- Article by Matilda Lloyd
LA and London-based Fettle design studio channels mid-century colours and an industrialist aesthetic in its latest hospitality project.
Located in the Bavarian capital, a stone’s throw from the site of Oktoberfest, Aparthotel, Schwan Locke draws inspiration from the Deutscher Werkbund movement.
Born out of a desire for greater efficiency in the crafts industry, better design for industry and a more modern approach to architecture, the Deutscher Werkbund or German Labour League attracted several of the top modern artists and architects in pre-war Germany, as well as industrialists and manufacturers.
Set up by Hermann Muthesius, the movement believed in both the moral and economic power of art and design. It was this belief that formed the basis of Fettle’s design philosophy for Aparthotel.
“The result is an interpretation of modernist principles rather than a pastiche of this iconic style,” explains the practice, which oversaw all aspects of this project from guest apartments to the cafe and gym.
In the lobby, strips of mirror paired with a bold patterned floor were inspired by details found within the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition of 1914.
The ceiling is painted green with a series of bulkhead lights that reflect in the mirrors to create an “infinity mirror effect”.
Layered lighting throughout the ground floor ensures public spaces can be tailored to the specific time of day or purpose with a variety of seating options to suit every need.
In the cafe, a white marble counter with oak undercounter is detailed with rattan infill panels. Above it, three chrome and opal glass pendants were also inspired by the Deutscher Werkbund.
Nearby, the the skirting and architraves in the bar and lounge are painted in a deep red colourway and the spaces illuminated by simple black metal and round opal glass wall lights as well as a collection of feature pendants made to order from Zeitlos, a Berlin-based lighting company who specialise in both vintage pieces and making faithful reproductions of long forgotten lighting designs.
“We wanted the hotel feel comfortable and inviting to allow guests to eat, drink, relax and work within the cafe, lounge, bar and courtyard spaces,” explains Fettle.
“A colourful yet relaxing palette has been used within both the public areas as well as within the guestrooms to ensure these spaces maintain a sense of fun.”
Outside, but accessible from the bar and cafe, a large central courtyard features a mixture of playful outdoor fabrics that complement the luscious vegetation.
The finishes here are clean and simple and include different types of stone flooring with post lights and festoon lighting to illuminate the space.
Elsewhere in the crafty building, the rooms render a similar design language.
Muted reds, greens, yellows and blues echo the era of the early modernist movement, while light timbers, chrome and steel contrast raw plaster and bold painted finishes to keep the scheme bright and welcoming.
Fully upholstered mohair bed headboards feature in a vibrant mustard yellow. Not a colour choice for the faint hearted, the yellow harmonises the feminine colour-way.
Similarly, mohair upholstery affixes the bespoke fluted sofa, which sits beneath a tiered gathered fabric pendant.
“All the upholstered furniture for Schwan Locke is bespoke and inspired by furniture from the early 20th century,” explains Fettle.
“The specially made furniture sits alongside pieces from design brands including Hay, Petite Friture, &Tradition and Adico.
“The lighting is from Visual Comfort, Dyke & Dean and Original BTC as well as bespoke pieces made by Northern Lights.”
Finally, the artwork throughout the hotel draws inspiration from the pioneering women involved in the Werkbund movement – from photographer and sculptor Marianne Brandt to Lilly Reich who was on the board of directors.
Local Berlin artist Veronika Grenzebach reimagined their portraits in a feminine way using a vibrant colour palette, which can be seen throughout the public spaces and guestrooms.
Photography: Edmund Dabney and Lennart Wiedemuth.
Fettle is a boutique interior architecture and design firm specialising within the hospitality sector.
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