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2016 Gold Key Awards: Best Hotel Budget/Focused Service

(December 2016) posted on Thu Feb 02, 2017

Clever reinterpretations earned high marks from judges of the 36th annual competition.

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WINNER: Generator Amsterdam

Generator Amsterdam
Generator Amsterdam. Photo: Nikolas Koenig

DESIGN FIRM: DesignAgency, Toronto

INSPIRATION: Distill Amsterdam’s offbeat sensibilities into the 168-room, 564-bed former school and museum (a historic building) for this tenth outpost of the Generator brand. The brand’s reuse mandate dictated that the team forego the idea of a new-build hotel. So, the fusion of modern and historic elements is the foundation for the design. “A slick glass rooftop addition, the fusion of old and new architecture heightens Generator’s character and the charm of the guest experience. The building forms the gateway to the lush Oosterpark,” says Anwar Mekhayech, lead partner, DesignAgency. “There was a lot we couldn’t change, such as the library and auditorium, so we had to embrace the architecture.” Steering the hotel away from museum territory was a must. Eye-catching art pieces and contemporary décor answer that need to the tune of high-impact murals and simple shapes that let the bones of the building be the star of the space.

Generator Amsterdam
Generator Amsterdam. Photo: Nikolas Koenig

IDEATION: All the Generator hallmarks had to be there, from highly localized influences to a one-size-doesn’t-fit all eclecticism to the highly “buzzy” and social public spaces. The team turned to the layout to provide the roadmap to make all that happen. Spreading the public spaces across several floors creates a link to draw guests through the hotel, whether they enter for the night or just to hang out at one of the multiple bars in the hotel. The art also works to connect the spaces. “Artists Graphic Surgery added a dynamic mural to the wall inspired by industrial architecture,” says Mekhayech. “The mural also references a modern, steel stair and catwalk that weaves through the space, linking different lounge spaces and the upper floor library.”

Generator Amsterdam. Photo: Nikolas Koenig


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