Play­ful Po­etry

The JW Mar­riott Bei­jing Cen­tral re­veals mem­o­ries of Suzhou

Parents + Kids - - Editor’snote - Am­ber De La Haye

The JW Mar­riott

At the root of the JW Mar­riot Bei­jing Cen­tral's de­sign lies the Qing dy­nasty leg­end of Jiang­nan. When the em­peror went to Jiang­nan to ex­pe­ri­ence civil­ians’ lives, his mother fol­lowed. The Em­peror’s mother was so de­lighted at the views and na­ture she saw that upon their re­turn the Em­peror recre­ated the scenery of Suzhou to help her re­call her mem­o­ries. It is this mem­ory of a poetic home­land that the ho­tel at­tempts to cap­ture.

Pas­toral China is in­voked by the ma­te­ri­als and art­work adorn­ing the rooms and hall­ways. A nod to a bam­boo grove, scal­loped lines evoca­tive of wa­ter and thus sym­bol­iz­ing pros­per­ity, sculp­tures and sketches of China's fa­mous Taihu rock.

In the con­fer­ence rooms, light pools down from a hid­den sky­light, il­lu­mi­nat­ing two in­con­gru­ous al­abaster sculp­tures and a del­i­cate wil­low, re­flected on the floor. This un­ex­pected vi­sion of Suzhou’s West Lake con­tains a mes­sage of hope for a brighter fu­ture af­ter dif­fi­cul­ties.

It’s not all an­cient ref­er­ences though—although the spec­tac­u­lar views of tra­di­tional hu­tong court­yards and the For­bid­den City dom­i­nate, tow­er­ing sky­scrapers can be glimpsed from the ho­tel's win­dows. Mod­ern China is also high­lighted through the ad­di­tion of Chen Wen­ling’s “The Red Mem­ory,” shiv­er­ing play­fully at end of the pool and re­mind­ing guests of the sim­plic­ity and plea­sure of child­hood—a wel­come con­trast to the haunt­ing nos­tal­gia else­where in the ho­tel.

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