Traveler, Travel, and Journey: Palais de Chine (LDC Hotels & Resorts), Lives up to its fame
Palais de Chine amazes visitors by providing them with an experience across cultures and time. When stepping into Palais de Chine, visitors will be fascinated by its profundity and insights. It truly is a hotel full of stories. The story begins with the life-size wooden sculpture of a gallant horse meticulously selected by the designer from Paris, measuring nearly two meters tall. Next is the overhead, large crystal lamp, surrounded by lush, reddish purple velvet curtains like those found in a European theater.
“History is the wisdom of culture, whereas art is its spirit,” said Nelson Chang, the CEO of LDC Hotels & Resorts, “To have an in-depth understanding of a culture, one must have a preliminary understanding of its history and art.” The focus of the entire design of Palais de Chine is on the continuous integration of the fine arts of oriental artists with the western classic aesthetics. This incessant juxtaposition of decorations with cultural connotation across cultures and time, highlights the two different cultures and theirs values, which in turn stimulates new thoughts and development.
Under this premise, the first floor of Palais de Chine exhibits two visual focuses on its left and right sides: a wooden sculpture of a gallant horse and a giant bookcase; one symbolizing the start of a journey and other conveying the idea of future travelers. It is hoped that through this display and design, customers staying here can experience the passion of the European “Ages of Discovery and Exploration.”
By mounting the horse, travelers begin their adventure
Approximately 6,000-7,000 years ago, human beings began the domestication of the horse in the Eurasian Steppes. As the earliest form of transport, horses enabled people to go traveling, and indirectly contributed to the development of the hotel industry. The wooden sculpture of a gallant horse exactly captures Palais de Chine’s nostalgic mission. As for the visual presentation, installed a lush curtain backdrop, and then surrounded it in front with leather chairs, and then rounded it off with oak window lattices, creating the spatial effect of a race track. The keynotes of the hotel are the European style crystal lamps and copper ceiling.
Turning around, you’re presented with a whole new style. The oversized bookcase built into the wall, decorated with candleholders, over-sized hardcover books, a globe, as well as blue and white porcelain create the magnificent vignette of a stage setting. The bold-faced, yet brief Latin inscription “Plus Ultra” on the front of the bookcase profoundly echoes the mood of travelers, and the future of travel. The Latin phrase Plus Ultra originates from Roman mythology. Hercules, famous for his strength, had to complete twelve missions to fulfill his destiny. One task was to catch an ox near the Strait of Gibraltar. At that time, the Strait of Gibraltar was the westernmost point in the known World. According to the legend, a stone column beside the strait was engraved with the words “Non Plus Ultra” which meant “Nothing Further Beyond,” suggesting that it was the end of the world.
In the 16th century, during the age of Holy Roman Empire, the territory of the Spanish king, Charles V, was expanded to the “New World” of North and the South America. He changed the inscription to “Plus Ultra” to encourage himself to be brave and adventurous, to surmount the end of the world, as well as to continue exploring the new world. The power and prosperity of Spain at that time were indeed beyond compare. This theme-wall at the Palais de Chine uses two Spanish style candleholders to represent the unique lineage of Charles V and two globes to symbolize his adventurous ambition for travelers. The Over-sized hardcover tomes and bookcase express his generosity and disposition. As for China, which Charles V desired to visit, the blue and white porcelains in the bookcase are used to imply his ambition.
From the horse to Charles V, this design unveils the start and the future of travelers. In addition to constantly surpassing the limits, travelers shall also continually discover the profound world hidden in the journey.
Seeking external development and internal tranquility
The unicorn shown in the wall-paintings throughout the hotel represents strength, altruism, and elegance. Plus, the unicorn’s warm and mysterious image as a dream maker conveys the unique charm of Palais de Chine. This kind of cultural baptism can be found everywhere in Palais de Chine.
If the first floor demonstrates the travelers’ passion for exploration, the hall of “Brightness” on the fifth floor symbolizes western thoughts and beliefs and the “Age of Enlightenment” integrated with the internal tranquility of eastern philosophy.
As Taipei’s first French neoclassical dining environment, the design of Brightness is build around woodsy colors, complimented with sheets of copper to create a feeling of subtle elegance. The hotel positions itself as a dedicated venue for holding parties, meetings, and symposiums. The concept behind the name “Brightness” is based on the French “Age of Enlightenment”, and corresponds to the hotel’s functionality and French spirit. The “Age of Enlightenment” was an era of relentless new thinking, starting from the beginning of the 18th century and lasting to the Great French Revolution. The French name “Siècle de Lumières” refers to an “era of brightness.” Therefore, the name “Brightness,” represents the expectation of visitors wanting to participate in the activities held here, and its endless creativity and ideas.
As for the special aspects, the designer created the Brightness to pay homage to “Opera-de-Paris.” In architectural history, Opera-de-Paris plays an important role as a “collection of classical aesthetics.” Both the concept and materials in the design of “Brightness” exhibit a strong French aristocratic style. At the entrance to Brightness is a calligraphy inscription written by the late former chairman of Straits Exchange Foundation, Mr. Chen-fu Koo. The calligraphy reads, “Tolerating everything in the world generously, discussing the World affairs dispassionately, investigating the principles in the world humbly, and dealing with the contingencies in the world attentively”. This philosophy of life exactly corresponds to the cultural spirit of “Age of Enlightenment.”
As the first gateway to the city, what a hotel offers should more than just a comfortable space and environment. The history, cultural connotations and background presented by the Palais de Chine undoubtedly present a new standard for five-star hotels.