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Bridging Nature and Structure | Empyrean Hotel

Text by KN Deya

Often in the quest for erecting a lavish structure, it gets severed from its surroundings completely. Ideally, the structure should add to the beauty of the landscape, not distract from it. Empyrean hotel’s story speaks of one such success, where the building doesn’t only beautify, but merge with the encircling nature. Neither oozing with extravagance nor falling short, Empyrean hotel is a picturesque treat smack dab in the middle of the bustling capital. 

Asif Hossain Jabed and Shabnam Farzana Amin, successful entrepreneurs, construction and real estate businessman, respectively, leased the building that houses Empyrean Hotel from the Bangladesh Air Force Welfare Trust in the long term. The seven-storey, 4200 square feet per floor structure was then handed over to the architect for a magical transformation. 

Architect ASM Kamrul Islam Shatil was the man behind this work. He is a part of  , which houses architects and engineers. Aside from providing consultancy solutions on buildings, interiors, and construction, they also have a real estate wing.

Shatil started working on the Empyrean Hotel in 2019. He gave it a proper facade treatment and went forward to provide the functions that the clients asked for.  Work paused for a while during the pandemic but resumed shortly and the hotel interior and exterior were completed by February 2021. Aside from the hotel, the building also houses a super-shop, pharmacy, coffee shop and multipurpose convention hall. 

“The challenge was to accommodate more functions within less space”,

Architect Shatil said while explaining the design process. “The clients had quite a few requirements, and he had to think about ways to incorporate them into the whole decor.” While the architect had to make sure the structure would hold up against the weather, he also made sure it wouldn’t look out of place with the surroundings. 

“Everyone appreciates the feeling of a tie with nature”, Architect Shatil said. “Building on that, we wanted to make sure the inside of the hotel did not feel like an enclosed space, but a part of nature outside.” The architect actively sought to merge nature with the decor across the project while also abiding with the many layers of functional requirements, and the result speaks for itself. 

All the rooms, lounge, rooftop restaurant, coffee shop, and every other space is made in concert with the nature around. This boutique hotel is a dream come true for those looking for an urban luxury space that isn’t cut off from its natural landscape. 

“Success depends on how you ground a building”, the architect went on to explain. His choice of tool to do so was to bring various local elements into the hotel’s design. While he made sure every room was airy, he also incorporated enough structure to ground it adequately.

Even before any beautification started, the hotel already boasted an enviable location.

From the upper floors, you get a stunning view of a slice of the runway, a wide road, a residential block, and the mesmerising city skyline. 

‘We used a simplistic elevation technique to make sure none of the elements dominated the decor, that it was tastefully balanced.’

Having already spoken about working with limited space, Architect Shatil explained that a white-dominated, minimalistic approach was taken for the ambience of this hotel. He aimed to make the space look larger and improve its quality. 

Speaking about the lounge, he explained that while the ceiling was kept white and the walls airy with the inclusion of glass, the floor tiles and furniture were kept dark to provide contrast and a grounding effect. 

Similarly, the hotel room interior was also kept light and airy, with wooden textured floor and natural light wooden and fabric furniture, and large windows. Most of the decor and construction constituents were locally sourced, the architect emphasized. 

The main attraction of the hotel includes the 29 suits of various types, the dining hall, coffee corner, beauty salon, gym etc. However, the architect mentioned the rooftop to be his most favourite part. 

Shatil said he took the concept of a rural courtyard or ‘Uthan’ and gave it an elegant spin to come up with the rooftop restaurant’s concept. 

The rooftop restaurant is divided into two portions. While one is for day-dining, the other is especially designed for evening dining. It is made in such a way that the beauty flourishes the best only after dusk falls. Architect Shatil incorporated quite a few basics of rural life in this portion of the hotel. 

The dining portion of the rooftop is partially shaded with a bamboo shed, which is inspired by Bangladeshi rural homes. When the morning sunshine slips through the bamboo patterns, the effect is amazing to behold, Shatil insisted.  

Moreover, there is also an earthen wall that would remind the visitor of a rural courtyard with its unique texture. Terra cotta tiles were also used here. Outdoor-appropriate furniture dominates the space, but some wooden ones are also seen, adding to the warmth. 

“I made a green screen to separate this section from the sights and sounds of the busy road next to the hotel,” Shatil said. This green screen also helps to merge the rooftop with the trees outside. 

All across the Empyrean hotel, a refreshing blending of nature and structure becomes evident. In many places, the original greenery is left undisturbed, and the lack of extravagance makes the experience even more sophisticated. 

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