The design narrative for the 63,708-SM space is based on a concept dubbed “electric empire”—a combination of exhilarating, high style and visually intriguing historical references. Architecturally, the tower extends upward using an exterior wrapping that emulates a bamboo forest. The efficient double-loaded plan maximizes views, and vertical stone piers marking the room modules add a sense of solidity to the façade. An optical illusion created by the diminishing height and rhythmic treatment of the stone piers frames the segments of bamboo growth and enhances vertical proportions.
The building is rotated away from the western sun so that the fitted glass fins effect a gradated pattern in the daytime, producing an ethereal effect, and transform at night to reverse the top-lit direction and create a stunning billboard. Floating bronze doors, inspired by the imperial palaces of the Ming and Qing dynasties, welcome guests.
The pavilions and sunken garden needed to bring light into the building also serve to provide a wonderful guest experience that creates that “insider” aspect that is part of the W brand. Also, an emphasis on form did not come at the expense of function, however—the team were intent on streamlining movement through the space both vertically and horizontally to provide guests with an easily navigable and comfortable space. In the open spaces, they worked closely with landscape architects to soften the cutting-edge, contemporary environment with natural elements.