More than just a hotel
The Urban Loft in Cologne is born out of creativity, culture and cosmopolitanism
Opened in 2020, the Urban Loft Cologne is a refreshing, young hotel concept located at the heart of Cologne’s vibrant multicultural Eigelstein district – considered to be where the city’s typical ‘Kölsch culture’ is at its most authentic. This new building, on the site of the former traditional Gaffel brewery, is also a venue for culture and pop-up events. The hotel door is open to everyone, connecting hospitality and gastronomy with the surrounding neighbourhood in a very straightforward way. “Urban Loft is more than just a hotel. Not only is it a habitable experience for travellers from all four corners of the world, but also a central meeting point for the locals,” underlines Frank Marrenbach, CEO and managing partner of Althoff Hotels, the Cologne-based developer and operator of the happening new hotel just a stone’s throw away from the cathedral. Its unconventional design and lifestyle concept is expressed through a curated mix of art and culture, cuisine and creativity,” according to Frank Marrenbach.
Althoff Hotels, in association with Münster-based architects Bolles & Wilson and interior designer Markus Hilzinger from Berlin, have managed to transform the building into an urban microcosm. An extension of the city to a certain extent, this microcosm stimulates the senses, while also remaining contemporary and puristic. Smart technology, seemingly tailor-made for the trendy target market, accompanies guests throughout their stay, anchoring the Urban Loft Cologne firmly in the digital age.
Where travellers and neighbours meet
The building’s 213 rooms are decorated in a warm and minimalist style that focuses on the essentials. The design masterfully integrates references to industrial culture. The white-painted brickwork behind the beds is echoed in the bathrooms with retro tiles reminiscent of train station architecture – a motif that alludes to Cologne’s nearby Central Station. It’s obvious what matters most in the bathrooms, too. Relaxed, authentic comfort – without any frills.
This is exactly what sets the Urban Loft’s puristic Bozz washbasin fittings apart, sourced from the Sauerland-based fittings specialist Kludi (www.kludi.com). With their uncompromising straightforwardness and precise lines, the single-lever mixers blend harmoniously with the clear, geometric design language of the bathroom architecture, where they add a timeless, elegant touch to the washbasins. The longer, gently downward curving spout lends the flow of water a natural shape. Its form is specifically designed to evoke the traditional water pump, the ‘archetype of all fittings’. “The fittings are the ultimate epitome of the Urban Loft Cologne: a modern and puristic design, stylish and practical. Seemingly simple, but outstanding quality,” says Marrenbach, explaining why the hotel opted for the ‘Smart Luxury’ fittings. Another advantage of Kludi Bozz is that it preserves resources, with a maximum flow volume of just five litres per minute. The fittings are the perfect complement to the Urban Loft’s sustainability concept, which the hotel implements on all seven floors – including in the kitchen, the energy-efficient building technology and the ‘green’ shampoo in the bathrooms.
The plumbing specialists from Waning Anlagenbau in Vreden, whom the general contrac-tor Bauwens commissioned to install the bathrooms, were impressed by another outstanding characteristic of the chosen fittings. “In hotels, it is particularly important to comply with sound insulation regulations,” emphasises project manager Georg Gross. “We assessed that on all floors – and everything was incredibly quiet.” Not surprising, given that Kludi Bozz fittings comply with sound insulation class I standards.
An open space and curated art
The Urban Loft Cologne does not fit the usual ‘business and city hotel’ mould. Features such as the app-based check-in, the changing, curated art adorning the walls and the multifunctional area in the foyer – the ‘loft’ – fascinate guests on many different levels. Conceived as a ‘playing field for ideas’ – according to Frank Marrenbach – “this is where ‘new Cologne’ is going to happen.” Spaces for contemporary co-working, a pop-up shop, a quiet zone and restaurant area... everything will merge. This open space will also be a venue for cultural events in the future. Here, it is a matter of ‘Open doors. Open minds. The beds are just a bonus.’
The large windows on the ground floor create an inviting level of transparency, attracting attention towards the warm and bright colour scheme inside. One literal highlight of the building is the rooftop terrace with a view of the cathedral, which can also be admired from many of the rooms. “The interior is a playful mélange of references to digital colour codes within an open, modern loft,” says interior designer Markus Hilzinger. Guests also enjoy a digital experience in the 17–20 m2 ‘Loft’ rooms, where an app controls the music, light and room temperature depending on individual guest preferences. Perhaps it is not surprising, therefore, to picture the Urban Loft’s clientele as a young, lifestyle-oriented crowd, keen on big city life.
“Urban Loft Cologne”
Location: Cologne, Eigelstein 41
Developer and operator: Althoff Hotels, Cologne '
Architects: Bolles+Wilson, Münster
Interior designer: Markus Hilzinger, Berlin
General contractor: Bauwens, Cologne
Bathrooms and plumbing: Waning Anlagenbau, Vreden
Completion: September 2020
Kludi – The Sauerland-based fittings specialist
Kludi GmbH & Co. KG, a family business founded in Germany’s Sauerland region in 1926, represents almost 100 years of experience in the development and manufacture of high-quality bathroom and kitchen fittings. As a long-established fittings specialist, we are committed to producing products that combine outstanding ‘Made in Germany’ manufacturing quality, maximum functionality, innovative technologies and top-class design in a unique way. Kludi has never ceased to drive product development within the bathroom and kitchen sectors with its groundbreaking solutions. The Menden-based SME has some 170 inventions and 100 patents to its name, as well as numerous prestigious design and innovation awards. In 2022, Kludi was named one of the TOP 100 Innovators in the German SME sector.
Kludi is committed to responsible sales. Forming mutually respectful commercial relationships, Kludi is a reliable partner in the HVAC and skilled trade industries, working in association with these customers to develop solutions that make their working days significantly easier and ensure their future sustainability. These solutions include particularly installation-friendly products, a focused, clearly organised bathroom and kitchen portfolio, and innovative solutions that improve the efficiency of business processes.
The Kludi Group employs around 900 people in its sales and production companies, located in eleven different countries across Europe and Asia. Kludi fittings are manufactured in the company’s fully integrated main manufacturing site in Menden, as well as in Hornstein (Austria), Diósd (Hungary) and Ras Al Khaimah (United Arab Emirates). From here, they are exported to over 100 different countries around the world. Kludi has been part of the RAK Ceramics Group since 2022.
You can find out more about Kludi, the Sauerland-based fittings specialist, at www.kludi.com