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A new hotel—Versante—just outside of Vancouver takes a big, beautiful design risk
Oftentimes hotels can err on the side of being a little safe—a little bit more subtle—just because they are looking to appeal to a wide audience,” says Adèle Rankin, managing principal of Chil Interior Design. But when Rankin’s team was brought on to design Versante, a new boutique hotel in Richmond, B.C., subtle wasn’t in the vocabulary.
The designer chalks this up to the owners understanding both the neighbourhood and their guests. The hotel is located in a diversely populated city with a large Chinese-Canadian community; it’s adjacent to the lively, colourful Richmond Night Market; and it aims to host a lot of international travellers. In other words, neutral wasn’t going to cut it: this hotel needed to make a memorable statement.
The “floating” washroom, for example, is about as conspicuous as it gets. It’s a semi-public space open to hotel guests and visitors to Versante’s on-site restaurants and event spaces, and it’s unapologetically sexy: a backdrop of red, black and white creates a dark, intimate vibe, and the room’s round shape feels futuristic and exciting. In the guest suites, there’s not a boring wall in sight—floral wallpaper, bright paint or striking stone blankets nearly every surface. Curvilinear sofas and accent chairs give the space an organic touch, and gold light fixtures add a splash of luxury (not without soul, though—the poodle-shaped table lamps provide plenty of personality).
“I think anytime you take a bold stance in design, you know that people are going to have a visceral response,” says Rankin. But this hotel isn’t just for maximalists. “We really strode the line of ensuring that the design was thought out and well-implemented enough that even if it isn’t your thing—even if you don’t want to take that design home and live in it—you can still appreciate it and you could really enjoy it.”
This story was originally published in the November/December 2023 issue of BCBusiness magazine.