The Student Hotel Maastricht inhabits the former Sphinx Sanitair factory which made its last avocado suite in 2006. Sphinx is a brand which is synonymous with every home in the Netherland’s own porcelain throne and is the employer of thousands of workers around Maastricht.

As a listed historic building, the preservation of the concrete interior and grass-green painted metal beams was required. The Student Hotel was gifted with the Sphinx pattern and ceramic archive as well as the iconic suite palettes from which to draw inspiration. Based on this, a scheme which breathed colour and youth back into the building was created, illuminating its rich heritage. The palette lifts the spirits while standing as a tribute to the building’s history and an ode to its bright future.

Colour is one of the most instantly recognisable hallmarks of any Student Hotel interior, as the aim is to brighten up the day for guests by reflecting the relentless energy of students. At the same time, the designs must suit every mood, occasion and time of the day. 

In Maastricht, the required preservation of a cold, concrete space is enlivened by colour schemes taken directly from Sphinx Sanitair’s trademark coloured porcelain bathroom suite. The muted brights were manipulated to complement the concrete and northern light which streams into the communal spaces throughout the day. At night, warm pools of light deepen the palette to jewel tones. Semi-transparent banners feature blown up patterns and paintings from the Sphinx archive, further deepening the historical connection to the space alongside playful large format quotes in the hotel’s unmistakable tone of voice.

A hugely varied material palette adds depth and interest - a deep pile fake fur in Sphinx candy-pink covers a set of armchairs, whilst another wall is covered floor to ceiling in high-gloss white tiles punctuated by another archive pattern in matte white. In the sleeping areas, the glass lift and concrete shafts get a shot of colour every time the bright yellow elevators pass through. In the bedrooms, the concrete walls are preserved but focus is given to the protected grass-green metal beams for a calming bedroom scheme of complimentary navy, grey and yellow.