Felipe Escudero was one of ten architects invited to design a distinctive accommodation for the Tantra Boutique Motel in Quito, Ecuador. Escudero’s winning proposal realizes an ecstatic fantasy of levitating sky high. “I was very much inspired by the feeling of floating and being on clouds,” says Escudero. “I wanted to reproduce this feeling with space, materials, and light.”

A dramatic staircase leads guests down to the chamber, where a sleek sense of whimsy abounds. Drawing upon vaporwave culture and Japanese manga, the design is characterized by objects of varying scales that simulate human body parts, fluids, and other “geometric follies” that appear to dissolve in 3D.

A love seat is fashioned to resemble a large hand next to an oniric arch that frames a whip. Other unique focal points include an Escher-style spherical mirror installed above the bed and a sinuous dancer pole beside the bed and bathtub. Matte and reflective materials infuse purity and intimacy into the atmosphere with hues of white or off-white alongside wood, fiberglass, and ceramic surfaces. Soft, indirect illumination also adds an inviting layer of mystery to the dreamlike space.

“The project blurs the boundaries between architecture, art, sculpture, and interior design,” Escudero adds. “The strategies used in organizing the space, placing many functional sculptures—objects that seem to defy gravity and perception—and creating an inviting ambiance result in a very magical space. It does feel very eerie to be inside.”

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