Tunneln Hotel is the transformation of an existing hotel - the oldest in Malmö - into a recreational complex including a hotel, two restaurants and a piano bar. I wanted to achieve a sense of drama and lavish luxury for a sophisticated and somewhat blasé clientele.
The magnificence of a nineteenth century hotel in a fourteenth century building, called for nostalgic décor that would be reminiscent of an era with a deep sense of decadence. It should not be only a place to sleep, but a place that would provide guests with an exciting, unforgettable sense of la dolce vita.
The design solution respects the building’s basic structure but treats spaces and surfaces as a theatrical scenography. The added elements such as columns and vaults look solid at first sight, but their quality is not hidden from the observer: columns appear from the back as semi-circles; reflections in mirrors simulate additional spaces. These dramatic, illusory characteristics are accentuated throughout the whole project, with a range of different elements and styles being applied. This eclectic mixture achieves a complicated unity by way of repetition, both in reality and in the mirrored surfaces. As the observer moves through the complex, they find new, unanticipated situations.
The ceiling itself is an enormous plastic composition: a base of mirror tiles under which evolve opaque, aluminium vine leaves and heavy, polished brass grapes. The mirror ceiling covers the foyer and the hotel lobby, reflecting columns and lights. A leopard-skin carpeted staircase leads to the lobby.
The elevator door is disguised as a broken temple portico in brass, polished aluminium and mirror tiles. The broken columns symbolise the rupture of the classical order. The brass and glass doors lead to restaurant Café Blanc where the ancient wooden floor is partially covered with the same leopard-skin rug found on the staircase. The windows are curtained with thick, gold, ancient silk.
Tunneln Hotel takes you back to a time of splendour and drama that otherwise only exists in a borrowed memory from a film, a novel or a story that my grandmother once told me.