Fotograf: Stefano Candito, Loeb Sarli Architekten
The Hotel Basel is located in the historic center one block away from the Marktplatz. It consists of two structures joined in the 1990’s, one from the 18th Century and one from 1975 designed as a combination of cast in-situ structural elements, and pre-cast concrete panels. The complete renovation and remodeling of all rooms, hallways, and lobby was executed in twelve weeks from beginning to end of construction.
Pre-fabrication and assembly. The ambition to shorten construction time and the closing of the hotel to a minimum, led us to conceive the design as a system of pre-fabricated modules easily assembled on site. All conventional partitions inside the rooms were demolished during the first week of construction. Panels containing all necessary plumbing lines and wiring pre-installed at the shop replaced them. Aware of the risk that the result could appear overly schematic or prosaic, we placed a great deal of effort to make the visual and tactile experience dominate the design.
Design as parenthesis. Guests come and go from and to different places, with different frequencies, and in search of diametrically opposed things. What is certain is that they are not from Basel, and that a stay in the hotel symbolizes a parenthesis in the countless sequence of overlapping events in life.
Lobby. The design of the hotel slowly unfolds to the guest. The lobby was transformed to create a more generous and inviting space. Guests can now stay in a lounge area with framed views of the historic buildings on the Marktplatz and the Spalenberg, rendering them part of the lobby. A strong horizontal base made of oak contains the reception desks, staircase, and a monumental light fixture. The articulation of the light fixture is evocative of the heavy timber frames of a number of neighboring buildings dating back to medieval times. Textured glass produced using colored molten glass casted on sand molds filters the light. At night, this glowing element provides an atmosphere to the interior as well as a subtle presence on the Spalenberg, blurring the distinction between interior and exterior space.
Room concept. The objective was to convey an atmosphere of serenity, comfort and ampleness. The bathroom is where the most unexpected feature of the design appears. A colorful operable wooden screen separates the bathing area from the bedroom. After a long day of work, or sightseeing in the city, the tub, reminiscent of a spa will set the mood. The colors of the screen resemble the hues of outer space photographs of the Milky Way. Round openings with a 2.8cm diameter allow light to go through the screen as stars twinkling in the night. There are several signals in the design that would invite guests to be displaced. Whether this happens on a conscious or subconscious level is irrelevant. The intention is to stimulate guests to wander, making their stay a meaningful parenthesis in their daily routines.