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Q&A with Olga Krukovskaya of Shamballa: Designing the heart of Villa

Q&A with SHAMBALLA JEWELS interior designer, Olga Krukovskaya, on designing the Villa courtyard and old boardroom.

 

What was your vision and ambition for this project?

 

We wanted to create a space that will become a destination. The courtyard bridges the past and present, and is overall an impressive, vibrant room with a cosmopolitan, yet Copenhagen feel. Our ambition was to create a unique setting, exuding elegance, happiness and magic in this extraordinary and beautiful building.

 

Where did you find inspiration to design the main courtyard?

 

Inspiration came from the historical centre of Copenhagen and its charming, old streets. The Marble bridge with its darkly patinated Gjellebæk marble and the limestone of Christiansborg both heavily influenced the architectural colour palette of the lobby. The centre of the courtyard is, with its lush trees and greens, a nod to Glyptoteket’s winter garden. Ornamental elements in the space are rooted in the eastern philosophy that is an essential part of our vision at Shamballa, and they bring in a magic and sophisticated ambiance. References to old details in the building itself can be found in the new design as well ­– for example we’ve reintegrated a rococo ornament from the grand staircase.

 

Can you elaborate on your thought going into this process, considering needs and key elements of a space so central to the hotel as a place for gathering?

 

The courtyard will be the social hub of the hotel. It should also be at the heart of the community, creating space for guests as well as Copenhagen natives. We therefore had to address a fairly broad spectrum and flow of guests, and thoroughly consider the layout of the lobby. It will be a multi-use space with effective separation for different scenarios. We have created a vast space for the check-in and reception area, an inner room with relaxed seating, a city square-like café in which people can meet and be served from the brasserie’s bar. The space will also offer the possibility of coworking, and will furthermore feature a pop-up retail area.

 

Please describe your process, unfolding the concept and planning of the courtyard?

 

Our approach was to approach Villa’s courtyard design with great respect for the history, tradition and beauty of the building. Hence, we left the facade almost untouched. The location for the bar and adjacent cafe area is meant to unite the courtyard with the brasserie on the Vesterbro side of the building. On the other side, the wine bar offers more of an inner city feel, with a relaxed seating area.

The inner space of the courtyard is characterised by a cosy lounge and cafe area with custom-made chandeliers and a beautiful centrepiece. The guests arriving to the hotel will pass through the original entrance from Tietgensgade and see a beautifully framed piece of artwork. To reach the reception you will need to walk past the ramp, and as you make your way through the room, the space unfolds in front of you. Guests will get the glimpse of the bar and cafe, walk by the garden with a centrepiece, and finally reach the reception.

 

How have you worked with sustainability and specifically recycling of elements from the original structure for the courtyard design?

 

We have addressed the sustainability through the conscious choice of materials and working with companies that choose to limit their impact on the environment.

 

How do you think Villa's brand values of contrast, conscious luxury and happiness are reflected in the courtyard?

 

We hope that we have succeeded to embed the values of contrast, conscious luxury and happiness in the courtyard’s design through our work with colours, exclusive materials, space programming and addressing the sustainability side of the project. We believe that the atmosphere of the courtyard will exude happiness and create a truly magical space with a cosmopolitan feeling.

 

How did you approach the project being a contemporary luxury hotel while paying respect to its original architecture?

 

Through maintaining the original features of the historical facade, keeping the original envelope of the building and balancing it with the contemporary design of a luxury hotel.

 

Please elaborate on thoughts behind your choice of materials, color schemes etc?

 

The colour palette of the courtyard is characterised by earthy hues with touches of saffron, terracotta and burnt orange. It’s essentially inspired by some of the old Copenhagen buildings, such as the ochre facades found by Nyboder. The design includes a rich variety of natural stone, including pieces reminiscent of our (Shamballa’s) precious jewels.

 

What are your favourite features of the courtyard?

 

The inner garden.

 

Could you talk a bit about the old board room?

 

In my opinion, the old board room is one of the most beautiful spaces inside the hotel. A historical room that successfully exudes the grandeur in its very detail. Characterised by the high and richly ornamented ceiling, mahogany wall panelling, tapestry and crystal chandeliers, the space was previously used as a conference room.

 

We proposed to convert the old board room and adjacent space into an intimate bar and multipurpose lounge. It will be host exclusive jewellery viewings, intimate chamber music concerts, lectures and private dining. The floor is restored to the original look of mosaic pattern, and all the other original elements are kept in place.

 

The most dominant feature of the room, besides the ornamented ceiling, is the tapestry. For this project we developed a custom tapestry to serve as the enchanting backdrop for the new bar and lounge. The inspiration came from the first original Verdure tapestry of this room, which we recovered from the archives.

 

What do you hope to achieve with the final look and ambiance of the old board room? What should it feel like, stepping into this space?

 

I remember the first time we stepped into this room. It was a breath-taking experience. I hope that guests will be met by a similar emotion upon entering this beautiful space. It should feel like you are entering into a magical, enchanting grotto.