JOI-Design has designed the interiors for the first property of the new lifestyle brand niu by Novum, recently opened in Essen, Germany. A young, hip brand, niu offers global travelers a unique local experience and high quality modern accommodation at affordable prices.
The niu Cobbles (cobbles means pieces of coal in German) is a 145-room hotel, for which JOI-Design has developed a scheme based around Essen's reinvention from its impressive mining past into a colorful cultural and creative hub. Today, Essen's former Zollverein Coal Mine, a masterpiece of industrial architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a dynamic cultural location celebrating local art, design and food set in lush green parkland.
International travellers and local trendsetters alike can meet and engage in the open-planned public spaces. These free-flowing areas combine reception, a work and chill-out zone, and bar and restaurant. Equipped with the most advanced ports and high-speed wifi connections, guests are able to work, meet, read, eat or drink wherever they feel most comfortable. In the centre is a buffet, opposite which is a multi-purpose cube island that serves as reception, bar and gift shop.
The background color palette of the public spaces is dark and neutral, referencing the city's mining past which has been playfully interpreted into a hip hotel that celebrates heritage in a sleek modern fashion. Contemporary metal curtains, chain suspensions and hoists, and industrial-look table frames are all reminiscent of Essen's inheritance, now serving to connect and delight the guest.
Other features woven into the design include canary-shaped lights that float below the ceiling, an allusion to the birds employed to check air quality in the mine shafts, as well as lampshades and other lighting elements inspired by mining helmets and lamps. This is clearly a contemporary style hotel where work and play intertwine and which provides plenty of instagrammable moments and opportunities for social media selfies.
JOI-Design developed a 'small and perfect' room design with today's savvy traveller in mind. Focusing on maximising essential comforts, each room features a large double bed with a wardrobe and side table. There is a beanbag to chill on and, since short-stay at niu Cobbles may not wish to unpack, every room has a luggage rack by the door. Naturally high-tech is top of the agenda and includes bluetooth and wifi connectivity.
The bedroom's color palette and materials are dark and combined with playful industrial elements. Perfect bedtime reading, for example, comes courtesy of pendant lights hanging from their cables which are wrapped around a bar above each side of the headboard.
The new niu Cobbles' industrial design theme has been combined with a narrative of Essen's lively street art scene; JOI-Design collaborated with artists from Viva con Aqua Art and Millerntor Gallery for the striking wall designs between the bedroom and the bathroom depicting a gritty interaction between the Zollverein Coal Mine and a street artist.
Photography: Simone Ahlers