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Hotel Hotel Thursday 15:58 PM

An invitation to occupy and the twelve obsessions

Meet Bob Earl of Oculus, a think tank/urban design/landscape architecture studio/lots of other things. In addition to all these hats Bob is a self-confessed chocolate slut from Queens. Over three kinds of chocolate bars we talked about the creation of Hotel Hotel and its surrounds.

For most developments, landscape architecture usually ends up being the add-on at the end, as a garnish for the main course, which is the building itself. Not so for Nishi, Hotel Hotel’s home. Bob is the guy that has been there from the very beginning, he has shaped the way that the building looks, inside and out, how it feels and what it communicates.

Bob’s job hasn’t been to pretty up the exteriors with whatever plants are hot right now (nien, spit, nien) but to create a sense of domesticity, of beautiful every day, of intimacy, of coming somewhere for the first time but feeling at home.

The overall statement of the project has been an invitation to occupy the space.

The process is infinitely more interesting than a description of the end product itself (you’ll just have to come and take a look to know what its really like.. Stay a while… Be part of the landscape). To understand the process you need to know about what Bob calls ‘The Twelve Obsessions’, the quiet and ever changing non-manifesto that Oculus works by.

The designs for Hotel Hotel and Nishi have changed countless times but have always had these obsessions in mind. As Bob poetically puts it, “seeds have been sown by countless people, only to germinate months later, and lead us on a new direction. So much so that there is an authorless quality to the project”. The plans have changed just as many times, and to be honest, “I’m not sure what anything is anymore, but it’s good”.

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