Part of Ovolo Hotels, Nishi occupies three floors of the one-of-a-kind and arguably most sustainable building in Australia, the Nishi residential building.
From the moment you lay eyes on Ovolo Nishi, it’s clear that creativity runs deep in its DNA. Designed to respond to the surrounding Australian landscape, both the interior and exterior feature earthy tones and raw and recycled materials. The building’s distinctive façade is composed of over 40km of sustainable timber, effectively shading the building’s glass from the harsh morning sunlight. Over 90 plant boxes enhance the exterior, increasing biodiversity. Internally, each guest room is furnished with restored vintage furniture, perfectly complementing distinctive walls composed of concrete, cork, earthen clay and eucalyptus timber.
Inside Ovolo Nishi, the building’s pièce de résistance – the grand staircase – immediately draws your gaze. It’s a breathtaking combination of recycled timber, collected from a demolished house, basketball court, the hotel’s construction site and offcuts from Nishi’s façade. I can’t help but think that should I ever need to make a grand entrance, these are the stairs I’d like to walk down.
Nishi was designed by Fender Katsalidis Architects and Tokyo’s Suppose Design Office in conjunction with ARUP, and each room is equipped with an iPad so guests can learn more about the hotel’s unique design. The building was constructed and engineered to maximise energy efficiency through various innovations. ARUP explains that “from the outset, passive features and ultra-efficient systems have been fundamental to Nishi’s design. The central full-height atrium and high-performance operable façade maximise natural ventilation and light”. The passive design also eliminates the need for artificial cooling during the night and an efficient underfloor system provides free cooling to the building during a significant part of the year, further reducing Nishi’s carbon footprint.
Ovolo Nishi was a generous host during my stay. The public lounge is tastefully furnished with recycled timber floorboards and Australian made custom furniture. A cosy indoor fire pit created a welcoming ambience and the care and thought put into each element of the hotel and guest experience is palpable. From refillable toiletries, joinery made from salvaged wood, wallpaper made from all-natural and sustainable fibres to complimentary bikes made by local Canberra company Goodspeed Bicycles, Ovolo Nishi is expert at ripping up the hotel rule book and writing a new one that’s committed to a standard of excellence not only for guests, but for its stewardship of natural resources. As I checked out, I vowed to return.