Infused with subtle tones and sophisticated comfort created by interior architects JOI-Design, the Steigenberger Hotel Bremen has opened its doors. The first-class, four-star superior hotel has been built in an up-and-coming area that is close to the city centre along the banks of Germany's Weser river. Encompassing guestrooms, suites, public areas and back-of-house spaces, JOI-Design's concept for the hotel is drawn from its location in "Weserquartier," a flourishing new district in this port city where tradition meets modernity to become a Hanseatic gateway to the world.
"Our concept for the Steigenberger Hotel Bremen plays with the city's identity as a seafaring gateway to the world, a crossroad for trading in both historic and modern times," commented Peter Joehnk, co-managing director of JOI-Design. "By expressing the diverse fabric of the Weserquartier though the interior design, the hotel will attract business travellers as well as day-trippers wishing to explore the vitality of this emerging locale."
Bremen's harbour provided a rich mix of inspirations for the design team. Numerous ships in a spectrum of sizes and shapes, industrial sea containers, choppy waves, nostalgia from years-gone-by and a wanderlust for exotic adventures all come together to form the port's regional identity. These attributes have been cleverly interpreted in a modern way throughout the interiors.
The building itself also establishes the ambience. Designed by Eike Becker Architekten, the clean, perpendicular lines of the façade's glazing and coloured aluminum panels form a rectangular shape reminiscent of a shipping container. With floor-to-ceiling glazing encircling the entire ground floor, the hotel is flooded with light which can be filtered as necessary with curtains. An adjacent cabaret theatre is also connected directly with the hotel, making it an ideal destination for leisure guests as well as business travellers.
In the lobby, smart minimalist chic is juxtaposed with the gritty textures traditionally found at docklands. Smoothly curved chocolate brown sofas punctuated by bold warm red area rugs sit across from the foyer walls lined with unstained wooden grids and rough textured plaster. To the right is a sleek reception desk, where a polished glass counter rests atop a base crafted from rough hewn split timber. Mirroring the profile of the desk, a bespoke lighting installation filled with fabric "ribbons" casts a soft glow. Down the corridor, the lifts have been treated to have a "rusted" finish as is common in the salty air climate of the harbour. Between the reception area and Bar Palstek, the hotel's bar and lounge, a blackened glass "room within a room" is a hideaway for the staff offices and the Smokers' Lounge. Vibrant, yet soft, indirect lighting sets an atmospheric tone; calling to mind the walkways which trail through the dockyards, the meandering pattern of the corridor's backlit coved ceiling draws guests towards the lounge and an entirely glazed passageway which connects to the neighbouring theatre.
The vibe at Bar Palstek is rustic yet refined, with seating heights varying from comfortable bar stools to lower-slung sofas so that a range of activities may be accommodated, either chilling-out over a coffee or cocktail, enjoying a quick breakfast, or catching a sports match on the television.
Massive "duckdalben," the timber mooring posts customarily used for anchoring vessels to a dock, are softly illuminated to draw-out their texture and become the "statement pieces" within the lounge. A palette of deep tone-on-tone browns with splashes of maritime blue and sand lends itself to a relaxing ambience. Contrasting materials are present here as well; for example, the rough wood of the "duckdalben" plays against the fine, smooth grain of the leather seating to create opposing experiences which intrigue the senses. The abstract wave pattern of the carpet directs a subtle flow into the neighbouring dining area.
The discreet elegance of Restaurant Blaufeuer allows the river Weser to be appreciated in all its glory, with the full-height glazing affording views of the 80-seat terrace as well as ships passing by along the waterway. A nuanced tonal range of cream, coffee and copper brings an urbane gentility to the interiors, with subtle allusions to the location again coming into play. For example, the flecked background of the swirled carpet pattern suggests the glints of sunlight reflected on the water and the imprinted motifs on timber divider screens recall the stamped labels of shipping containers. In the morning, guests may dine in a generously sized breakfast buffet area; by evening, the à la carte restaurant becomes more intimate. Illuminated wine racks stretching up to the ceiling break-up the space, while two dining niches within the space create a sense of privacy.
A staircase leads business guests from the reception area up the conference rooms. The design concept of the ground floor has been adopted here as well: shades of mocha and caramel define the furnishings and the more distinct wave patterns of the carpet. Backlit coved ceilings cushion the acoustics and allow the lighting levels to be modified for daytime presentations or evening events. Again, full-height glazing enables the rooms to be filled with natural light. Meetings of all sizes may be accommodated in either the two boardrooms, each with ten seats; the two small conference rooms which together have a capacity for 40 people; or the 18m2 room that can be divided by partition walls. While each space is equipped with the latest technology, the boardrooms stand-out with added touches of style, as seen for example with the moulded dados.
The expansive, 230m2 spa on the sixth floor includes a gym, an aromatherapy steam bath, both bio and Finnish saunas, and a relaxation room. Indirect lighting creates a calming atmosphere, and in the showers, accentuates the sparkle of the glass mosaic walls. Floor-to-ceiling windows - interspersed by wall panels - are featured in all areas except the steam bath so that guests, whether exercising, relaxing or taking a sauna, feel a connection with the river that soothes the spirit. Intelligent sun shades protect against the UV rays of the direct sunlight. A warm palette of tranquil water-tones imparts the sense of pampering and exclusivity which characterize the Steigenberger spa.
The design concept of the corridors and 137 guestrooms, including two accessible rooms, two 42m2 junior suites and two grander, 56m2 and 62m2 suites harmonizes with the other areas of the hotel. The "Hanse" (Hanseatic) provenance of the harbour is literally portrayed in each bed's headboard decorated with a delicate embroidered map highlighting Bremen amongst the European Hanseatic communities. Rich shades of taupe and burnt orange in the cosy fabrics and carpet blend with the sedate tones of the ivory leather chairs and pickled oak desk / television station surrounded by a patinated copper frame. Bathrooms with iridescent verdigris copper wall tiles create a splash of glamour; showers are fitted with both hand-held sprayers and overhead rain-showers to indulge guests in a luxurious bathing experience.