Title Image

The Emperor

Project type: Hotel


Location: Beijing, China


Time: 2008


Client: Da Cheng You Fang Hotel Management Co., Ltd.


Status: Completed


Size: 4,800 sqm


Photos: Hong Chao Wai, L2 studio

The Emperor Hotel

In the historic center of Beijing, the Emperor Hotel is located along the tree-lined alley on the eastern side of the Forbidden City, adjacent to the majestic Ning He Temple from the Qing Dynasty. The interior of the existing building was stripped to its bare concrete, creating a clean slate for the design of the hotel’s 60 rooms, restaurant, lounge, spa, and gym facilities and spectacular roof terrace.


GRAFT’s design envisions the volume of the existing building as a solid white mass from which rooms and hallways are carved. After the first ‘rough cut’ hollowing out the main spaces, an additional layer of carving introduces a colorful language of striations which impacts the entire building, moving from lobby through corridors to the individual suites.


Inside guest suites, striations wrap horizontally along the walls, becoming sofas and finally the bed. A seductive narrative of concealment and revelation plays out on partially frosted glass, creating a tenuous line which traces a veil of privacy along the contours of the Forbidden City’s roofline.


Curtains in the restaurant area continue this theme and each display a single stroke of the Chinese character for ‘Eat’, composing the complete character when viewed from a specific angle.


On the opposite end of the hotel, a roof terrace with an elevated hot tub offers an unparalleled view of the Beijing skyline with the golden rooftops of the Forbidden City in the foreground.