Designed and built in 1950 by architects Schwebes and Schoszberger, Bikini House had as its purpose the expression of a form of architecture signifying a new attitude to life, based on dynamism, freedom, optimism and a propensity to consume. Could the unconventional 25 Hours chain choose a better context to give birth to their first Berlin hotel?
The 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin is located between the Memorial Church and the well-known Kurfürstendamm on one side, and the green oasis of the Tiergarten Park and the Zoo on the other. The location has strongly inspired designer Werner Aisslinger’s project. Aisslinger and his team have developed a design concept straddling holistic nature and local culture (the provisional title was ‘Urban Jungle’).
Half of the 149 rooms face the monkeys’ house and the elephants’ enclosure at the Zoo: these rooms have a warmer interior decoration, highlighted by natural materials and a variety of colors.
The other half of the rooms enjoys a wonderful vista over West Berlin’s monuments: the nature of the furniture here becomes rougher and sharper, more urban, with a nod to creative Berlin. First out, the entrance foyer hands guests the first installment of the 25 hours philosophy: a huge vertical space, from the ground floor through the first and up to the second floor, creating a one single ambience. The result is a powerful tri-dimensional effect which makes the eyesight change vantage point many times in the space of a few seconds, immediately creating a cozy (despite the size), shared environment. In a corner of the lounge, beneath some bicycles hanging from the ceiling, an old Mini appears, and can turn into an emergency reception desk.
The rooms unfold through walls rich in ‘horizontal greenery’, with gently descending branches and leaves.
Via a (see-through) elevator you reach the third floor, which hosts a 1,000 sq m [3,280 sq ft] reception-lounge, where customers are welcomed in a sort of gallery flanked by two pillars decorated with original graffiti. Commissioned by the designer, the Bless Berlin team has created a relaxation corner with wallpaper, fur-lined hammocks and hanging chairs.
To those who yearn for a business ambience, Aisslinger delivers an atypical, unexpected area: experimental chairs, raised leather tables for laptops, with a canopy which can be lifted up and down. Next to it sits a small wooden castle standing on four feet, with a curtain: it’s called Shelter and it’s a creative sanctuary. Swing Sofa (designed by Aisslinger for Vitra in 2012 ) is a swing-chair which contrasts with the sofas, which are very office-oriented.
The ‘Bikini Island’ revolutionary composition (by Aisslinger for Moroso) offers a dynamic, multi-functional seating solution.
The hotel’s 149 rooms are located between the fourth and the ninth floor. Twilit corridors (‘the darker the corridor, the more surprising will the mood be when guests enter their room’, explains Werner Aisslinger), the only light (white neon) coming from the room numbers. Half of the Jungle area rooms face the zoo, and materials are natural, with warm colors, and wood plays a key role from the floor up to the open shelving in lieu of traditional wardrobes.
The other half of the rooms – the Urban ones – have concrete walls, black and white Yoshi Sislay murals, with navy and green accents: the result is a cool, 1950s ambience, austere but with its own warmth. ‘The bathroom is a hotel room’s exciting area’, according to Werner Aisslinger, ‘because it often offers the kind of experience you won’t find at home’. This is why 40% of a room’s budget has been allocated to the bathroom. We have free-standing bathtubs and sinks, flexible curtains acting as partitions and opening on to alcove-installed beds and motorbikes hanging from walls.
The 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin goes beyond the hotel concept, it brings up to the surface a traveler’s unexpressed needs and evokes the latent ones, within a habitat both unexpected and full of surprises.