Jean Nouvel designed this hotel after working on the new Cultural and Congress Centre, Lucerne. After meeting and being impressed by Nouvel, the owner of the hotel bought an existing building and commissioned him to create a new hotel design.
Jean Nouvel’s description of the scheme is too good not to quote to you here:
‘The problem was that, in terms of luxury, in the world’s seventh most visited city, sumptuous lakeside establishments with 20-foot ceilings are too numerous to count. Something else had to be found to attract clients and prompt people to choose one hotel rather than another, an experience that turns a simple visit into something poetic. To create an impression of escape in classical and renaissance palaces, ceilings were decorated with large paintings of mythological themes, usually greek. The idea here is to take the same concept and update it. Exit ancient Greece: what are today’s mythologies? Stories that everyone knows, that come to us from the cinema, because the cinema is our culture. The cultural dimension of a hotel is tied to desire, and the interpretation of painted ceilings is tied to eroticism. Thus the hotel offers a cinematographic anthology of desire. Each room illustrates the beginning of a story into which the occupants are drawn, inducing a sense of belonging. And this is where luxury comes in: it is in the specific identity and the unusual care and attention put into the hotel. The hotel celebrates simplicity and spirituality as much as it does elegance and refinement. The central idea is to create something quite unlike anything before and provide guests with a magical, exciting and unforgettable feeling. The Hotel is not just a place to sleep; it is a reinvention of the hotel experience for the new millennium.’ – Jean Nouvel
Apart from the rooms though, for me one of the most intriguing and interesting things about this building is the design of the windows at street level – they are a complex design of angled glass and mirrors allowing views into the lobby but views and reflected views into the basement restaurant below. These images don’t quite do the window design justice but if you can find the El Croquis Jean Nouvel monograph then you will see great images and detailed drawings fully explaining this wonderful play with reflections.
I suppose that when we are next in Lucerne we will just have to go and see and experience it for ourselves.
Place: The Hotel, Luzern
Designer: Atelier Jean Nouvel
Also have a look at STEPHENVARADY_ARCHITRAVELLER