Often located in the basements of standalone houses, rec (recreation) rooms are usually the play dens of many a teenage boy or bachelor, and a place they can get together with friends, kick back and have fun. While the rec rooms of most folks usually involve a comfy old couch and television, and maybe table tennis and a dartboard, Gettys Hong Kong imagines what a billionaire's rec room might look like. Think James Bond, Austin Powers, or perhaps Leonardo Di Caprio in The Great Gatsby.
According to Ariane Steinbeck, Gettys' managing director and principal architect, wealthy homeowners are looking for unique, tailor-made and immersive environments that provide an escape from reality and a break from the stress of day-to-day life. This ultimate recreational environment would have to be a collaborative effort between interior designers, audio-visual specialists, lighting designers, gaming developers and artists. Technology will play a big part, so the user can interact with varying surfaces for a multisensory experience.
Gettys' proposal includes four zones. The first zone consists of an entrance hallway of interactive walls that Gettys designed with the help of London-based artists and design collaborative Haberdashery. This interactive corridor leads the user through a tunnel-like path, which opens either to a projection/performance room or a bowling alley. "This entrance hallway is a space where an art and light installation would be used to enhance the experience and acts as a starting point for the journey into the gaming world, much like the procession of players from locker rooms to stadiums at the beginning of a game," Steinbeck says. The projection/performance room can be used for screening films, as a live performance venue, the landscape for a video game, or a party venue. This room comes with high-end digital screens and vintage sporting gear and sport memorabilia.
The second zone is a bar where luxury and technology meet. Bespoke furnishings from brands like Promemoria, Studio FormaFantasma and Achille Salvagni, and interactive surfaces are used to create spaces that encourage complete relaxation.
"In this space are a combination of windows and screens that will allow the user a view to the outside world. The screens can project anything they want, including television shows or sports matches," says Ramela Ouzounian, senior project designer at Gettys.
Next to the bar is a zero-gravity balcony - a glass room where one can experience what it's like to float in space, and the sensation of free falling, which feels like skydiving.
Moving from the bar down a large ceremonial staircase, one arrives at the third zone, where a rock-climbing wall and cave, as well as a classic arcade room with a pool table, video games and a half-pipe for extreme sports, beckon.
The fourth and most impressive zone is the digital gaming arena, a sphere-like dome with hi-tech screens on all surfaces. This gaming arena uses real-time footage combined with state-of-the-art equipment and visual effects to create an interactive 3D environment. This allows players to select a variety of world-famous sporting venues such as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Madison Square Garden in New York or the All England Club at Wimbledon and Wembley Stadium in London, and play with 3D digital versions of professional athletes or teams.
In addition to the stadium's digital capability, it can also function as a regular basketball court or football pitch.
"The sky is the limit. A user can select any venue from around the world and have the arena come to life in front of their eyes. Participants can watch 3D life-sized projections of famous professional athletes come into the stadium through the entrance hallway, the music will start to play and the atmosphere of a real sporting match will fill the arena," Steinbeck says. "The unique technology provided in this space will allow participants to actively play in the game or relax in the perimeter lounge spaces and use a device to influence or control the game."
Gettys Hong Kongis a global firm with three decades of expertise in hospitality design, and a portfolio that includes casinos and gaming centres in Macau, the Dominican Republic and the Philippines, Gettys opened its Hong Kong office in 2007.Hong Kong team members - including managing director Ariane Steinbeck (pictured)and designers Ramela Ouzounian,Ike Cheung, Mariana Foley,Emilie Sutherland,Elena Tarrega,Vicky Sharman-Coxand Jacqueline Dew- are an adventurous and close-knit bunch who love new challenges. They say they had an absolute blast working on this project.