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Azure Magazine November December 2022 Cover: The Residential Interiors Issue

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Remote work grants travellers new opportunities to turn short-term stays into extended sojourns. Now it’s time for the hotel industry to catch up. Thanks to London design firm Holloway Li, Munich’s WunderLocke is well ahead of the pack when it comes to catering to this new clientele.

The bedroom in a rental unit at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designed by Holloway Li.

Launched in 2016, hospitality brand Locke operates a series of hybrid “aparthotel” rentals that bear closer resemblance to a friend’s downtown flat than to your average corporate crash pad. Popular among business people looking for long-term accommodations (but available for single-night bookings as well) Locke’s units feature comfortable sleeping quarters outfitted with domestic perks like kitchens and laundry facilities. 

The curved timber lobby reception desk at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designed by Holloway Li.

Building on the success of its early locations — including one in the London district of Bermondsey that was also designed by Holloway Li — Locke recently unveiled its latest 360-unit outpost in Munich. Set to fully open in September, the destination reimagines a former Siemens office building as a dynamic hospitality hub dubbed WunderLocke. 

Each WunderLocke rental unit adopts rich sea tones and plush, generously proportioned furnishings to achieve a warm, inviting ambiance. But it is the property’s communal spaces that really shine.

The lobby bar at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designed by Holloway Li.

Spanning seven floors, the project incorporates no less than five food and drink destinations: an all-day restaurant, a fine dining chef’s table, a coffee shop, a wine bar and a cocktail bar. All five source seasonal vegetables from the hotel’s rooftop garden and many also double as coworking areas.

After stripping these communal rooms right down to their concrete frame, Holloway Li layered in natural finishes and bright seating to contrast the building’s industrial bones. In the lobby, for instance, a curved timber reception desk sits between lounge and bar areas divided by open bookcases and plenty of plants — a nod to the nearby Grünwald Forest.

WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designedly Holloway Li, restores a former office building to its concrete bones.

WunderLocke’s bare concrete is another reflection of the surrounding urban landscape and its rich history. Inspired by the “Innerer Klang” philosophy by artist Vasily Kandinsky — who lived in Munich while painting some of his definitive abstract compositions — the design team set out to prioritize the industrial building’s “inner voice” and avoid any significant structural alterations.

A seating area at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designedly Holloway Li.

Instead, by focusing on flexible furnishings like pieces from Co-ordination’s Thread collection, Holloway Li allows for easy spatial reconfigurations down the road.

A terrazzo staircase at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designedly Holloway Li.

The design firm’s efforts to stay true to the building’s original character also led them to restore a key historic detail: a 1960s terrazzo staircase, which was updated to meet modern code requirements and equipped with a new stainless steel handrail.

A coworking space with a long work table at WunderLocke, a Munich hotel designed by Holloway Li.

With large work tables and plenty of comfortable seating that lends itself perfectly to remote work — or just to planning the day’s vacation itinerary — Holloway Li has effectively reimagined a former office as a hybrid work-lifestyle destination. Perhaps future offices could learn a thing or two from WunderLocke as well.

In Munich, a Hotel That Invites Guests to Move Right In

Holloway Li designs the latest location of Locke’s series of aparthotels with units ready to host travellers for a few days — or a few months.

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