GAIA Cosmo Hotel is a 3-star business hotel targeted for MICE ( Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) as well as young millennial holiday-makers. It is the first property of a new Singapore-based hotel management company called GAIA Hotels and Resorts Pte Ltd.
The success of the project has enabled the hotel to go beyond its initial targets and achieve 4-star rating. It has maintained Top 20 ranking on TripAdvisor out of over 400 other hotels in Yogyakarta.
1. In-house Interior Architect
I worked on interior designs of lobby, restaurant, cafe and guestrooms - incorporating guest experience in the design.
2. Graphic Designer
I worked on early graphic design for Instagram posts and other brand collateral.
3. Lead an Art Campaign
I worked with a third-party art management company, gave art direction for the 5 young artists we worked with, in-charge of the opening events.
As in-house interior architect, I was tasked to translate the brand vision of the management team into the interiors of the hotel. Despite having a brand document produced by a third party brand company, I was allowed the freedom to reinterpret the document however I see fit.
Through my research and analysis of other competitor hotels, I was able to delve deeper into what the guest experience should be rather than just focusing on interior design themes that would match the branding. Rather than buzz-words such as minimalists, modern, industrial or the likes, the discussion began to revolve around what guests would see, smell, touch, hear and feel in each space from the moment they arrive to when they check-out.
To match the brand vision of a hotel for well-travelled individuals (25-45 years old age group), the design concept is informed by local cultures and traditions. These are abstracted through a modern lens, to create a distinctly local yet contemporary design - embracing and respecting the past while keeping trend with the present.
The design breaks away from the conventional hotel lobby design by shifting the focus away from the check-in counter (typical of many hotels) to a coffee bar and communal table.
This is deliberately done so that customers are greeted by a more relaxed cafe vibe rather than a strict and to-a-certain-extent awkward experience being stared at by Receptionists as they enter and leave the premises.
The layout also encourages freedom of movement with different seating arrangements allowing for a host of activities to take place and creating a vibrant vibe in the lobby.
Achieving the vibrant vibe in the lobby also meant that the restaurant and cafe can become too overwhelmed with crowd - affecting the dining experience in a negative way. To address this, the design incorporates the use of wiremesh screens. These were inspired from the process of “Batik” making where traditionally, dark ink is used first before lighter coloured ink is layered on top. Hence, creating a gradient visual effect.
Another decorative element was the use of linear-patterned black metal paneling. These were inspired by the rhythm of “Gamelan” - the ensemble music of the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese peoples of Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. Occupying a wall of up to six meters in height, this feature creates a dominant presence invoking intrigue and at the same time, emphasising the grand volume of the space.
Adding a further layer of customisation, the dining chairs (pictured above) were also specifically designed to fit with the scheme.
The most striking feature of the room is the ceiling design. It was inspired by the structure of the “Joglo” (traditional slanted roofs in Yogyakarta) abstracted in a contemporary twist through the use of black metal edgings. Additionally, it hides the oversized structural beams that cut across irregular sections of the room.
Another feature to the design is the placement of the vanity out of the bathroom context and blurring the divide between bathroom and room. This made the room feel bigger than its 27sqm size. Being at the front of the room, the vanity is a prominent feature as guests enter the room. As a result, the design and form of the vanity makes it feel more like an entryway console.
Materials such as rattan and timber adds warmth to the space while black and gold (the colour of Yogyakarta) metals act as accents creating a nice contrast while giving a touch of luxe to an otherwise unassuming design.
The sofa bed, pictured below, is a custom design. Through the combination of materials used, it pays homage to the Yogyakarta's art and craft roots while enhancing an artisanal touch to the overall feel of the space.
Working with our internal team of graphic designers, I created a series of graphic templates that the local marketing team can use when posting on Instagram - the main form of digital marketing we chose at that early stage.
I also created branding collateral such as tote bag design and monthly compendium. These helped in re-enforcing the Hotel's lifestyle brand.
HearArt is an art campaign that engages the hotel with Yogyakarta’s local community by creating a platform for young local artists to showcase their talents to the hotel’s diverse clientele.
The campaign generated positive engagement on our Instagram through our posts as well as other media partners. In addition we also created press releases for traditional media such as the local newspaper, radio, etc. The opening night was attended by around 200 people, mostly involved in the art scene and key local community - including the Governor of Yogyakarta. The follow-up event, Art Discussion, was attended by around 100 students who left inspired by the art and craft scene in Yogyakarta.
As lead of the campaign, I was in-charge of liaising with the Art Management company who were able to identify the artists to work with. I handled contract negotiations as well as planning and scheduling of the campaign that constitutes 3 events - Opening Ceremony, Workshop Day and Art Discussion. I was also in-charge of briefing our internal team for the graphic design of the campaign deliverables.