07 January 2011

Patricia Urquiola's Mandarin Oriental deserves every accolade it gets

The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group’s first Spanish hotel, The Madarin Oriental Barcelona, just won Interior Design Magazine’s Best Hotel Project for 2010. The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is an astounding hotel, but its interiors by Spanish-born architect Patricia Urquiola place it into a class all its own. 

Patricia Urquiola is one of Axor's design partners and her award (and this hotel) add to the cachet surrounding the Axor brand of faucets and fixtures.

The hotel is located in the cultural and commercial heart of Barcelona and the building is a converted, former bank headquarters. The city of Barcelona is an architectural feast and wonders linger behind every corner. It’s a city where it’s wise to expect the unexpected. The Mandarin Oriental Barcelona fits the city where it’s located perfectly. Behind the linear, mid-century lines of the facade lives a world of Patricia Urquiola’s imagination. Colors, textures, sight lines and finishes combine to make up something whimsically modern and unique.

Barcelona is a lively, dynamic city and the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona is a perfect fit. Its 144 rooms are some of the largest in the city and their luxurious appointments make this hotel an ideal getaway.


  1. This is her first project that has left me flat. I usually pant after everything that falls from her brilliant brain, but this not so much.

    The baths ARE quite fabulous though.

  2. Really? I thought the geometry of the screens in that white-furnitured lobby would be right up your alley. What is it about these interiors that doesn't appeal to you? You have some of the best design instincts of anybody I know and I find you likes and dislikes to be interesting.

  3. Much too much going on. For as brilliant as Urquiola is at designing furniture, her interiors work often shows a lack of sensitivity to the individual experience.

    The spaces are either chaotic or completely devoid of visual interest - no satisfying middle ground. Take picture #5, the visitor's eye jumps around so much as to risk retinal detachment. The pool area is dark and foreboding and as far away from a relaxing getaway as one can get.

  4. Interesting. I see that pool area and thing it would be an ideal spot to get over jet lag. I can see your point about the activity, I wonder how these places would play out in person. We'll have to go to Barcelona and see for ourselves. Are you in?

  5. Totally off the subject of design, my curious mind would like to know; where did the name of the hotel originate? -Brenda-

  6. Brenda, how've you been? The Mandarin Oriental chain of luxury hotels gets its name from the first hotel they developed, Hong Kong's Mandarin Hotel. They've been around since the '60s but have been on a real building boom for the last ten years.

  7. The name just seemed odd for the location. It now makes sense. Thank you!

    Haven't been much on the Computer as I've been crazy busy with other things. Hope to go to Mexico next week though for some R&R and escape the SNOW as Old Man Winter is finally settling in. (Hate the stuff!)


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