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The Flaming Beacon lights The Puxuan Hotel and Spa, Beijing

The core philosophy behind The Flaming Beacon’s lighting design at the PuXuan hotel is to create a series of lit environments that are simultaneously comfortable and stimulating for the hotel guests.

This is achieved through the dramatic interplay of light and shade at an architectural scale and balanced with subtle variations in warmth and contrast at the human scale to create an overall atmosphere that still provides guest with a strong residential feeling.

Like other URC projects, the PuXuan has a deep connection to place, and the inspiration for the lighting design comes from an exploration of various aspects of this connection, such as the restrained masculinity of northern China architecture, the classical elegance and sophistication of art and craft during the Ming dynasty, and the mystery and delight that derives from royal siheyuan homes.

In keeping with the idea of the hotel being designed as a series of internal courtyards, revealed almost accidentally, and understood from various vantage points, the lighting designers worked closely with the interior designer to build up scenes through the use of reflecting materials (glass and mirrors) and layering elements (filters, screens etc) to present the observant guest with glimpses of and into spaces they may have previously occupied, but now are revealed from a new perspective. In this way the hotel feels like it always has more spaces to explore.

The Flaming Beacon designed all decorative lights specifically for the PuXuan. In the creation of these bespoke light fixtures, heavy unadorned masculine materials such as stone and metals are juxtaposed against delicate materials such as layered translucent silk shades, and the arrangements of fine textures and meshes. Many of these custom lights can be understood differently depending on the guest’s proximity to the light.

Scale and materiality of these bespoke lights was created in close collaboration with the Interior designer, MQ studio, and the symbiotic relationship between the interiors and the lighting is not coincidental.

Throughout the hotel, The Flaming Beacon have designed lit elements at various scales to engage and delight the curious guest, such as oversized lift indicator lights that appear unexpectedly from within the architecture, or the playful nod to local culture in the lift lobby ceiling, or the play of shadows that animate the guest room dining pendant.

The guest rooms themselves are created as a private sanctuary from the city, intended to make the guest feel like they are occupying space inside a giant lantern, sitting as the glowing interface between the bathroom and bedroom as the warm heart of the room. This is balanced by bespoke lights that have been designed to sit seamlessly alongside the exquisite furniture, inspired by their subtle curves and simplicity of form.

The UR Spa is yet another surprising space and has been designed unlike most luxury hotel spas, instead, as a high performance space, taking its inspiration from the construction and beauty synonymous with high performance machines. The UR Spa has turned the typical luxury Spa on its head and the lighting is firmly focussed on expressing this minimal bold approach. Bespoke lighting in this space take on a distinctly machined feel in keeping with the style of the Spa.

In the ground floor lobby foyer and covering the entire ceiling, The Flaming Beacon director Andrew Jaques along with Associate Fu Chun Hsu, created a video installation that connects the hotel to the daily life of locals within the Hutongs. The deliberate absence of colour and resolution invites the curious visitor to reconnect to this strangely familiar scene that was shot only a few hundred meters from the Hotel.

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Intermediate Lighting Designer @ The Flaming Beacon, Melbourne

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