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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 fittings specialist

Kludi GmbH & Co. KG, based in the Westphalian town of Menden, is a German specialist in the field of bathroom and kitchen tap and shower systems. Kludi’s brand claim “Water in Perfection” defines its ambition to create top quality. The bathroom fitting range is based on two key elements. It offers clearly defined styles under the heading “Smart Luxury”, while “Pure Function” combines solid quality with great practicality in functional fittings. Matching “Shower Dreams” concepts are available for both bathroom ranges. In the field of kitchen fittings, Kludi presents a wide range of products in the “Kitchen Competence” series.

For almost 100 years, the internationally active family company has been influencing the use of water in the household with groundbreaking fitting concepts and innovative solutions for kitchens and bathrooms. More than 1,000 staff members in the Kludi group develop, produce and market products for specialist trade and craft companies in numerous countries around the world. From its headquarters in Menden, the Kludi company group manages 11 international sales organisations. The products are manufactured in three European production facilities. The company runs its own production facility in the United Arab Emirates as a joint venture.

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