More than a place to stay, the best ho­tels are a rea­son to travel. Here, we look at the top de­sign­ers who cre­ate that five-star feel­ing

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Who are they? Signe Bind­slev Hen­rik­sen and Pe­ter Bundgaard Rüt­zou both grad­u­ated from the Royal Dan­ish Academy of Fine Arts school of ar­chi­tec­ture. Hav­ing started out in­di­vid­u­ally, they joined forces and set up Space Copen­hagen in 2005. ‘Copen­hagen is a small city, so as part of the same net­work, we knew a lot about each other,’ says Hen­rik­sen. ‘ We were both pas­sion­ate about ar­chi­tec­ture, de­sign and ma­te­ri­als.’ Their first col­lab­o­ra­tion was a show­room for flooring com­pany Di­ne­sen. ‘It al­lowed us to see whether we would ben­e­fit from work­ing to­gether or just kill each other!’ laughs Hen­rik­sen. Luck­ily, the project was a suc­cess, and clients now in­clude Fritz Hansen, Ge­org Jensen and Gubi. What’s their style? ‘Af­ter graduation, we were part of a group who all held the same ideas; ev­ery­thing was min­i­mal­ist with a twist. In the real world, we felt that limited our cu­rios­ity, so we be­gan to ap­proach things in a dif­fer­ent way,’ says Hen­rik­sen. ‘ We’re lucky to part­ner with chefs, fash­ion de­sign­ers – peo­ple who have their own cre­ative uni­verse.’ Now, they re­fer to their style as ‘ po­etic Mod­ernism’; a con­tem­po­rary de­sign lan­guage paired with a sen­si­tiv­ity to the way peo­ple re­ally live. ‘Ev­ery­thing we cre­ate re­volves around the hu­man fac­tor. We’re al­ways think­ing about the im­pact space has on peo­ple,’ says Rüt­zou. Which ho­tels have they de­signed? The duo’s first ma­jor ho­tel project was New York’s 11 Howard, lo­cated in a for­mer Hol­i­day Inn in the heart of Man­hat­tan, which they com­pleted in 2016. ‘It was an in­ter­est­ing learn­ing process, be­cause we weren’t able to change the con­fig­u­ra­tion of the ho­tel’s 250 rooms, which are all dif­fer­ent. It was a huge puz­zle,’ says Hen­rik­sen. ‘ We didn’t want to cre­ate a con­cept ho­tel, but wanted it to feel like home. Not nec­es­sar­ily Scan­di­na­vian, but with Scan­di­na­vian val­ues in mind, and a dif­fer­ent type of lux­ury from the kind you usu­ally see in the US, which is a lot more over-the-top and bling. We wanted to cre­ate lux­ury that would still have soul in 20 years’ time.’ In or­der to achieve this aim, the pair in­tro­duced de­sign pieces rem­i­nis­cent of res­i­den­tial in­te­ri­ors. In­stead of a chan­de­lier, the lobby is home to a huge sculp­ture by Alexan­der Calder. The duo was also com­mis­sioned to ren­o­vate Arne Ja­cob­sen’s iconic Radis­son Col­lec­tion Ho­tel, Royal Copen­hagen. ‘The build­ing’s a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of Mod­ernist ar­chi­tec­ture, so it was cru­cial to de­cide what we should pre­serve and what should be re­vi­talised and brought for­ward to op­ti­mise the ho­tel’s func­tion­al­ity,’ says Hen­rik­sen. What are they work­ing on now? Eight ho­tel projects around the world, in­clud­ing five in Copen­hagen, one in Lon­don, one in Por­tu­gal and another in Tokyo. ‘The Por­tu­gal project is a 19-suite ho­tel in his­toric Porto, whereas Tokyo is a mod­ern struc­ture by Rem Kool­haas,’ says Hen­rik­sen. ‘They are all in di­verse lo­ca­tions, and all re­quire a very dif­fer­ent ap­proach.’ spacecph.dk ➤

‘Our style is po­etic Mod­ernism; we want to cre­ate lux­ury that will still have soul in 20 years’ time’


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