Coming of Age
The new 25hours Hotel Indre By in Copenhagen is a riot of expressive artwork, colour and pattern thanks to Swedish designer Martin Brudnizki
In the centre of Copenhagen — by the ‘Round Tower’ observatory with its spiral ramp that Tsar Peter the Great is said to have ridden up on horseback — is an elegant four-storey building in limestone, slate and glass. Dating from the 19th century, it’s part of a complex that has housed an office building, a Royal Copenhagen porcelain factory and a print works and paper mill. For most locals, however, it’s the former home of Copenhagen University’s faculties of law and theology. And it’s this that 25hours Hotels took as its starting point for its first hotel in Denmark, 25hours Hotel Indre By: the notion of university as a coming of age; the crucial stage that determines the direction a life will take; when a desire for knowledge comes up against a whirlwind of emotions.
To bring this concept to life, the hotel group called on the Swedish design star Martin Brudnizki, the son of a German stylist and Polish engineer, who studied at the American University in London before founding his studio, MBDS, in 2000. Based in London and New York, Brudnizki has spent the past two decades creating glamorous interiors for high-end restaurants, private members’ clubs and hotels— from Annabel’s in London to Soho House in Miami. In 2015, he co-founded a range of furniture, lighting and accessories, And Objects. His feel-good interiors favour “a love of layering different materials, textures and styles”; ultimately, he believes they should make people happy.
25hours Hotel Indre By was the studio’s first project in Denmark, and its youthful outlook made it a “particularly joyous one to work on,” says Brudnizki. Responding to the concept of campus living and the lifestyles of “digital nomads who hop from city to city living and working, but also want to be surrounded by comfort and style,” MBDS designed 243 rooms in one of two styles, Passion and Knowledge, along with a series of multifunctional open-plan spaces including a reading room and a co-working space, as well as a wellbeing area with a fitness studio and an outdoor sauna. The trademark MBDS banquettes and rows of tables set with little bar lights are still very much in attendance, but the layering has been taken to the max. As Brudnizki puts it, “We’ve really pushed the boundaries with this design, mixing high and low materials and incorporating expressive artwork, colours and patterns.” From the Restrooms inspired by the colourful townhouses of Copenhagen’s waterfront to the Vinyl Room and Opinion meeting room—a two-toned debate chamber—the result is, in Brudnizki’s words, “a lot of fun”—inclusive, collaborative, irreverent, upbeat.
We really pushed the boundaries with the design.Martin Brudnizki
“We always try to ground a project in its location. The colourful buildings of Copenhagen emanate warmth and playfulness and we wanted to bring this into the hotel. It’s a riot of different colours, but it hangs together peacefully because each colour has a similar tonality.“Buildings are another starting point. In this case we were presented with a fascinating building that has had a number of functions, which gave us the opportunity to be creative. In the reception area, we designed a sculpture crafted from books that refers to its history as a paper mill. In the F*ck Everything Meeting Room we used decorative wallpaper and flooring as well as vintage furniture to reference the 16th-century office building. And in the Knowledge rooms, the artwork, mural-style wallpaper and objets represent the discoveries of [the Danish astronomer] Tycho Brahe and the explorations of Charles Darwin.
“We took a layered approach to the design process, ensuring that each space had its own identity within a shared narrative. So we used lots of bold graphic patterns and colours while creating a harmonious thread through the use of artwork, antique and vintage finds, and planting, which features across the whole site."
In the Knowledge rooms, the artwork, mural-style wallpaper and objects reference the astrological discoveries of Tycho Brahe and the explorations of Charles Darwin.Martin Brudnizki
“Several designs and fabrics are unique to 25hours Hotel Indre By. We worked with Pierre Frey on a bespoke pattern for curtains in the public areas and with the Danish supplier Thonet on dining chairs that they brought back from their archive especially for the hotel and produced in a unique colourway and fabric that is only found here. The lighting and vintage pieces are Danish and the artwork in the bedrooms was all produced by Danish artists and creatives including Sophie Klerk and Jacoba Niepoort.
“Most of the furniture and all the soft furnishings in the public areas, as well as the joinery in the bedrooms, are bespoke designs by MBDS. We also designed the twisted wooden tables in the restaurant, the long banquette with built-in streetlamp lighting in the courtyard, and the banquette that wraps around the book sculpture in reception.”
“The seventh NENI in the 25hours Hotel group offers Lebanese sharing dishes from Israeli chef Haya Molcho in a dining room and courtyard with a retractable roof. The murals reference Tel Aviv. “We love murals as they create a sense of illusion,” says Brudnizki. “It’s as though you are breaking down a wall and entering into another world entirely.”
Melissa Forti, the Roman-born author of The Italian Baker, specialises in organic cakes and pastries that combine “long-forgotten Italian recipes” with global influences. For her first café for 25hours, named after the belle époque Italian stage actress Eleonora Duse, MBDS designed a “modern Italian-style café, featuring heavily upholstered lounge chairs with a tapestry detail.”
Like its namesakes in Germany, the Copenhagen Boilerman was conceived with Hamburg bar entrepreneur Jörg Meyer. It takes its name from the ‘high-ball’ signal on American railroads: when the ball was raised, the driver knew he was running late and would ask his boilerman to stoke the furnace. The long games tables are bespoke designs by MBDS.