Located along the arterial road that leads to Singapore’s iconic Orchard Road, Novotel & Mercure Singapore on Stevens is a unique 10-storey development housing two hotels and an eclectic array of F&B outlets.
Unlike its other contemporaries in the vicinity, Novotel & Mercure Singapore on Stevens is a rarity as it boasts a large land footprint of which a substantial proportion is dedicated to lush landscaping and a sprawling lawn ideal for picnics and al-fresco dining.
It is a garden oasis crafted in response to the surrounding urban landscape. The design and planning created a green respite at the fringe of the city for not only for hotel guests but the neighbouring residences as well.
Our client was keen to create a destination and iconic statement, whilst acknowledging the surrounding people, urban context and ambitions of Singapore as a whole.
Novotel & Mercure on Stevens is a sculptural 10-storey development that accommodates two hotels and an array of fine dining.
Organic pods spill out from under a hotel tower, and engage with the surrounding urban context, enticing in the public and creating a destination. Bridal Veil creepers form a floral crown to these pods, complementing the meadowed groundscapes below and, in unison create a lush garden setting ideal for al-fresco events.
The glistening tower above reflects a more urban presence, in keeping with the surrounding skyline.
The Chinese character 人 means human, in honour of the humans who built, work, visit and stay here; it is an apt character to define a hospitality building that services the fundamental human desires for food and shelter.
Typically, properties of a similar brand profile offer a consistent style with little regard to where they are located. These cookie-cutter hotels, more often than not, simply achieve the benchmark set out by the hotel brand, and nothing more, nothing unique
With the explosive growth in the number of hotel rooms in Singapore, supply rapidly exceeded demand. To stay competitive, a new approach towards designing hotels was required: one which maintained the global familiarity and usability of the brand, whilst providing a unique offer related to the guests’ destination.
Taking advantage of the sprawling location on the city fringe, free from the density of the CBD, we are able to design and position the development as an oasis of calm. Green organic pods housing a myriad of food and beverage options are scattered throughout the site, defining spacious al-fresco places for the public and guests alike, a luxury rarely afforded by similar commercial properties in Singapore. This amenities, including two pools and the generous gym help toinject value to the hotel in an increasingly saturated market.
The hotel operator’s challenge for this eight-hundred-room development: during the design process, avoid the fall into the generic of the ‘large-scale cookie-cutter hotel’. The brand standards were employed as a guide, adjusted and embellished. The appropriate levels of vernacular influence and layers of motif were able to strike the balance between maintaining the global legibility of the hotel brands whilst creating a unique and rich offer that would stimulate visitors. In short, we endeavoured to infuse this project with the spicy eclectic vernacular that is Singapore, treats to entice all.
As the site is within a Tree Conservation Zone, measures were employed to protect the older more important specimens. The final proposal showcased both newly planted and heritage trees, including a site boundary lined with pine trees that mark one’s entry into this place and pay homage to the Pines Club that once stood here.
The 人 form carves the triangular site into three distinctive public places: a grand drop-off space to the south that sets the hotel and allows for an inspirational arrival sequence; a more secluded hotel pool and courtyard space to the east; and a functional sports zone to the west.
To achieve the requisite sustainability credentials to build in Singapore, we employed a complement of architectural and mechanical methodologies.
The ground-scape follows Singapore’s vision of a city in a garden. With a lush ground floor, green roofs to the pods and a green wall veiling the rear façade, the development embraces a green approach to urban design.
In designing the tower, we considered its impact on the condominiums to the rear of the site. After consultation with the local authority we employed a green wall to soften this impact, allowing local residents a pleasant view onto vibrant yet calming greenery.
As the site is surrounded by trees and within a Tree Conservation Zone, measures were employed to protect the older more important specimens. The final proposal would showcase both newly planted and incumbent trees, showcasing Singapore’s wide floral heritage.
The two design principles: 人 and Engagement with Nature (symbolized by the pine trees) interplay throughout this project. At times, the allusions to the 人 can be sensuous such as the overall sweeping form of the tower. Elsewhere it can be highly geometric, such as the main reception tessellated feature wall, the edges of the triangles tracing the 人.
This conversation between strong geometric patterning and soft organic forms creates both a tension and balance, allowing the spaces to register with the diverse range of guests.
In creating this place celebrating people, we chose to design for these people, to limit the developments carbon footprint but more importantly to create a place ‘worth caring about’, and thus ultimately: sustainable.