Flesh of Form: Reimagining a Boutique Hotel as a Mortal Interior

Budden, Sarah
Carley, Rachel
Douglas, Carl
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Master of Design
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Auckland University of Technology

Between the routine of everyday life and the dislocation of travel, the hotel space sits on a threshold “out-of-time” or “out-of-place.” It is not uncommon for hotel interiors to be stripped out and replaced every decade to keep up with their competition. While recognising current efforts towards sustainability in the hotel industry, I suggest a more profound transformation might come from an imaginative engagement that embodies experiences of time.

This creative practice research project investigates the mortality, or the temporary nature, of our built environments and interior surfaces to understand how designing within a historical fabric grounds the spatial experience of time and place. By rethinking the temporal narratives of the hotel interior, we could reduce the need for them to be rebuilt so frequently and instead create a meaningful experience for hotel visitors.

The term mortal interior has come to define a practice-led methodology that likens the material temporality of the hotel interior to that of our own bodies. Conceptual methods of revealing the historical fabric of the host building, dressing an interior skin and wearing a material flesh are employed to challenge how a boutique hotel interior can respond to the historic fabric of an existing building and contextualise the ephemeral hotel space.

As a case study in the mortal interior, this research proposes the conversion of “The Windsor Castle,” a currently vacant heritage building dating from the 1850s in Parnell, Auckland, for a new boutique hotel.

Interior design; Hotel, mortality; Mortal interior; Temporality; Material flesh
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