Paris, France| 2019
The 25hours Hotel has found yet another home, this time in Paris, France. The French branch, called 25hours Terminus Nord, has opened its doors just opposite the central Gare du Nord train station.
In the mid-19th century, Napoleon III commissioned Baron Georges-Eugène Haussmann to redesign the French capital. Haussmann transformed the face of the city with wide avenues, lavish architecture and countless new boulevards. The historic building now housing the hotel follows the architectural example of this time and serves as a stage for the new hotel-happening.
We were commissioned with the illustrious task of breathing fresh life into this remarkable location and once again were trusted to design a hotel that is surprising and offers guests a bit of an adventure. This time, guests are invited to explore the vibrant neighbourhood of the 10th arrondissement: a melting pot of different cultures.
The Client: Four Hoteliers That Truly Understand Cities
The 25hours Hotel Group has developed hotels whose designs alone are reason enough to travel. Guests with cosmopolitan and urban flair appreciate and value the thirteen hotels that make it their mission to embody and reflect the essence of a city through creative design. The 25hours Hotels spark the imagination during an overnight stay, with highly individual, functional, beautiful and unique designs. These are always different – but consistently great – creations for both the guests and the location. As a result, since 2003, the four partners of 25hours have met with great success and strongly influenced the development of the hotel branch as a whole.
The Task: A Design Concept That Embodies the Vibe of the Neighbourhood
Every day, half a million people pass through the Gare du Nord station. The 10th arrondissement surrounding Europe’s most frequented train station is shaped by its dynamism, but it’s the multicultural population that gives the Parisian district its vibrant and diverse character. Thus, the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord is a declaration of love for the vibrant spirit of this district and its inhabitants. Local heroes serve as the inspiration for the interior design concept.
When renovating historic buildings, one usually faces drawbacks of one sort or another; old structures are always a challenge. In terms of functionality, it was crucial to renovate the building to meet current fire safety regulations and escape route requirements, for example, but also to update technical features to meet modern standards.
In addition to the 237 rooms, the hotel features a reception and a snack kiosk on the ground floor, as well as a co-working area, a bar and a restaurant on the 1st floor. Adjacent to the restaurant, two private dining rooms offer more exclusive areas to host parties or to hold meetings.
The public areas in particular have experienced some of most notable changes. The entrance area housing the lobby and reception was opened up significantly. A spacious new stairway was built to connect the ground floor with the public areas on the 1st floor, leading guests to the bar and the restaurant as well as to the rooms.
On top of redesigning the space to meet functional requirements for the operation of the hotel, it was important for the design team to incorporate the history of the building.
During the early stages of the renovation, original ornate ceilings with elegant crown moulding were discovered and preserved, adding a great touch of the original spirit of the building to the rooms.
Needless to say, the design is also true to the guiding principle of the 25hours Hotels – “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen none.”
The Idea: A Tribute to a Wild Mixture Of Cultures
The starting point for our design was an inspiring tour through the surrounding neighbourhood, with its buzzing streets and multi-cultural population. The 1980s saw the last big wave of immigrants from Africa and India settling in Paris. Today, the district – which is also popular with the Parisian creative scene – offers a vast variety of fashionable bars, organic supermarkets and chic designer shops. You can also get cornrows and braids of all kinds at bustling hair salons or make a brief stop at one of the many unpretentious eateries, which arguably offer the best curry in town.
The Parisian Hotel is a tribute to its surrounding district and the people who shape the identity of this area. It is a true melting pot of vastly different cultures from all over the world; people from Sri Lanka, Ivory Coast, Algeria, Senegal and Pakistan bring a vibrant spirit to the streets of the 10th arrondissement, straight to the doorstep of the hotel. The interior reflects these rich cultures and brings the flair of the lively streets into the hotel.
The Implementation: A Quirky Interplay of Cultural Backgrounds
While developing the concept, different approaches towards reflecting the neighbourhood’s multifaceted identity were contemplated. The idea of creating room styles for each cultural group was abandoned, but quickly gave way to the idea of an exciting interplay: the room designs were based on five colour schemes, each consisting of a unique mix of patterns, colours and materials. Custom wallpaper with patterns of African origin are mixed with other ethnic-inspired colour combinations and patterns. Pendant lamps made out of recycled PET plastic bottles combine traditional weaving techniques from different corners of the world, complementing the vibrant rooms. Pillows and bedspreads made out of African wax print fabrics hold a special meaning for the hotel: the items are handmade in Togo by an association that supports young local women by helping them establish a secure livelihood for themselves and their children. Instead of closets, custom trolleys were designed for the hotel rooms that allow guests to store and hang their clothing. They are inspired by classic hotel trolleys and allude to garment rails used in Paris, the fashion capital, to get prèt-a-porter pieces to the defilées. Welcoming the guests as they enter the rooms, they display illuminated messages such as „oh là là“ and “très chic”.
In the bar, La Sape, a movement of Congolese dandies – well-dressed men who appropriated and transformed European formal clothing – was decisive in determining the style. Both the Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Élégantes (Sape) and African record labels have strong roots in the neighbourhoods around the Gare du Nord. Thus, the interior is also inspired by African music from the 1960s-1980s. Old album covers and and art revolving around the Sape movement are on display. In keeping with this, the bar is masculine and elegant, embellished with patterned fabrics reminiscent of the sapeurs’ suits and clothing.
As the bar focuses on the male world, the restaurant is a tribute to women from a wide range of cultures. The colours in this area are softer and the art in this space features more feminine themes. Cozy lounge chairs upholstered with velvet in pastel tones, pink marble and copper paired with oak parquet flooring and vintage kilims with floral motifs – in this exquisite ambiance the famous French „Savoir-Vivre“ is interpreted in an entirely new and informal way.
The signage concept pays tribute to local street art, which is very present in Paris, especially in the adjacent neighbourhood. The room numbers are a nod to “Invader”, a Parisian street art artist, known for mounting space invaders in the form of mosaic tiles on buildings all over the world. For those with an eye for detail, they can be discovered throughout the streets of Paris.
The public spaces like the reception and the coffee-to-go shop, both located on the ground floor, are designed in the style of a large kiosk with newspapers, postcards, sweets, and all sorts of knick-knacks on offer. This is another playful way in which the buzzing atmosphere of the train station and the busy streets of the neighbourhood is reflected in the hotel.
In summary, with its original concept, its layered history, and its modern renovation, Terminus Nord’s multifaceted nature not only reflects the 10th arrondissement, but also the city of Paris as a whole.
The Success: Bonjour Paris!
The stretch around the Gare du Nord is very popular as a hotel location and is also highly favoured by guests around the world. The property itself is not at all „ready-made/off the rack“, nor is the 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord what you would usually expect from a standard hotel. It is a central gathering place and brings a fresh wind to the whole area. With its latest coup, the first hotel outside of German-speaking locations, the 25hours Group’s success confirms the appeal of their original, creative approach to hospitality design. To use Audrey Hepburn’s words: „Paris is always a good idea.“
DREIMETA GmbH & Co. KG / Ernst-Reuter-Platz 10 / 86150 Augsburg / T +49 821 455 795-0 / F +49 821 508 325 8 / www.dreimeta.com