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Hotel The Qvest, a neo-Gothic hideout in Cologne
A late 1800s city archive hosting a peaceful hotel for a quiet stay without TV. Just books, vinyl records and hundreds of vintage and contemporary design pieces from an exclusive shop selling the hotel’s furniture collections
TWO 1952 VINTAGE ‘BARCELONA CHAIRS’ BY LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE AND LILY REICH FOR KNOLL AND AN ART DÉCO CABINET DECORATE THE HOTEL’S HALL
ON THE LEFT. THE ENTRANCE TO THE QVEST HOTEL. ON THE RIGHT. THE HOTEL’S DESIGN LOUNGE FEATURES ‘BIKINI’ WIRE CHAIRS BY CHARLES & RAY EAMES FOR VITRA AND THE ‘ARCO’ FLOOR LAMP BY ACHILLE AND PIER GIACOMO CASTIGLIONI FOR FLOS
ON THE LEFT. ON THE BED, A BLANKET BY VERNER PANTON PRODUCED BY VERPAN; ‘GRASSHOPPER’ LAMPS BY GRETA GROSSMAN FOR GUBI. ON THE RIGHT. LIVING ROOM IN ONE OF THE HOTEL SUITES, WITH ‘VINTAGE LOUNGE CHAIRS’ AND TABLE BY CHARLES & RAY EAMES PRODUCED BY VITRA, ‘LC3’ SOFA BY LE CORBUSIER FOR CASSINA
THE PHOTOGRAPHY GALLERY, HOUSED WITHIN THE ANCIENT CHAPEL
ON THE LEFT. A BEDROOM WITH BATHROOM IN ONE OF THE HOTEL’S SUITES. THE CORAL COLORED FOLDING PARTITION HAS BEEN DEVISED BY MICHAEL KAUNE AND DESIGNED BY ROLPH KURSAWE. 1950S JACQUES ADNET MIRROR DESIGNED BY GUBI FOR HERMÈS PARIS. ON THE RIGHT. THE HOTEL’S RECEPTION FEATURES VINTAGE BRASS FURNISHINGS
FACADE OF THE QVEST HOTEL, COLOGNE
The Qvest Hotel, Cologne, set a few minutes’ walk from the most fashionable restaurants, hotspots and stores, is one of the most peaceful places in town. Its regulars – actors, movie directors, photographers and designers among them – use to call it das Versteck, i.e. the hideaway.
Just 34 differently decorated bedrooms in a late 1800s neo-Gothic building designed by Friedrich Carl Heimann along with architects Mohr and Brugger. Built with the aim to house the City Archive and subsequently employed as a public library, it is one of the few, still standing historic edifices from that age: the 1942 British air raids destroyed Cologne almost completely. Purchased by Gerling Insurance Company in 1971, that employed it as a library and conference venue, the building has been once more put on sale at the end of 2012. It was then that Qvest Magazine editor-in-chief and creative director Michael Kaune, a great art and design collector, became its proprietor and began making plans to turn it into a hotel.
The recently opened Hotel has been designed by architect Rolf Kursawe. Its ancient chapel has become the headquarters to the Kaune, Posnik, Spohr Gallery for Contemporary Photography, while the rest of the edifice has remained practically as it was of old, except for the bathrooms, which are now clad by black and white marbles plus tiles inspired by the Paris underground, with fixtures and furnishings by Antonio Citterio.
«Our major issue concerning the renovation was the fire system» Mr Kaune explained «but by now we enjoy the same fire protection as the Düsseldorf airport…». For the Hotel’s visionary proprietor it was crucial to leave untouched the historic windows in the façade of the first and second story, even though maintaining them has involved further heating expenses. «Windows are very like racing paper and have a major influence on the building’s overall image, being an important part of the architecture itself», underlines Kaune, who has personally chosen each furniture piece by drawing from his own immense private collection: Bauhaus and Mid-Century style furnishings matched with new products licensed by Tecta, Cassina, Vita, Gubi, Classicon, Louis Poulsen, Zanotta and others. Photographs and artworks in the communal spaces and bedrooms, on the other hand, are signed by famous names such as Mark Arbeit, Todd Hido, George Holz, Roxanne Lowit, Thomas Rentmeister, Peter Granser.
Walking through The Qvest is like being in a design museum, passing through different ages in an ideal space where styles harmoniously coexist side by side – iconic, old and new pieces of furniture by Arne Jacobsen, Charles & Ray Eames, Verner Panton, Joe Colombo, Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, just to mention a few. Many of them can be either purchased at the hotel and directly taken home, or they can be found on the website www.qvest.de. «The Qvest provides niche services: no TVs but just books and, soon, vintage record players and vinyl records of old», says Kaune. «Not even a regular restaurant is included in the hotel’s project, even though we have a kitchen for the bar and guests’ breakfast, offering bio-food, veggie recipes and raw food». Just like everything else at The Qvest, not even food is something to take for granted.
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