Hotel 25H Hafencity Hamburg

Conni Kotte im Gespräch mit Christoph Hoffmann

How do you personally define “interior design”? What significance does it have for you?

In our hotels interior design is next to the software, the staff and the experiences our guests walk away with. But, the most important factors of our hotel are character, soul and a sense of uniqueness.

Just like all the hotels in the 25hours group, originality is the main concept of the new HafenCity hotel. What does this mean in terms of your interior fittings? When you establish a hotel like this, what aspects must be special? Most importantly, what makes a ‚Lifestyle-Hotel‘?

Essentially, the first step is to plan the concept of the hotel, to create the story which will be told. Not until the history of the house is written – almost like a script – can you start thinking about the aesthetics and design. In many hotels you have a lot of beautiful design objects, but sometimes there‘s no flow or feeling, they omit the identity of the house. In these hotels you can quickly feel like you‘re in a furniture showroom, there‘s no “heritage” or soul. In our 25hours hotel in the HafenCity, the house has a particular individuality and diversity which is owed to the objects and furniture that Conni Kotti has collected from all over the world. Our guests are always surprised and our hotel takes them on a small journey of adventure and discovery. When people refer to ‚Lifestyle‘: this notion is often over-stressed and pointlessly used. We connect it to a particular style, a globally orientated but locally influenced community – this community goes hand in hand with taste and a certain way of life.

How did you decide to work with Conni Kotte? What do you especially like about her and her team?

Conni Kotte is strongly anchored in Hamburg‘ s creative and design scene. To us, this local reference is very important because, at the end of the day, when guest come to our hotels, we want them to experience the areas vibe and meet some local protagonists. We felt from the beginning that Conni was excellent in collaboration with our interior designers Stephen Williams Associates and other creative collectives. We feel that the key to a successful hotel is listening and understanding that there‘s no sense in sitting alone in a room and trying to design something by yourself. A hotel is not a rigid object, it needs good operational content. This content is developed by a combination of hotel and creative teams, such as Conni‘s. In reality, this collaborative work translates into the amazing aesthetics in which the guests can observe. It is crucial that there is constructive communication when these kinds of projects are undertaken and Conni Kotti and her team corresponded in a professional and efficient manner at all times.

How important is confidence in such an ambitious project? How do you decide which ideas stay and which must go?

Trust is very important, as no one will know beforehand, what the result will be at the end of the day. The way forward might be partially rocky with many design-related decisions been made quickly and sometimes from a distance. The decision of what is allowed in and what is not, is on one hand naturally based on budget constraints but zhen also relying heavily on common sense and good design taste. We then as Hoteliers, try as much as possible to leave the final decisions to the Design Team allowing the design process to be left unresctricted. This is not always easy, as „taste“ is a highly emotional topic.

Authenticity is a big Connie Kotte theme, as well as a great factor of your work. This is evident in the charm and playfulness of the ‚seaman‘s house‘ setting of the Hafen- City 25hours hotel. How authentic can, or should, you be as a hotel owner?

The maximum. And this is not only regarding design issues. People do not act sincere – and is sincerity ultimately nothing other than authenticity – this can quickly be seen through in the relationship between the Client and the Service Provider. There is a similarity between this and authentic design.

What is your favourite room/favourite design piece from Connie Kotte in the new 25hours and why?

There are many favourites. One worth mentioning is a carpet pile in our country kitchen and bar, where its not so much about the design, but the story behind it. I personally dont know anything comparable, where one can find themselves taken to a stack of Persian carpets, a Fondue Chinoise and good bottle of red wine. At first we were a little irritated at the stack of expensive rugs, where only the top carpet could be visually appreciated. But maybe that´s it´s essence.

What do you imagine being the hotel of the future?

A place that invites you to enjoy, discover, communicate, a source of inspiration and a place to find a piece of home too.

And privately? What design piece is your personal favourite? Which do you already have or would you gladly take home?

I have no favorites. Everything that evokes a good feeling and has a recognizable origin – brings a story with it – is welcome in our home.