The MIST Hot Spring Resort is located in Xuchang prefecture, 100 km. from Zhengzhou, a capital of China’s Henan province. This region of China has been considered the nation’s most famous hot spring destination for over a thousand year since the Tang Dynasty era. During the four months of winter, people from all over China visit its abundant hot springs. The MIST aims to be a new landround.mark of Henan that will attract both domestic and international travelers to the province all year round.
The best natural attribute of the site is hidden down below - it is China’s finest geothermal underground water. As the heated water is brought up, it gives off gently lingering mist floating above the water surface. The project attempts to heighten the experience of this mystic quality of blurring landscape through master layout design. The building masses, the passageways, the waterscape, are strategically integrated with natural steam from hot-spring pools and some additional mechanized fog that would surround the overall atmosphere and experience. White mist floating just above water surface not only creates dreamy ambience but also provides certain level of privacy for guests relaxing in private hot spring pools from other guests’ view.
In central China, a combination of white snow, somber sky, and leafless trees results in a monochromatic picture with a rather gloomy impression for the most part of winter. The project is our attempt to create a unique way to “colorize” our guests’ experience. The inspiration came from the colorized black and white films in the early 1900’s when the artists hand-painted transparent layers of colors onto black and white films, frame by frame. The result was surreally colorful since the colors were not at the objects, but seemed afloat in the air. The idea of dyeing the space with colorized light onto monotone surface was adopted into architectural language. The facade of the building is doubled with three dimensional lattice structure inspired by Chinese bamboo scaffolding, filled with shades of blue and magenta glazing. This system gives depth and color complexity to the façade, and combines balconies into a single architectural element. The architectural and interior surfaces are kept monochrome to receive and heighten the effect of the colored light painted upon itself through the colored glass. As sunlight shines through the facade, it floods the space with colorful light while at the same time; the colored glass brightens up the gloomy sky while looking out from the inside. Here, color is used as a three-dimensional architectural element, not as finishing material, to create not only unique visual but also space.
Our inspiration for interior design also came from the beauty of the hot spring steam itself. Architecturally-scaled site-specific installations exploring natural phenomenon relating to mist and water are designed and installed throughout the hotel as the main elements that tie the entire experience together. These visually impactful installations are not added as decorations, but inseparably integrated into architecture and interior space.
For the lobby and bar, an installation made of hundreds layers of clear and color crystals is inspired by a spectrum of light passing through hot steam which can be viewed differently depending on position of the viewers from the side, from the end ,or from inside the translucent volume of the installation itself. The lake landscape beyond is enchantingly seen through the sheer installation. Its interior space is kept monochrome with color accents in crystals and floor lighting sculptures, to strengthen the idea of dyeing the space with colorized light.
In the restaurant, an installation inspired by silver-lining silhouette of steam defines seating and kitchen zones. Color-changing light at the edge of the acrylic planes gives different moods through different time of the day.
In the ballroom, a matrix of delicate acrylic rings forms a semi-transparent, irregular cloud-like shape. This ceiling installation, together with the cloud pattern on the floor carpet, gives an unusual feel of lightness to the space. Color-changing lighting rings scattered in the midst of the cloud installation creates different moods suitable to different functions held in the ballroom.
To break through the monotony of hotel corridors, guest rooms are not joined by a typical corridor, but a series of bridges floating in the atriums. Shafts of natural light come in either from skylight or the end wall highlighting the “mist” pattern made of stainless steel tiles and black stone. Large installations in the atrium inspired by two states of water - the Dew and the Droplet, stimulate an experience of an illusive sense of scale and gravity.
The facade lighting effectively shows complexity and subtlety of the architectural design. Each colored glass panel gets illuminated sharply from the bottom whereas the solid wall behind is softly lit up as a background. The combination of these lighting approaches creates layers of visual interest and blurs the facade at night. The building becomes an architectural lantern floating above the lake, seen from afar.
The project is indeed our attempt to explore alternative approaches of architectural and interior design. Our architectural design could not be derived from analysis of complicated physical site (since it is merely a flat empty land) or complexity of the program (since the program is rather straightforward), like we always did. Architecture was largely conceptualized and inspired by another discipline of arts - the art of film. While interior design is in fact an extension of art installations in terms of its role and scale. Installations are seamlessly integrated into architecture and provide both visual impact and functions required for the spaces.travelers to the province all year round.