Space Bean Hotel // Abu Dhabi

Yas Viceroy Hotel Cover

If you’ve ever read my blog or ever heard me talk about architecture, you know that I am not a big fan of the arbitrary. I think there is a place for crazy curves and sharp angles if used purposefully, but they are often not. So, when seeing this massive glowing structure that resembles a color changing bean, you can imagine my preconceived notions. This is the Yas Viceroy Hotel.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Night Exterior 2

I can’t imagine how this form was decided upon. Inspiration from a breaching whale? A Lima bean? What’s more, I can’t imagine what it is like trying to sleep in one of those rooms as the surrounding skin changes colors throughout the night. But whatever negative biases I had towards the building and its extraterrestrial form were diminished when we entered the hotel.

It was beautiful.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Hallway 2

It seemed rather dark for American standards, but it worked in context. The entire interior had a warm glow of indirect lighting. You can see the small yellow dots of light tucked away in the edges of the wall. All of the circulation space felt a bit like an airplane runway as a result.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Hallway 1

All of the halls were embellished with lines, perhaps associated with wayfinding (though I did not follow any one line long enough to see where it led).

Yas Viceroy Hotel Interior Hallway

The walls were detailed with a pattern that were sometimes apertures into the adjacent rooms that diffused light into the halls. Other times they were nothing more than paint on the wall.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Hallway light detail

The entire interior had a strange retro/space-age feel that was unlike anything else I had ever seen.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Ballroom

I sincerely wish I had taken the electric lighting class I am currently in before I visited this project. I am sure there are some really fascinating lighting details I was oblivious to.

Yas Viceroy Hotel Restaurant

I think the beautiful interior made the exterior bother me much less. I wish I had visited when it wasn’t so dark or with a tripod on hand since you can see how grainy and blurry the photos turned out. Regardless, I’ll end with what I thought was the money shot:

Yas Viceroy Hotel Night Exterior 1

I think I am often too critical of buildings I visit, particularly ones that scream for your attention. I like this building. Visit it if you have a chance.

I could probably say a few bad things, but I’ll hold my tongue. That means you’ll hear double the negativity next time… Lucky you…




    1. In terms of design I think This hotel was actually my favorite. A strange effect of visiting this area (Dubai and Abu Dhabi) is that the things that would impress you in any other context are rendered as ordinary when placed right next to one another. There are other parts of other projects I thought were fantastic, but as an entire work of architecture I think this one takes the cake.

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