The first Ritz-Carlton in India opened this month in Bangalore, replete with pointed arches and intricate lattice screens reminiscent of centuries-old Indian palaces.
The eastern influences were incorporated into the structure by Brad McNamee, senior vice president at the Irvine office of the WATG architecture firm.
McNamee, who grew up in Corona del Mar, has been involved in several projects in India. He led his team in a research expedition at surrounding sites to study architectural styles to include in the 279-room hotel.
“We try to become familiar and spend time there,” McNamee said.
The lattice screens, known as “jaali,” were used throughout the hotel. WATG visited the Indian state of Rajasthan, home of ancient grand palaces, McNamee said, to find jaali patterns that the team recreated or used as inspiration.
“We used a precast, lightweight concrete in a factory and erected them onto the building. The original ones were hand-carved out of stone,” McNamee said.
A grand entry is set back from the street, with tall columns that lead to a pavilion of vendors. Landscape architects in Singapore created a reflecting pool with flaming urns. As McNamee described it, the entrance “recalls, but doesn’t emulate, a palace.”
The fifth floor of the resort includes a fitness center and spa with treatments that use the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine. A long pool sits atop the roof of a four-story glass enclosure that is McNamee’s favorite part of the project.
“At night, it glows almost as if it’s a lantern,” he said.
WATG has designed more than 60 Ritz-Carlton hotels in 25 countries. The Bangalore location is McNamee’s third project for the luxury hotelier. He’s now working on a hotel in Xi’an, China.