The very first warehouse converted hotel in Hong Kong, Ovolo Southside defines how a space can be creatively used to fabricate an artsy mix of a business plus leisure hotel
Ovolo Southside, set in one of the old industrial areas of Hong Kong, opened its doors in the summer of 2014. Designed by architectural firm K+K in Hong Kong, the local and international artists transformed the space into an interactive design channelling Hong Kong’s receding historic architecture in a bold, modern way. The hotel features 162 open plan guest rooms, a fully equipped 24-hour gym, a spacious lounge area, rooftop restaurant and creative spaces, making it a hit among the design-tech savvy traveller.
The former multi-use industrial building has been designed in a way that it retains the authentic Hong Kong experience by adding a modern twist of art. While the rooms are well equipped with amenities demanded by the new age traveller, open spaces have their own charm. The idea behind designing the common areas was to be highly inviting as well as utilitarian. Over time it is seen that guests love to use the area to work and mingle throughout the day, as it is providing a space that is more than just a hotel’s typical lounge, bar or restaurant but very multipurpose in use.
Maintaining the property’s original structure, each room is different in size and shape. The see-through division along with the placement of furniture gives it a spacious outlook while the tall windows let one enjoy the view. The overhead maze of chunky bare steel water pipes and foil clad air conditioned pipes across the exposed ceilings give it a raw yet sophisticated look. The colour combinations in the rooms as well as the corridors are rustic retaining the warehouse vibe of the building. The restaurant, rooftop bar and lounge area has been strategically designed to enjoy the best of views of Hong Kong’s skyline. One can enjoy the views along with beautiful weather on a pleasant day in the outdoor seating or simply indulge in work while in the lounge area with urban views.
Apart from the common areas and the rooms, Ovolo’s social spaces can easily facilitate meetings and events. The BIG room is inspired by the Mao style meeting room and can be used for business meetings. For larger gatherings, the former garage of the warehouse at the lowest level has been converted into an expansive room which can host upto 375 guests. The hotel has catered many events such as private parties, gallery events, fashion shows, products launch in the area. A full-height 18-metre projection wall and state-of-the-art sound system completes the room, setting the scene for high impact, awe-inspiring events.
Ovolo has enlisted an anthology of artists to create a revolutionary arts hub within the hotel. Hong Kong-based collective Parent’s Parents were among the first artists to leave their mark. Viewing Ovolo and the greater Southside district as barometers of Hong Kong’s industrial revolution, their graffiti along the hotel’s corridors – juxtaposing pop art-inspired messages of positivity and graphic motifs – is a symbol of urban renewal, encapsulating the industrial transition of Hong Kong with stencilled messages that also smartly play on daily routines. Likewise, Los Angeles’ duo Cyrcle’s series of larger-than-life murals across the hotel’s rooftop and interiors are breath-taking depictions of the narratives of the tireless workers who drove Hong Kong’s industrial activity and later, its revolution. Each piece, from the rooftop mural to the intricate lift graphics, defines the space they are in. The works of other artists are also displayed throughout the hotel, including installations designed to be projected across a specially-designed 18-metre video wall which solely illuminates the ground floor gallery.
The interactive space and well thought design landed Ovolo Southside as a member of the elite collection of Design Hotels. Commenting on the inclusion of Ovolo, Claus Sendlinger, founder of Design Hotels, said, “As Hong Kong’s first full-scale warehouse conversion hotel, we see a property that is pushing boundaries – in design and also in location – heralding a new movement in hospitality. By choosing Wong Chuk Hang as the location of the property, Ovolo Southside has undoubtedly become intrinsic to the development and rebranding of this once industrial neighbourhood, into a destination for art, culture and fashion.”
The positive reviews for Ovolo on websites like TripAdvisor showcase that it has been a favourite among its guests. As one of the first warehouse converted hotel in Hong Kong, in addition to being in a very untraditional location for hotels in Hong Kong (Wong Chuk Hang), Ovolo Southside has been a major source of differentiation in the market.