On the outskirts of Beijing, in the historic Huangmuchang Village, a new boutique hotel is poised to turn a residential neighbourhood into a tourist hub. Dubbed the Sleeping Lab, the project marks the Sleep Institute’s first bed-and-breakfast concept, located just 20 minutes from Beijing Universal Studios. The Sleep Institute commissioned Shanghai firm Atelier d’More to renovate the former live-work space into a six-room garden retreat.
Sleeping Lab is a more contemporary take on the community’s traditional gated homes. The two-story brick and concrete structure has been revived with a stark white façade. Playing on the geometry of the quarter arc, the building takes on an abstract sculptural form, complemented by its large curved windows.
Guests enter the hotel through a rectangular courtyard, enclosed by a massive wall with square mesh apertures that offer a peek inside the introspective space. The 100-square-metre outdoor space is subdivided into semi-enclosed areas using curved concrete partitions with circular cut-outs. As the building was only completed this past winter, small saplings will be planted in each of these spaces in the spring to create a calming private garden.
Along one side of the courtyard, a curved concrete bench and wooden tables offer a seating area for quiet contemplation. The vignette also teases the interior’s material palette: bright white, raw concrete and warm wood (a trio also used in many of Atelier d’More’s other projects).
The architects envisioned the hotel as an inward-facing oasis. Past the entrance vestibule, guests can check in at a concrete reception desk. Opposite the reception area, an intimate light-filled tearoom outfitted with two round mats and a wooden table overlooks the private courtyard.
A long concrete banquette leads from the reception area into the communal dining and kitchen zone. Wood cabinets and furnishings add a touch of warmth to the otherwise stark space. From the architectural features to the wooden stools at the dining table, curved forms throughout nod to the hotel’s façade.
An arched opening frames the wooden staircase that leads up to the second-floor guestrooms. Like the rest of the hotel, the bedrooms embrace a minimal palette of wood and white walls. To keep costs down, Atelier d’More designed all the furnishings. The firm approached the fabrication process like building a toy or puzzle, allowing most of the décor to be easily assembled on-site using pre-fab components.
In its quiet simplicity, Sleeping Lab offers refuge from the chaos and noise of city life in Beijing. Yet with its striking sculptural design, the hotel has transformed a sleepy residential district into a must-stay destination.
Facing a contemplative courtyard, the sculptural building designed by Shanghai firm Atelier d’More offers a serene escape from the city.