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Timeless Chinese Inspirations in Modern Beijing

August 17, 2016
Beijing is the powerful epicentre of China, and the redesign of The Peninsula Beijing integrates elements of the city’s distinguished art, architecture and artisanship to create a décor that reflects the timeless splendour and modern sophistication of China’s capital.

The context behind the rebirth of the hotel is informed by Beijing’s opulent imperial palaces and tranquil gardens, which provided a serene oasis for Chinese Emperors and nobility to meditate and relax. This respect for the rich imperial history of Beijing – and the symbolisms imbued in its finest palaces and mansions – redefines modern Chinese luxury for discerning guests.

“The core concepts behind the renovation are “Art of The Peninsula,” focused on the Chinese craftsmanship evident throughout the hotel, and “The Peninsula Art”,which is a museum-quality collection of Chinese artworks. This opportunity to present Chinese art and artisanship on the international scene enables a reflection of our values, our culture and our traditions from a Chinese perspective,” says Michael Suh, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Beijing (MoCA Beijing), who curated the specially commissioned Chinese paintings, sculptures and photography.

Inspired by the Great Wall of China and Summer Palace, the distinctive Chinese design materials include gold leaf, red zi tan wood, bronze, onyx, Chinese jade and marble. Used to embellish imperial Beijing palaces, the 160,000 hexagonal motifs reference the pattern on a turtle shell, as the turtle represents longevity in Chinese culture. The hotel building itself is crowned by a traditional gable and hip roof with a single eave covered by traditional Beijing colour-glazed tiles. This style of roof is a feature of the East and West Palaces of the Forbidden City.
Integrated throughout the hotel are original Chinese artworks that position The Peninsula Beijing at the centre of this dynamic global art capital. Embellishing The Lobby are two five-metre-high abstract paintings depicting the sun and moon by avant-garde Chinese painter Qin Feng. Twin bronze sculptures of tea drinkers by Zhang Du sit on either side of a sweeping marble staircase in The Lobby, evoking Beijing’s history as a heartland of Chinese tea culture and The Peninsula’s legendary Afternoon Tea tradition.

Chinese artistic expression extends into the restyled guestrooms, where an art wall of hand-embroidered floral blossoms complements abstract photographs of Beijing’s modern architectural masterpieces, including the CCTV Tower and Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium, by Chinese photographers Sun Min, Yang Min and Huang Yongjin.

Dining at fashionable new restaurant Jing also bestows thought-provoking artistic experiences. Unique pieces of contemporary Chinese design include two three-metre silk-embroidered circular screens and a wall of bronze ginkgo leaves overlaid onto porcelain tiles by Xu Qian Shao to evoke the natural beauty of Chinese landscapes. While Cantonese restaurant Huang Ting introduces new decorative embellishments, recreating the courtyards of Beijing’s traditional noble houses.