In making Bisha Hotel, Studio Munge first imagined the guest, and then designed the suite.
In the home, bathrooms can be tailored to a user’s lifestyle or personal tastes. But how does the designer of a hotel accommodate the diverse people, personalities and comfort levels at play in a widely used space? That’s what Alessandro Munge, founder and principal of Toronto-based Studio Munge, contended with while contemplating the interiors for Bisha Hotel & Residences, a luxury development that opened last September in his home city’s downtown core.
“Guests have very high expectations for the bathroom; it should always be an upgrade from their own home,” he notes. A residential bathroom, in other words, is very much connected to daily routine and should be highly functional. But with a bathroom for an upscale hotel, says Munge, “I can be much more conceptual and expressive with materiality. Although the room must stand the test of time, from a trends and operations perspective I can push boundaries and be more playful.”
But before that creative liberty is explored, a character must be developed. Divining who the guest will be is a skill Studio Munge has honed through 17 completed and current hotel projects for such brands as Rosewood, Shangri-La and Nobu. For Bisha, a development where every square inch oozes rock-star glamour, Munge evolved a focused guest profile: “a well-travelled culture-seeker with effortless style and quiet confidence.” Someone who Munge dubbed “The Discerning Vanguard.”
The idea of this globe-trotting sophisticate is expressed throughout the hotel; the suite bathroom, for example, draws on a lavish palette of brushed nickel, polished black chrome and Nero Marquina marble, a black stone with “brilliant and expressive” white veining. Custom vanities with fluted wood fronts in a high-gloss midnight blue complement the gleaming metal and stone. The end result has all the allure (and romance) guests expect from a luxury hotel. Even Toronto’s own discerning vanguard is checking in.