The project for Hotel Levana Suites involved refurbishing an existing building and transforming it a stylish boutique hotel on Lucknow’s Madan Mohan Malviya Marg.
The success hinged upon effective collaboration between the three stakeholders: Beyond Green (for architecture, landscaping and lighting design), Hiral Jobalia Studio (for interiors and interior lighting design) and the client.
Though the brief was simple — “just create a hotel” — the complexity arose from the fact that both Bobby and Hiral had worked on the refurbishment of the group’s Hazratganj property as well as its rooftop restobar. Therefore, the crucial part of this assignment revolved around creating an entity that would not tread on its sibling’s toes, and ensuring that both the hotels enjoyed a distinction in identities. Unlike its Hazratganj counterpart, this one lacked locational advantage.
The planning, therefore, had to resolve the issues of parking and create a setback that would allow the public to enjoy the view of edifice optimally.
As in any project with multiple collaborators, there was a fair amount of discussion that ensued during the hotel’s creation. These intensive deliberations were instrumental in creating a cohesive entity that had a seamless design thought running through the landscape, the architecture and the interiors.
When the design team were handed over the project, the building was a skeleton formwork in good condition. The first thought was to change the compartment-like character of the existing building and break the monotony of linearity. This, coupled with the much-needed requirement for privacy, given the dense residential surroundings of the hotel, and the fact the hotel simply had no views to orient to, and thus, perforce, had to be articulated as an inward-looking entity, seemed to converge at one point: an interesting facade treatment.
Two factors determined, functionally and aesthetically, the elevation detailing: attention toguest comfort and staying away from the ‘picture window’ concept that’s so popular for hotel rooms.
The architects looked towards the city’s celebrated and delicate chikankari embroidery to create a beautiful and contemporary jaali.
Besides the banquets, a board room and a business centre, the hotel has three F&B outlets: Cosme, the all-day restaurant and bar; the Elevate Indoor Book Cafe and the Elevate Rooftop Restobar. Devoting a great deal of thought to surface treatments, the Cosme restaurant is a blend of contemporary and neoclassical elements and replete with textural play.
Influenced by kirigami (a variation of origami), wooden slats create a three-dimensional pattern on the ceiling — which is complemented by the herringbone design of the marble floor (in honed and polished finishes) and the painted MDF slats — influenced by the facade treatment — for wall panelling with interesting wallpaper, broken into panels. The eatery offers a variety of seating options: sofas, a PDR, loungers, bar stools.
Customised in local stone, the thickness of the stone was altered to create interesting self design and perforations. The upper and the larger part of the façade was sheathed in bands of louvered brise soleil, each one divided into three equal parts that can be each oriented differently to caste self-shadows and make the building feel like an origami creation.
The porte-cochere is extended along the entire length of the hotel to give a sense of arrival in the entrance plaza.
Since the space was tight for landscape, a terrace balcony with plumeria served the dual purpose of softening the building and also adding the much-needed green.
The two existing trees at the site were retained, and the corner tree became the starting point for a series of complexly-crafted sculptural metal trees standing against the backdrop of stone.
These also serve as a light installation: one with copper inserts to light up the driveway, and the other with magnifying glasses that form elliptical leaft-shaped patterns at night for the metal trees.
When it came to interiors, contemporary eclecticism, laced with understated luxury, was the chosen path.
It all centred around creating characterful spaces with a sense of quality rendered through the use of original materials or different techniques.
So while on one hand, there were the challenges posed by structural issues and effective layout of services (HVAC and plumbing) for the rooms, restaurants and banquet areas, on the other hand was the constant endeavour for bespoke touches — such as artwork in limestone and sandstone, textural surface treatments — throughout the hotel.
The colour scheme stays on the neutral side of the palette, with sparks of vibrancy being added through soft furnishings. The material selection is dominated by honed limestone, sandstone, marbleand dyed veneer.
Colour (through soft furnishings) and an eclectic style strategy create a warm, personalised ambience in the reception of Lucknow’s Hotel Levana Suites.
Gentle tones of dyed veneer and polished marble (of the floor) find consonance with the honed marble cladding of the column and reception cuboid — a box that sees a monolithic use of the natural stone. The ceiling of the reception desk area sees delicately-folded, black-painted metal in matte finish. The mixed medium mural — rendered with brass, copper and MS — takes cues from a world map and subtly highlights the essence of world-class hospitality.
The contemporary seating, jaali space divider and other stylish elements emphasise the hotel’s luxe and modern personality.
The hotel has 26 Club Rooms and 4 Club Superior Rooms. The guest rooms are spacious, almost suite-like — therefore the name of the hotel.
The sense of openness is reinforced by the open bathrooms with mirrored sliding doors to ensure that the spacious feeling even when the bathroom is in use.
The lighting strategy at the bottom of the shutters creates a levitating effect. Everything is custom-designed in the room, and care has been lavished over every detail, from carpentry finishes to rugs, fabrics and lights.
The difference between the two types is that latter has a separate seating area, while the seating of the latter is positioned near the bed, and functions as a daybed.
The sense of All of them are chic and customized: bespoke, luxurious and multi-functional space, where guests can work, dine, relax, sleep and pamper themselves to the hilt. They take automation to another level with iPad-controlled lights, AC and TV. The handheld device also acts as a digital menu for in-room dining.
Influenced by kirigami (a variation of origami), wooden slats create a three-dimensional pattern on the ceiling — which is complemented by the herringbone design of the marble floor (in honed and polished finishes) and the painted MDF slats — influenced by the facade treatment — for wall panelling with interesting wallpaper, broken into panels. The eatery offers a variety of seating options: sofas, a PDR, loungers, bar stools…
The Elevate Indoor Book Cafe sees the infusion of youthful energy via a snazzy wallpaper and a vibrant kaleidoscopic pattern rendered in Italian marble on the floor.
Bar-style seating, islands of tables and chairs, and a long community table create a casual laid-back vibe. The latter exhibits a practical touch with customised light fixtures that include electrical points for laptops, etc. A large, tome-filled wall-to-ceiling bookshelf justifies the name of the cafe. Next to it lies the Elevate Rooftop Restobar, a serene oasis that offers copious amounts of fresh air in addition to a variety of sun-downers.
It is designed along a ‘green room’ concept where each cubicle equipped with all facilities, is cocooned into a private island with the help of plant material, such that each pocket is private, yet connected to the overall scheme. A striking red box, a folly-like structure, makes its own statement to one side.
Hotel Levana Suites is all about effortless luxury, say its creators. Something which is sensed rather than seen. May be a little gloss, a little less shine, but it’s there…
Project: Hotel Levana Suites
Location: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Site area: 48,000 sqft
Built-up area: 32,000 sqft
Principal architects: Bobby Sujansingani, Hiral Jobalia and Rucha Nangare
Design team: Pratik Mehta and Sagar Prajapati
Architecture, landscaping and lighting design: Beyond Green
Interiors and interior lighting design: Hiral Jobalia Studio
Structural consultant: Arun Kumar (Design Group, Lucknow)
Graphics and creatives: Sunny Shah, Neha Vora and Ezephyr
Photographs: Photographix | Sebastian + Ira; courtesy the architects.
Facade: Sandstone (for jaali), Sawar marble (for cladding) and Tipwood natural fibre composites (louvres)
Driveway and parking: Indian granite
Reception area flooring: Italian marble
Reception area ceiling: Matte-finish, black-painted metal
Cosme ceiling: Wood
Cosme flooring: Herringbone-patterned marble
Cosme wall treatment: MDF lattice and wallpaper
Elevate Indoor Book Cafe flooring: Kaleidoscopic pattern in Italian marble
Corridors on guest floors: Carpet (floor) and limestone and veneer (walls)
Guest room flooring: Wooden-finish PVC (bedroom) and hones limestone (bathroom)
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