A GROWING PARIS-BASED HOTEL CHAIN TAPS DESIGNER PATRICK NORGUET TO GIVE FORM TO ITS STYLISH YET HOMEY ETHOS
In today’s multi-option hotel landscape, centrally located private rentals are battling it out with both high-end boutiques and corporate chains. So stepping into the fray requires a certain edge in order to entice travellers with more than just a clean room and complimentary coffee. Though a relatively new kid on the block, Okko Hotels (the brand, helmed by president and founder Olivier Devys, opened its first location in 2014 in the French city of Nantes) seems to be on to something, cornering the four-star urban hotel market with super-stylish rooms and coveted locations in city centres across France.
While part of Okko Hotels’ appeal is its streamlined app-based check-in/check-out service and conveniently positioned locations – its eighth outpost opened last year in Strasbourg – the chain’s philosophy goes beyond offering modern conveniences, placing emphasis on unique experiences through designs that feel familiar without being monotonous.
To bring this approach to life, Devys turned to French designer Patrick Norguet, whose now-iconic Rainbow Chair (acquired by Cappellini after Norguet debuted it at the Paris Furniture Fair in 1999) encapsulates his signature use of sophisticated colours and pure forms.
The challenge with Okko was to develop a cohesive, recognizable brand that also feels fresh at every encounter. “In this world of standardization, we must flee repetition,” says Norguet. “I approach each hotel as a unique place – a blank page – and imagine scenarios that facilitate the customer experience.”
One common denominator of all the locations is the room size: a mere 18 square metres in which guests sleep, rest and work. Squeezing function into such tight spaces without compromising comfort took serious planning. “We spent a lot of time studying and integrating the functions needed there,” Norguet says.
What helped was Norguet’s mandate to
“be fair, not fashionable,” to find “a balance between function and well-being where the human remains the heart of the subject.” To that end, a palette of refined yet playful colours and shapely furnishings – including pieces of his own, such as the awardwinning Fox chair for Pedrali – work together to create environments that feel both timeless and contemporary, where guests can feel at home during every stay. patricknorguet.com, okkohotels.com
ABOVE: Each Okko Hotels location features cozy Club rooms in lieu of standard reception desks. Like this one in Strasbourg, they offer guests snacks, reading materials and a business corner.
LEFT: Though small, the chain’s 18-squaremetre rooms feel spacious thanks to a light, airy palette.