In July 2005, a new hotel was added to Madrid’s hotel inventory. The Puerta America wasn’t just another hotel opening in the Spanish capital, it was ‘The’ hotel, a luxury concept. The Puerta America is very unique in the fact that it was a co-design between 19 of the today’s biggest internationally acclaimed names in the field of Architecture and Interior Design from 13 different countries, showcasing their magic in a very harmonious piece of design. With a price tag rising up to around $100 million there were really no obstacles to their imagination. They approached a minimalist high tech architectural path. Upon these names are:
Zaha Hadid, The ﬁrst woman to win a Pritzker Prize (termed ‘the Nobel of architecture’) has designed the first floor, a space that stands out for its fluidity and interplay of daring lines. The rooms almost seem to be liquid rather than space, where the choice of innovative materials is yet another outstanding feature.
Norman Foster has created a serene environment on the second floor which harbors the guest from the hustle-bustle outside. Leather is the pre-eminent material through which different acoustic and tactile sensations are sought.
David Chipperfield, on the third floor, proposes a simple yet luxurious space where he combines handcrafted finishes, upholstered panels and white marble. Chipperfield creates a sensation of depth and surprise by paying painstaking attention to colors and lighting both in the lobby and hallways and in the rooms.
Plasma Studio (Eva Castro and Holger Kehne): is a young studio that is striving to “change the stereotype of a hotel as an anodyne space” through a highly geometrical design for the fourth floor. This is a space that could well come straight out of science fiction.
Victorio & Lucchino have transformed the fifth floor into a very cozy space inspired by their work in the field of fashion. The design team from Seville, Spain uses different types of fabrics, such as linen, and decorates the walls of the rooms with different motifs until achieving a truly welcoming, warm space where the guest feels virtually embraced by the fabrics and colors.
Marc Newson has created two extremely modern, relaxing and sophisticated spaces on the sixth floor and the bar, featuring an interplay of just a few materials. The hallway of the sixth floor is totally of red lacquered wood, resembling a mirror. In the bar, he creates spaciousness in a work boasting a marble bar, a single piece weighing more than six tones and measuring 8.25 meters long and 400 strips of laser-cut aluminum.
Ron Arad has organized the space on the seventh floor in a highly provocative, imaginative way, which shows a glimpse into how future hotels could be. He opted to “use the floor space, rather than the walls” to create an internal pathway that gradually reveals each of the spaces within the rooms.
Kathryn Findlay has designed the eighth floor. Her intention was to re-create a meditative space where guests can dream, or as she claims, listen to the wind. The architect barely separates the spaces using white curtains in order to achieve a highly feminine space. On this floor, Jason Bruges, an interactive designer, has worked in conjunction with Findlay to create light installations for the lobby and hallway that react to guests’ movements.
Richard Gluckman was commissioned to design the ninth floor, where he used materials such as methacrylate in unexpected and surprising ways. His concept is that of ‘a box within a box’. In this way, the space stands out for its orderliness and feeling of lightness and neatness.
Arata Isozaki provides guests with a subtle, relaxing interior design on the tenth floor, with a clear Japanese influence. The bathroom harks back to typically Japanese traditions, with the wooden bathtub and shower placed together. Also noteworthy is the shoji, a panel reminiscent of this Far Eastern country’s traditional homes.
Javier Mariscal and Fernando Salas were determined to provoke different sensations with their graphic design for the eleventh floor. They used a broad palette of colors, especially in the rooms’ floors and walls, in an attempt to convey liveliness and imagination.
John Pawson was commissioned to design the lobby and meeting rooms. He has attempted to create “a space to encounter peace and quiet in the heart of the hotel”. He achieves this through the use of wood and a design that harbors the reception area in a semi-circle, thus sheltering the guests from the constant motion passing through the area.
Christian Liaigre combines different aspects of Spanish culture in the restaurant, with a leather and wood interior that provides a home for high quality cuisine, made from premium ingredients that have been meticulously combined.
Teresa Sapey designed the underground car park using a fascinating play of color and line which “appeals to a person’s emotional side, yet which is at heart functional”. In this way, each floor presents an inter-play of colors, most notably warm tones in the first underground level.
Harriet Bourne and Jonathan Bell from B+B UK handled the landscape design in the outside garden. The vegetation is designed to reflect the changing season while complimenting the building it surrounds. Indeed, in their opinion, “the integration between vegetation and buildings is fundamental”
Arnold Chan, from Isometrix Lighting and Design, was commissioned to design and co-ordinate the building’s lighting scheme, adapted to and supporting the designs of each architect Felipe Sáez de Gordoa (SGA Estudio) developed the design for the structure. With extensive previous hotel build experience, he laid the foundations for the space upon which the other architects and designers have worked.
Oscar Neimeyer. One of the greatest architects in history, Brazilian Neimeyer has exclusively designed a sculpture to be placed in the adjacent park. It takes the form of a sickle-shaped work which harks back to the poetic shapes of his best buildings.
Jean Nouvel, The French architect was commissioned to design the façade, the penthouse and the twelfth floor, which boasts twelve suites. In the latter space he blends photography (lining the walls with images of women and flowers) and architecture to achieve a highly provocative space ideal for “experiencing exceptional moments.
The hotel rises 179ft (54.69m) (14-storeys), an area of 34,000m² and has a total of 342 bedrooms (308 premium rooms, 22 junior suites and 12 suites on the top floor). The construction process of the hotel required a staff of 650 personnel.
The Puerta America was used a part of promotion to Madrid’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games. Although that has been decided on already. At the end of the day, Madrid, Spain has an iconic one of a kind super five stars hotel.
The Puerta America Hotel home page.
[Sources: New Click, Silken Hotels - Photography: Rafael Vargas]