Design

Freshness In Perspective

By Adam D. Tihany

The Oberoi, New Delhi’s makeover is an inspiration of the contemporary interpretation of Sir Edward Lutyen’s Indian influence and traditional craftsmanship

Design is about perspectives. Not just in the sense of spatial relationships in angles and proportions, but also in human relationships to interior spaces. Every place tells a story; it is what captivates and connects the audience to their surroundings. Our job as designers is to uncover and bring that story to life.

In the case of Oberoi New Delhi, the story is ingrained in the history of the property; its DNA is made up of the many stories of its guests and visitors. As the flagship property and the first of the Oberoi hotels to be built from the ground up, there is a recognisable sentiment in New Delhi. It has a rare aura; locals are engaged and people are naturally very comfortable in the hotel. As we embarked on the redesign aimed at contemporising the hotel for the next generation of guests, one of our greatest challenges was to ensure that this energy and sense of belonging was not disrupted.

From the beginning, we worked very closely with the Oberoi family, studying the history of the property and immersing ourselves into the rich culture of the capital city. So much of the identity of a place is tied to its location in the world. As a destination, New Delhi is a feast for the senses. Deep-rooted heritage, captivating architecture and markets brimming with exotic colours, intoxicating spices and beautiful handmade goods - it is a source of endless inspiration. With every project, we go to great lengths to fully know the locale and how it authentically fits into the narrative we want to create.

Equally important to the story itself is how it is presented. Instead of flipping the design on its head, we changed the way people experience the hotel by redirecting the path of movement and shifting the order in which you discover each space. The result is an entirely reimagined experience of the hotel. We’re crafting the next chapter of the Oberoi New Delhi story from a new vantage point; a new perspective.

In its essence, design is the art of moving people through a space, positioning them at a point where you can start the narration. And where better to start than at the beginning? At the hotel entrance, we placed a beautiful, captivating metal screen where there was previously an open path to reception. It immediately creates pause before guiding guests first towards the double height marble passageway along the garden-facing windows of the lobby. This redirection is simple yet significant, transforming the passageway into the primary point of entry to the lobby and ground floor dining venues. By altering the perspective and drawing attention first to the grandeur under the classical arches, guests are welcomed into what feels like a totally new space. The screen is designed by Kaaru and is symbolic of both the predictability and the mystery of time. It is a tribute to the fundamental Oberoi philosophy that celebrates the joy of welcoming a guest, no matter the time of day or for how long - a powerful opening line to the Oberoi New Delhi story.

Marked by the 50th anniversary of the iconic hotel, the ‘Gold Anniversary Renovation’ is a vision of contemporary luxury meant to pave the way for the brand’s next 50 years of leadership in hospitality. Bright and engaging, the design marries simplicity in lines and interior architecture with intricate details showcasing the incredible craftsmanship of India. Our aim was to celebrate the iconic nature of the flagship property and its unique place in the world. We incorporated some of the design elements and furniture selection inspired from the work of renowned architect Edwin Lutyens, who designed and built some of the most significant public buildings in the city. While the foundation and character of the hotel remain unchanged, the reimagined interiors provide Oberoi guests and admirers with a fresh perspective of the beloved property. The Oberoi New Delhi story is authentic and lasting and one that will continue to hold a very special place in the heart of the community.

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