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Fire and earth

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When refurbishing a wing in Rotorua's Lake Plaza Hotel, Chow:Hill designers took their inspiration from the surrounding landscape

Fire and earth


With a one-night stay being the average for guests at many hotels, durability is a key consideration in any refurbishment. But this doesn't mean good design has to be compromised, as this fitout demonstrates.

When Chow:Hill was commissioned to re-design 51 rooms in one wing of the Lake Plaza Hotel in Rotorua the company took its cue from the thermal landscape.

Senior designer Kathryn Taylor says the choice of textured fabrics in earth and fire colours was a way to connect the interiors to the immediate surroundings.

"The hotel guests are mainly tourists and conference visitors, so it was important to provide a connection with the area," she says. "At the same time, however, the owners didn't want anything too touristy. The décor needed to be subtle rather than brash. It also had to be light and airy, very durable and easy to keep clean."

Taylor says the colours of the furnishings include warm taupe shades reminiscent of mud pools, and cream tones similar to the sulphur landscape surrounding the lakefront hotel.


"We have kept the walls off-white and introduced the colour through the furnishings," she says. "A textured chocolate-taupe Feltex carpet and bed coverings in contrasting neutral shades are offset by warm red fabric on the chairs. The red provides a subtle reference to both the volcanic origins of the city and its cultural heritage."

Taylor says striped cushions in a heavily textured fabric link all the colours and inject a playful element into the décor.

"Most of the guests in the hotel are on holiday, so we didn't want the interior to look too sombre or serious."

Taylor says most of the textiles are from Warwick Fabrics. The upholstered bed head features a Maxwell Rodgers fabric. Textiles were chosen for their durability, availability and ease of maintenance. The bedding and bed heads are from Uren Barsal.

For more details, contact Chow:Hill, PO Box 23-593, Papatoetoe, Auckland, phone (09) 277 8260, fax (09) 277 8261. .

First published date: 10 December 2004

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