When we entered the unknown waters of a major hospitality project in the beginning of 2018, little did we know what a splendid experience Villa Copenhagen will become.
Now we invite you to dive into the words of the SHAMBALLA JEWELS’ co-founders Mads & Mikkel Kornerup, and the company’s in-house architect Olga Krukovskaya, who talk about their first-hand experiences when designing the suite, courtyard and a former boardroom of this luxurious hotel.
THE SHAMBALLA® SUITE
What was your vision and ambition for this project?
Mads: Originally, SHAMBALLA JEWELS was inspired by ancient scriptures telling us of a mythical kingdom hidden in a valley in the Himalayas. A harmonious place populated by enlightened and compassionate people; The Kingdom of Shamballa – when translated from Sanskrit means ‘a place of peace and tranquility’. We encourage people to find their inner Shamballa and aspire for our jewelry to remind us of the possibility of connecting to our inner compassion and wisdom. With this suite, we hope that future guests will explore our universe and be inspired to find their inner Shamballa. In the years that we’ve had SHAMBALLA JEWELS, we’ve been good at creating a certain vibe and atmosphere in the setting of our shops. And we’ve always had a dream of translating that into a hospitality project, so that people could experience that very atmosphere that we’ve successfully created in our shops and at fair stands.
Mikkel: To us, SHAMBALLA JEWELS is a whole lot more than just gold, diamonds and beautiful jewelry – it’s a feeling and a universe in its own right that we’ve developed over the past many years. We believe that the value of jewelry lies not just in the materials used, but in the very emotions they evoke and represent. You can think of it as an active gesture of wearing values you want to live by. We’d like to share that with people who might not be familiar with the brand – a universe of its own that you have the opportunity to explore, as in our store. Ideally, our clients will book the suite of the hotel when they visit the city. It will be amazing to introduce them to the SHAMBALLA® journey and universe by booking clients into the suite.
Could you describe the universe and atmosphere one meets upon entering the SHAMBALLA® suite?
Mikkel: “Meditative” is a big word at SHAMBALLA JEWELS. But it should also be cozy and comfortable, so we’ve introduced our meditative elements and symbols in a modern, welcoming space. It’s not eye-catching or overwhelming with stars and SHAMBALLA JEWELS elements all over, but there are little accents and references to be found throughout the interior. But you’ll discover them slowly as you familiarize yourself with the space. And then we’re very fond of these warm elements, such as smoked oak and warmly hued stone. People feel at ease in our shops and fair stands because they’re warm and welcoming.
Mads: SHAMBALLA JEWELS is founded on the distinctive fusion of ancient Eastern philosophy and Nordic design traditions which has inspired the visual language of the space. It originates from our Danish roots and our travels in Asia. The suite is characterized by an intersection between rough and refined materials that creates a luxurious and impactful – a very strong – first impression. The very same gives a sense of intimacy that evokes the feeling of a mysterious temple; a serene atmosphere, playing with contrasts between the dark and delicate furnishing and soft lightning. When exploring the suite, jewelry is revealed and the overall feel and universe of SHAMBALLA JEWELS unfold.
What are your favourite features of the suite? What are you the most pleased with?
Mikkel: The “Ananta” Lamps: The Ananta Lamp is inspired by our signature bracelet, the iconic SHAMBALLA® Bracelet. Ananta is a Sanskrit term meaning “endless” or “limitless” – “eternal” and “infinity”.
Mads: The Double Dorje: The Double Dorje – or the Double Thunderbolt – will be present as small details throughout the suite. The Thunderbolt is a symbol of irresistible force across many cultures, and so the Double Thunderbolt represents pure consciousness – a state that cannot be destroyed or corrupted, and has no beginning or end. A recurring motif in our universe, our logo - THE STAR OF SHAMBALLA® - is inspired by the Double Dorje. For us, it symbolizes the irresistible force created when creativity springs in a pure, conscious mind. Most of our jewelry is customizable, and we invite you to take part in the creative process, so each design becomes a meaningful, personal journey and expression.
Our jewelry is all about the contrast between the rough and the refined. The extremely precious diamonds, gemstones and 18k gold united by a simple thread; an unexpected match of refined casualness. You see the same contrast throughout the SHAMBALLA JEWELS universe, which we have also tried to translate into the suite. For example, the water faucets in the bathroom carry precious ruby and blue sapphire gemstones, that represent the capture the difference between hot and cold.
Mikkel: Luxury can also be about creating unique experiences, and of course, we hope that a stay in this room will be a unique experience for future guests. Luxury does not necessarily have to scream fireworks and sparkling diamonds. It can be understated – conscious – and subtle. As for our jewelry, that is whom this room is for; the one who appreciates luxury but doesn’t have to show off. They know that everything is made in the best quality and craftsmanship. Throughout the suite, you will discover our recurring motif, THE STAR OF SHAMBALLA®.
What was your vision and ambition for this project?
Olga: 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?
Olga: 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 JEWELS, 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?
Olga: 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?
Olga: 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 characterized by a cozy 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?
Olga: 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?
Olga: 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 colors, 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?
Olga: 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.?
Olga: The color palette of the courtyard is characterized 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 favorite features of the courtyard?
Olga: The inner garden.
Could you talk a bit about the old boardroom?
Olga: In my opinion, the old boardroom is one of the most beautiful spaces inside the hotel. A historical room that successfully exudes the grandeur in its very detail. Characterized 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 jewelry 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 boardroom? What should it feel like, stepping into this space?
Olga: I remember the first time we stepped inside 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.
Visit Villa Copenhagen's website.
Image courtesy: Stine Christiansen & Merō Studio