The Traveler’s Domesticity

In the film The Sheltering Sky, three Americans from New York arrive in Tangier in 1947. Port Moresby (John Malkovich) and his wife Kit (Debra Winger) are accompanied by their friend George Tunner (Campbell Scott) on a trip that will take them deep into the Saharan Desert. Tunner observes, “we’re probably the first tourists they’ve had since the war,” to which Kit replies, “we’re not tourists, we’re travelers.”

This design studio examines the various notions of domesticity in the context of a traveler for whom a new city is not to be conquered but lived, and for whom a hotel is not just a shelter but a temporary home. The site of intervention for a mixed-use boutique hotel provides a fertile ground for exploration; Shanghai itself is a city that is richly layered with multiple histories and cultures, and the existing historic building on site requires a delicate maneuvering between the new and the old. Challenging the norms within typical hospitality design, the studio expands the programs of the typology to encourage non-conventional juxtapositions and proportions of the functions of eating, drinking, shopping, playing and sleeping. The studio takes a multi-disciplinary methodology in approaching these various scales of domesticity, from urban planning, architecture and interior design to industrial design and branding.