WunderLocke, Munich, Germany
The design-focused apart-hotel brand Locke is once again taking the lifestyle hotel movement by storm with the opening of WunderLocke in Munich.
Located south-west of the city centre in the Bavarian capital’s leafy Sendling neighbourhood, this particular area was carefully selected for its sense of community and character, set against an industrial backdrop that’s predicted to become a go-to for the city’s burgeoning undercurrent of artists, creatives and tech entrepreneurs.
“The idea was that the space could provide a creative hub nearby,” says Holloway Li, the architecture studio behind Locke’s latest outpost. “Our design was shaped with the brief that it could become a dynamic destination that can cater for both locals, holidaymakers, and business travellers.”
With work and play at the heart of the brand’s ethos, Holloway Li has designed a space with a community-centric approach, creating an open-plan environment with fluid layouts, while cleverly preserving certain aspects of the building’s former life as an office building. “We tend to draw inspiration from a number of places for our projects; the host building is always very important with any refurbishment project, as well the surrounding cultural and historical context. With the host building being so dominant in its vastness and its powerful concrete, we wanted to create a delicate, soft insertion as a counterpoint to the robustness of the existing situation,” says Holloway Li. Holloway Li were interviewed in our May/June 2022 edition. Read it here.
Parts of the existing building have been stripped back to reveal its raw concrete frame in a nod to the Vasily Kandinsky theory of ‘Innerer Klang’ (inner voice). The duo reinterpreted this theory by weighing in on Kandinsky’s relationship with nature, embedding sustainable design practices into the development of the building by preserving certain features. “We took cues from his visual language and theories to unveil the ‘Innerer Klang’ of the existing building, stripping back ornamentation to showcase the raw concrete frame of the structure and using it as a space to encourage renewal.
As a studio, we have developed a particular understanding for how to express the bones of existing buildings as part of the renovation process and strategy, using the embodied carbon of a host property, with a light touch approach to refurbishment. Here we challenged ourselves to expose the host structure, while transforming the space without overcladding or excessive development,” adds Holloway Li.
With a mix of spacious studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments to choose from, these apartments are designed to be lived in, allowing extended-stay travellers to make use of the facilities while combining the luxuries of a hotel stay. Communal areas are made the focal point of the rooms, with a sofa, desk and kitchen presented on entry in contrast to a traditional hotel room.
The downstairs co-working space and hip coffee bar flow seamlessly into an open-plan space that’s partitioned by a techy reception area – a subtle transition softened by the use of playful props and an earthy colour palette. Upstairs, the Italian-themed cocktail bar makes reference to the Bavarian capital in the 70s. “For the bar, we selected an upholstered bar top detail, which is a trope you would see in 1970s dive bars to encourage patrons to take root and get comfy. We regularly reference cinema in our work and the design here takes its inspiration from the cult b-movie Barfly,” adds Holloway Li.
As for dining, there will be five restaurants in total spread across seven floors, including Mural Farmhouse restaurant in the downstairs area, a farm-to-fork restaurant that flows into the coffee shop and main reception area, and a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the Bavarian Alps. Mural Farmhouse is described by the architects as one of their favourite design features. “For us, the biophilic inserts, which provide a natural counterpoint to the omnipresence of concrete within the space, combined with dense free-flowing planting and timber, terrazzo and raffia, provide the ideal backdrop to relax, drink and dine all day.”
by Zana Wilberforce