Reichshof Hotel, Germany

March 3, 2016

German practice Felsch Lighting Design planned and executed the new lighting scheme in Hilton’s first European hotel of the Curio Collection in Hamburg, Hotel Reichshof. Working closely with Event Hotel Group, German interior designers JOI Design and Felsch Lighting Design worked with the building’s historical interior and physical structures comprised of rich materials and colours, to create a lighting scheme to match and accentuate the hotel’s grand interior.

Event Hotel Group required a lighting scheme for the interior and exterior that would blend coherently with adjacent listed heritage buildings such as the Hamburger Kunsthalle museum and the Schauspielhaus theatre. The design brief was to create a “spectacular understatement,” as Felsch Lighting Design’s founder Markus Felsch called it, “typical of Hamburg mentality. It was to be luxurious and traditional, yet modern and timeless.

“Two groups of luminaires were incorporated in the lighting design of the hotel,” explained Felsch. “Luminaires that support the 1920’s style included visible fixtures with distinctive and expressive form, and that clearly blend with the interior design concept. The second group included luminaires that emphasise the architectural features, which were almost invisible fixtures, there to create a calm yet spectacular lighting.”

Felsch Lighting Design used its “practical yet slick” style to work with the glamorous yet understated 1920’s style of the hotel. Using their expertise to make strong decisions in highlighting “the real hidden treasures” of the hotel, or choosing to “drop odd design features of the past.”

The basic light level throughout the hotel is achieved through track-mounted spotlights, which are recessed in the ceiling and invisible to the viewer, allowing the decorative pieces to steal the show. Entering through the hotel’s lobby, the team set out to illuminate the vertical surfaces in the lobby of the hotel to emphasise the spaciousness of the area, thereby elongating the room by drawing light from top to bottom. The floor of the entrance hall was illuminated to provide a comfortable and safe walk through, while the seating areas and core architectural elements were illuminated to accentuate the structure of the area.

The main decorative lighting feature of the Reichshof lobby is the custom manufactured chandeliers by Felsch Lighting Design glowing a striking purple. Alongside the sleek white and chrome marble interiors, this modern colour and contemporary design immediately presents an intriguing contrast that sets this interior design and lighting scheme apart. Alongside these custom designed focal points, the lobby is well lit through a number of decorative lighting pieces working together to create a harmonious and welcoming entrance. Several SlimLite CS LEDs from German lighting specialists Hera feature through the space and elsewhere in the hotel as a linear LED luminaire framing the squared ceiling areas. This draws attention to the architecture of the building and provides subtle lighting from overhead.

Approaching the lobby’s check-in desks, the hotel’s staff work with light emanating from Heathfield & Co.’s Derwent rectangle oiled bronze wall lights that shine brightly from behind the desk to provide specific illumination for discerning tasks. In the lobby’s tea lounge area, standing tall are Astro Lighting’s Ravello floor lamps and Felsch Lighting Design’s custom made suspended red luminaires. Further illumination is provided by Heathfield & Co.’s Elenor Graphite, and Yves Antique Brass table lamps placed on larger and individual tables throughout the space, adding decorative lighting for intimate lounge spaces.

In the adjacent open plan library area, guests can enjoy a drink while reading in a classic setting under Tom Dixon’s Beat Fat Black pendants suspended above tables to provide a gentle glow for quiet readers. After checking in and getting acquainted with the hotel’s amenities, guests can enjoy dinner in Hotel Reichshof’s restaurant. In keeping with the sophistication of the hotel’s interior, the restaurant features Felsch Lighting Design and JOI Design’s collaborative custom designed chandelier as the centre piece of the room, providing the bulk of the lighting. Additional lighting is provided by Felsch Lighting Design’s custom manufactured square ceiling luminaires, without detracting attention away from the stunning chandelier.

Throughout the design process, the team faced inevitable challenges with functional requirements and safety obligations. As Felsch explained, heritage regulations required them to “either hide luminaires well or match heritage style, while fire safety regulations demanded that the lobby also serve as an escape route. The materials for the chandeliers had to be perfectly safe. Due to these regulations, close attention had to be paid to properties of all materials.”

Despite any inevitable challenge, “in our humble opinion, the original vision has been achieved,” said Felsch. The lighting of Hotel Reichshof is crafted to complement the building’s elegant marble interiors and grand spaces in a timeless design. Without trying to override the building’s classic interior, Felsch Lighting Design’s scheme intelligently sheds a modern light to seamlessly integrate contemporary and classic design within Hamburg culture.

Pic: Markus Felsch