Does IntercityHotel’s new design concept say it best when it says nothing at all?

GERMANY – All over the world, hotels are scrambling to grab a slice of the multi-billion-dollar tourism pie. One strategy is to have a ‘thing’ – the more Instagrammable, the better – whether that’s an underwater restaurant, surreal architecture, fancy-themed suites, or a building made of ice.

However, the new design concept by Matteo Thun & Partners for IntercityHotel flies in the face of the industry’s gimmick rush. ‘IntercityHotel 2.0 is designed to endure, with an aesthetic and technical lifespan longer than a decade,’ declares the design team. It’s an act of defiance against what IntercityHotel’s managing director Joachim Marusczyk dismisses as ‘superficial, short-lived WOW-effects’.

Instead, Matteo Thun attempts to respond to fast-fashion, constant-consumption trends with simplicity and sustainability. The IntercityHotel 2.0 concept is ‘zero design’ – reducing the transportation of materials and hotel staff, energy consumption, and waste to zero.

If IntercityHotel’s stated goal of ‘aesthetic and technical durability’ sounds like marketing spin for not wanting to spend money on updating their hotels, it might actually be a good thing. Environmental sustainability is a growing concern, particularly amongst millennials – who have been shown to make their consumer choices based on a brand’s ethical values and sustainability practices.

Millennials might be image-conscious, but they don’t need a hotel to change its lamps every year. By removing IntercityHotel 2.0 from the zeitgeist and designing for forever (or at least for a decade), Matteo Thun aligns the concept with IntercityHotel’s brand proposition of value for money.

‘We’re trying to understand our contemporary world without fast-moving lifestyles or platitudes… Many hotels pursue a “design modernity”. For us, design is not just something visual, nor a matter of zeitgeist,’ states Matteo Thun. ‘We are constantly looking for timeless design.’

The IntercityHotel 2.0 design concept is in the process of being rolled out, and has been implemented in the Braunschweig and Duisburg branches.

Liked this article?
We've got more for you

Sign up to our newsletter for weekly updates. Or view the archive.