Hong Kong’s Upper House has to be one of the best-loved urban hotels on earth: staggeringly stylish and comfortable, thanks to local projects designed by André Fu. Now Swire House Collective, a parent company of The House Collective, is bringing its game to Shanghai with the opening of The Middle House in a gleaming tower in Dazhongli. Same tip-top service, same excellent quality of food and drink (courtesy of Café Gray Deluxe’s Gray Kunz) as at its HK sibling – but this time, the design of the 111 rooms is in the hands of Piero Lissoni. Expect monochromatic, zen elegance and lots of space (including plenty of terraces) with the new Piero Lissoni hotel design!

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For this much-anticipated The Middle House, fourth entry in Swire’s House Collective in a new mixed-use development in Shanghai, Milan-based Piero Lissoni “carried out a great deal of research regarding city’s history and culture of local crafts,” he explains, visiting local artisans to understand the characteristics and particularities typical of the region.

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Past meets present in the sophisticated lobby area, dramatized with walls of green bamboo ceramic tile laid vertically to emphasize the double-height space, while an oversized Venetian chandelier suspended above a central round table “defines the entrance and contrasts with the calm luxury of the lobby lounge and the neutral colors of its bespoke furniture,” he says.

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Behind the entry, the ceiling drops to a more intimate, single-story height, with a sense of home reinforced through a fireplace, contemporary wing chairs, Chinese benches, bone-colored upholstery, and silk area rugs—all a soft and welcome divergence from the dark wood bookshelves, consoles, and side tables that populate the space.

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Lined with oak, the stair leads to the 102 residences and Chinese restaurant Sui Tang Li, which is dominated by a screen featuring traditional Chinese green ceramic tiles that juxtapose the opposite bronze glass wall with its peekaboo kitchen pass through.

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Lissoni’s masculine aesthetic carries into all-day dining restaurant Café Gray Deluxe with its lofty height enhanced with walls devoted to bookcases, displays of wine and spirits, and a contemporary art program. Meanwhile, Italian restaurant Frasca’s sleek black accents pop against translucent glass panels and a neutral scheme of taupe and gray.

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Residences and the 111 guestrooms are separated into two towers, with the rooms chicly designed in understated monochromatic tones, purposely chosen to emphasize natural materials like dark hardwood floors. Open wardrobes in dressing areas give rooms an airy feel, while some rooms boast bronze mesh screens, highlighting a contemporary-meets-traditional aesthetic notable in artwork and carpets that “are all handmade by cutting and reassembling antique Middle Eastern carpets,” reveals Lissoni.

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In contrast, the sprawling curvilinear Mi Xun Spa and wellness area “creates large perspectives on iconic architectural elements such as backlit volumes, water features, and an internal garden,” he says. Here, industrial materials mingle with local ceramics for the sequence of vertical louvers, adding a decidedly authentic touch to the otherwise minimalist space.

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There’s nothing average in this new Piero Lissoni hotel! The giant chandelier in the 111-room hotel’s (excluding its residences) lobby is just the first hint that Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni is thinking in macro terms for the Shanghai hotspot, part of a city-center mixed-use development.

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