Gallery Inn: This art-inspired hotel in Chengdu takes guest onto a journey of local history and culture

Project: City Inn | Design: Chu Chih-Kang Space Design | Location: Chengdu Shi, China | Photos: Chu Chih-Kang

History and culture are the backbones of this quaint hotel located in Chengdu’s historical hub Kuanzhai Alley. Designed by Chu Chih-Kang Space Design, the requirements for this project was to refurbish the interior spaces into a modern art gallery. Ultimately, the clients wanted a step into City Inn akin to walking into an art show.

Designer Chu Chih-Kang explains the concept further, “Chengdu is a cultural city. Kuanzhai Alley is integrated with present and past of Chengdu. The concept is to transfer the hotel into a modern art gallery. To make people see the history of this area, we let them to walk into the art show.”

With history as the key inspiration, the hotel has been transformed into a space to take visitors on a walk down memory lane. At the lobby, photos and antiquities are displayed as art work. “Every room is decorated in monotone. Pictures on the wall are street views in black-and-white colour, furniture in black, white or grey are in retro style,” the designer explains adding that his intention was to make the rooms look like a pop-up photo. “If guests take photos in the room, they will find out they are the only colourful object in a black-and-white photo. To use the power of social media to publicize the new image of City Inn Kuanzhai Alley, when guests share these photos of staying the hotel, it would be an efficient and free advertisement for City Inn Kuanzhai Alley.”

At the hotel’s restaurant, the designer incorporated the use of bamboo to decorate the ceiling and wall. Bamboo is also planted right outside the window to shield the view of the parking lot. “When the sun goes in through the green bamboo leaves, it brings a sense of freshness and delight to the monotone contemporary gallery,” the designer comments.

Throughout the hotel’s interior, there’s a chance that all the old pieces may give the spaces a heavy atmosphere. To prevent this, these historical objects are used as art pieces instead. The designer adds: “When you walk to hotel, you will discover Kuanzhai Alley’s present and past, see the mixture of old and new artwork and experience your stay at the hotel as a journey of contemporary art.”

8 thoughts on “Gallery Inn: This art-inspired hotel in Chengdu takes guest onto a journey of local history and culture

  1. Emonne

    I love the picture that you added onto this article, really beautiful. I am a photographer so I appreciate the beautiful images. I also love the historical background the you write about in your article. These pictures are mesmerizing, I especially can’t take my eyes off the picture with the desk and the tv so simple and modern. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will have to visit this hotel some day.

  2. Craig

    What a beautiful and visually pleasing post this is!
    I find myself mesmerised but the photos, within each one there is so much detail to see. I love finding pages like this with great information and detail.

  3. George

    I have couple business friends from Chengdu when I was doing business in US. They always told me that it is worthy for me to pay Chengdu a visit . It is a slow pace and full of surprise screenshot corner that you can find everywhere. My wife also told me that Chengdu is one of her favorite cities which she ever stopped by. She enjoy the culture, food, streets and massage there. I visit China every 2-3 months for business trip, but I never have chance to fly Chengdu yet.

    Your photos on this hotel is so clean, stylish and simple but to keep the history elements which really catch my eyes. I am looking forward to visiting Chengdu and asking friends to bring me to that hotel for a time-travel journey.

  4. Dira

    This is amazing! It is really great to see people invest in giving tribute to their history. The hotel looks really great. It seems that they have thought of everything. It looks like an interesting place to stay in. I’m wondering if the food served is traditional? That would give the complete experience.

  5. Kristian

    Wow – what an amazingly stylish looking hotel! I really like the way that they have combined the historical pictures with a very modern contemporary design theme for the hotel itself.

    I would love to stay there if I ever had the pleasure of visiting this place.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful place.

  6. Israel

    Hi Lily!

    This hotel is really amazing!

    The black and white pictures work so well with the environment that it takes you back in time.

    And the restaurant and the rooms look so relaxing… I would love to have a cup of tea there in that restaurant and enjoy the peace it transmits.

    Thank you for giving us the chance to visit it at least online.

  7. Amy

    This art-inspired hotel in Chengdu is an inspiration to me, and the photography on your post is amazing. I am struck by the balance of the interior space with the exterior — especially through the use of bamboo.

    The fact that the guest rooms are all monotone, makes for a very relaxing stay, while taking advantage of the history and culture that the Inn exudes.


  8. Jason

    This place looks amazing! The building design and artwork is spectacular. I love the black and white theme for the artwork as well as the decor. I really like the bamboo in the restaurant as well. I hope to visit Chengdu when I get a chance to go to China. I will check this place out for sure!

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