’s weather. Add ANYthing, please….