What interior design can do on a shoestring
Hamburg is the most popular destination in Germany for city tourists, ahead of Berlin and Munich. According to the Culture Senate and Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, some four million guests visited the Hanseatic City in 2008, more than a few on a relatively low budget.
Hotelier Kai Hollmann had this target group specifically in mind when he launched his ‘Superbude’ project. His idea was a hostel for backpackers but the question was: would it pay? The concept was overhauled and the result is Superbude, a combination of hotel and hostel.
Augsburg-based Büro 3meta were commissioned to develop the concept including naming it. Their task was to design a rather different but inexpensive maritime interior.
It hits you immediately you walk in the door – the tables and chairs of thick rope are evocative of the Reeperbahn and the ships in the harbour. Across the way, in the Kitchenclub, the stools are made from two beer barrels from cult brewery Astra, the kitchen furniture from tea crates and a toaster features the FC St. Pauli skull.
“These witty ideas are something to talk about, a discussion point”, Armin Fischer of 3meta explaines. Their efforts paid off. Last year, Superbude won the European Design Hotel Award in the ‘Café, Bar, Nightclub or Lounge’ category.
Certainly the Lounge is as interesting as the rest of the house. The sofas are made from upholstered Europallets, covered with donated jeans. What’s strange about this is that everyone who donated a pair of jeans was allowed to attend the opening in April 2008, with the result that competitors who donated an old pair of trousers were able to secure an invitation for their representatives.
At this year’s international tourist fair ITB Berlin, the Superbude was once again awarded a prize, this time in the category “hotel business”. So it is with good reason that the Superbude has been 80 percent full since its opening.
Although manager Jörn Hoppe knows that he has events like the “Hafengeburtstag” [a festival held on the anniversary of inauguration of the port] und Cruise Days to thank, although the extremely relaxed ambiance plays a part. We greet guests with a handshake and call them by their first names“, says Hoppe.
The concept revamp has paid off. The result is a colourful mix of guests. Superbude does attract backpackers, who share the big rooms, paying only Euro 16 for a bed but it also attracts families who appreciate being left to their own devices after breakfast at the Kitchenclub and can use the washing machines for free. Guests include musicians performing at venues like the Markthalle and even business people during the week. So it seems Superbude is super for everyone.
Photos 1 © Superbude
Photos 2, 3 and 4 © Bettina McDowell