Imagine yourself looking out from inside a giant amethyst cathedral geode. Admit it. The very idea of nesting in a crystal cave stirs something primal deep in your bones. And yet, it evokes something ethereal in your psyche to be bathed in purple light as it streams in through the crystal. And it is a declared intention that the "healing powers" associated with the gem in many cultures will be bestowed on visitors. Quite the respite!
The word amethyst has its origins in Greek and means "sober or not intoxicated". But the amethyst has cultural significance in many realms. It is the birthstone for February and the gemstone to give in honor of a sixth wedding anniversary. In the concept of feng shui decorating, amethyst is said to attract good fortune. In the metaphysical sense, it is believed to purify a space of negativity and encourage a meditative mindset. NL Architects' proposal for the first structure in an anticipated chain of hotels will be situated in Hainan, China on a man-made island, the Ocean Flower, currently under construction in the South China Sea.
A bridge provides access from the mainland to a park-like landscape at the entrance to the enormous half-dome. The structure maintains the geode appearance in all regards. The thick "crust" surrounding the purple cavity, consisting of protruding crystals, is a flat-faced white brick. The rear of the building, true to that of a natural geode, is solid gray, lumpy stone.
All of the walkways and room entrances are located internally between the solid rear of the building and the crystalline front. The rooms are wedge-shaped, wider at the back than the front, so as to expose each suite to the crystal front view. The nighttime display of illuminated violet crystals is a stunning sight that can be viewed from afar, setting a tone of comfort and serenity over the viewing area.
Rooms in the hotel would be arranged around the atrium, with access corridors running around the outer perimeter. This would allow every room to face into the central void, which itself would be fronted by glazing.
The NL firm is known worldwide for its unique building designs. Their plan for more of these gems around the world is not at all far-fetched. And China has demonstrated an attraction to the "natural form meets human function" in architectural design lately, with structures such as the Lotus Conference Center being a case in point. So this latest undertaking fits right in with that trend. All in all, this collaboration seems to be a rock solid venture, provided China's economy holds up and there are no territorial disputes to overcome regarding access to the sea.
NL Architects' proposal is intended to promote the believed healing qualities of amethyst - just as traveling can rejuvenate the spirit. The first hotel is planned for Ocean Flower, a man-made island that's currently under development north of Hainan, China.