Excerpt: Samatha Resort, designed by UNFOLDESIGN, is located in the tea fields belonging to Yuquan Temple, China which was once composed by the poet Li Bai. The design provides a special space for visitors through the regional culture and integrates modern design language at the same time.
[Text as submitted by architect] On Yuquan Mountain, a famous mountain about 12 kilometres southwest of Dangyang in Hubei Province, China, lies the time-honored Yuquan Temple. As one of the Tiantai Sect, the first Buddhist sect in China, Yuquan Temple was closely related to the royal family of all dynasties, especially in the Song Dynasty. SAMATHA Resort designed by UNFOLDESIGN is located in the tea fields belonging to Yuquan Temple, which was once composed by the poet Li Bai.
Time changes, and Yuquan Temple’s beautiful scenery, today attracts city residents to visit here. Therefore, SAMATHA Resort would like to provide a special space for guests through the regional culture and integrating modern design language at the same time, so that guests can touch the beautiful feelings in the process of experience and exploration.
The hotel has 10 buildings, including the lobby, tea house, multi-function hall, dining restaurant, and guest rooms. At the entrance to the lobby, there are three different sets of landscape installations presenting the natural landscapes abstractly, and reflecting the three realms of Zen. Guests are attracted by the interesting installations and stay, thus triggering the inner imagination, and back to simplicity. These natural elements blur the boundary between inside and outside, so when people come in, their breathing slows down.
The reception desk on the left side of the lobby is different from the normal one. The design team uses natural stone to design it into the form of a bar, which combines the primitive and modern and integrates more service functions. Through the bamboo curtains opposite the bar, guests can enjoy a view and get a natural relaxation. In the display area on the right, cabinets of different sizes are customized, which will be used as a display of Song cultural books and creative products after the official opening. The multi-function hall located on the ground floor of the lobby also is simplified into a modern shape with the traditional taste, reflecting the blended design way.
Across the lobby, the all-day dining restaurant on one side takes a lighter approach, with bricks in two colours covering the wall, creating a vibrant atmosphere with contrasting styles. Inadvertently looking up, the mountains and gurgling stream make people suddenly enlightened. In addition, the team specially set up two independent tea rooms with green tea field views for guests to gather or sit quietly. Sitting in it is just like in the picture scroll of the scenery.
Another highlight is the glass teahouse, which locates on the hillside with a pool of clear water, giving it a fantastic view. Like a pure glass box, the transparent design lets people immerse in it, taking care of their hearts. The top of the teahouse is decorated with a wood frame and Chinese art paper. On the one hand, it can reduce the intensity of light during the day, and on the other hand, it also covers a layer of soft halo for the arrival of the night.
There are 8 types of guestrooms in this resort. UNFOLDESIGN takes inspiration from the Song Dynasty tea-drinking artefacts, known as the ‘Mr 12’, collects the colours, and textures, and applies them in the material selection, colour matching, lighting, and landscape shaping. Granite, stone, wood floor, and straw paint coupled with a large area of clay scene, make the whole space more calm. At the same time, each guestroom has a landscape view, such as a small courtyard or water terrace, to express the Song Dynasty literati artistic conception and interest.
In the design process, UNFOLDESIGN hopes to put aside the consideration of exquisite style and avoid letting the guests search for scenery in the space, but try to convey the tea fields and landscapes into the interior and their eyes, so that people can live in nature. Yuquan Temple has stood for a thousand years. Now, the completion of SAMATHA resort provides better viewing and experience opportunities for people who enjoy there.