With the narrative of local crafts woven in, the interior design scheme for Taj Theog attempts to substantiate the sense of luxury that gets created by the experience of being truly taken care of.
Hotels' first venture in Himachal Pradesh - to revitalize the brand's hospitality experience as more human, service - oriented and with a strong local connect. Studio Lotus was invited by late architect Pradeep Sachdeva to bring in a deliberate mountain house warmth and intimacy into the experience of spaces for the Taj.
The 90-key hotel looks onto panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and its architectural expression draws from the vernacular. With the backdrop of this building and the setting, the brief for the public spaces in the hotel was developed to reinterpret the narrative of a home in the mountainside.
A restrained palette of local materials, renders a quiet and spartan spatial experience. The warmth, attention to detail, and layering of materials respond to the varying scaled of the spaces. Contemporized, handcrafted elements from the vernacular lexicon, made in locally-sources timber and stone are brought forth to evoke traditional spatial gestures associated with hospitality and home like-warmth.
The arrival lobby seamlessly extends the reception into a lounge, which provides a quite space for he patrons to unwind. The hotel's public spaces are spread across three levels, the building's response to the stepped profile of the site. Key gestures such as a timber and stone backdrop behind the reception with carving patterns, adaptation of rows of turn-wood spindles found suspended on eaves of local roofs, and doorways for the 6.5 m tall screens in the lobby, are to create a distinct identity for the zones, expressed using regional reinterpretations.
The all day dining seamlessly extends into the southwest-oriented and most useable outdoor space in the hotel. Several design elements add warmth to this otherwise monochromatic space: solid wood furniture, extensive use of crafted timber on the central display island, screens that divide the space into smaller pockets and allow patrons to choose a new dining spot with each visit, and the large hanging lantern-like lamps made from banana fibers.
The Junction Bar is to take on the mood of the nostalgic train journeys in the carriage-ways of an old locomotive operating in the region. Dark green walls and upholstered furniture in charcoal grey heighten the intimate scale of the space, details from the industrial character of metal work is found in the nuanced forms of the bar paneling, while wall- suspended and spherical lamps as well as deep walnut-stained timber re-create the notions of a traditional bar.
The specialty restaurant at the hotel uses a sculptural custom-developed, interlocking system of three-dimensional, ceramic cladding to weave the large theme of its Asian-inspired cuisine offering. Specially-glazed, ceramic-clad walls demarcate a private seating within the restaurant, earmarked for gatherings and special occasions. The rest of the 40-seater, fine dining restaurant is oriented towards the glazed exterior walls that face the valley.
The Spa, Salon and Gym experience is held together with a central contemplative kund-like shallow water body that greets visitors at the entrance to the zone; beyond, the corridors that lead to the treatment rooms are dotted with specially-commissioned illustrations of local flora and fauna, and display cases with pressed and preserved flowers collected from around the site.
Handcrafted and dressed doorways and the rhomboid, batten-laying pattern of motifs adapted for the ceiling of the banquet hall draw inspiration from the local timber ceilings, textiles, as well as carving motifs found in Himachal Pradesh.