No space is wasted in Whistler’s innovative new high-concept hotel: Pangea Pod Hotel, designed by Vancouver firm Bricault Design.
Bricault’s innovative renovation of a formerly drab 1970s time-share apartment block in the BC resort town has created a vibrant new bar and eatery for the village and eighty-eight sleeping pods for its guests.
Occupying a commanding site in Whistler’s pedestrian mall, known as the village stroll, and within a stone’s throw of the slopes, this location is the envy of many, and Pangea Pod Hotel in Whistler, BC is Canada’s first of its kind. Bricault Design delivered extensive experience in both hospitality and residential work to the project that opened in August 2018.
Pod hotels became popular in Japan as an inexpensive place to rest and revive for the nations’ many salarymen between long workdays. Whistler has very different work-leisure balance however, with the village resort’s year-round outdoor activities and scenic beauty, and overnight hotel room space commands a premium price. The owners Russell and Jelena Kling were influenced by their international travel experiences to develop the innovative solution of pods. Bricault’s use of materials and clever spacial design offer the privacy needed for a night’s rest at Pangea, in the heart of the mountain resort, for a reasonable price. The designers worked with the Klings over three years to create an original accommodation solution bridging the gap between luxury hotel and inexpensive hostel. Bricault Design was chosen due to their willingness to engage in a collaborative exchange with the couple to develop ideas that fit both the program and vision for this unique project.
Capitalizing on this location was key and reworking the building’s exterior within the Village of Whistler’s strict bylaws generated significant design challenges, such as improving visual appeal at street level. Bricault needed to redevelop the inconspicuous residential entry into an open and inviting hotel and bar entrance. The entryway and highly visible bar mow gives the property a clear presence in the village and lets you know something exciting is upstairs to be discovered.
Creative design problem-solving is evident throughout this project; Bricault created everything from the hotel’s way-finding graphics to custom lighting and the sleeping pods themselves. The designers researched materials that would be interesting and vibrant, but very durable and at the right price-point.
The tile chosen to enhance the hotel’s main stairwell is durable, vibrant, and highlights the path upwards to the reception; another, the penny round tile is hardwearing, allows curved surfaces and was used as a continuous wrap of the entire public space that includes the reception, cafe and bar. Wallpaper designed by Bricault is used to highlight the upper portion of the walls in suites and corridors, much like the complex ceiling design of the lounge, where a variety of tinted mirror was deployed along with topography lights. Marc Bricault explains that these elements “create a greater sense of space, and in the lounge, facilitate a conversation between the ramblers on the village stroll and the activity in the second story restaurant bar.”
The lounge is designed as an important communal area extending living space for guests outside of the sleeping pods. Convertible spaces such as the toy box for the requisite sports gear make all the space functional and responsive year-round.
With their team combining their skills in architecture, industrial design, fine arts, graphic design, as well as millwork and project management, the ambitious Pangea Pod Hotel renovation is a characteristically playful and surprising Bricault Design project.