For decades the luxurious Hotel Polonez was the pride of Poznań. In over 400 rooms, it welcomed thousands of guests visiting the largest Polish fair events. Now, the newly designed, original interiors are home to young people studying in the capital of Greater Poland region. The former hotel lobby has undergone an amazing metamorphosis, the authors of which are designers from the MIXD studio. The WOW effect, which is the result of their creative work on the fusion of two worlds – a hotel and a dormitory, is impossible to imitate.
Object: Student Depot Poznań
Location: Poznań, Poland
Investor: Student Depot
Completion date: 2021
Space: 800 m2
Design team: Piotr Kalinowski, Joanna Mazurek, Anna Stachi, Anna Kosecka, Agnieszka Kaczara, Martina Mirecki, Igor Demuth, Stepan Symynets, Jakub Bąk, Maja Ratuszniak, Julia Iwańczuk
Graphic design: Katarzyna Bogucka, Maja Ratuszniak (MIXD)
Photos: PION Studio
Important brands: Tarkett, Newmoore, Noti, MDD, Fameg, Ridex
It is not difficult to imagine what the interiors of an exclusive hotel in Poznań, built on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the People’s Republic of Poland, looked like in the 1970s. It was by definition a showcase not only of the city, but also of the design of those times. The hotel guests walked on marble floors, the walls were decorated with wooden paneling and granite cladding, and the interior was arranged with specially designed furniture. For many years, the Polonez hotel remained a symbol of hotel luxury. After decades, there was a revolution – the place of hotel guests was taken by students – young people living in a new reality, having their own specific needs and expectations. Hotel Polonez has changed into Student Depot Poznań.
Marriage of opposities
Is it easy to implement a spectacular metamorphosis of the common space in a given hotel and a contemporary student’s dormitory? It was a challenge met by the MIXD studio. The history of this place was not a limitation, on the contrary – an inspiration. Thanks to this, both references to the style of the 70s and ultra-modern contrasts built by designers had their point of reference – the rich past of the building. Anna Stachi, Associate, MIXD tells us about the goals and the way to achieve them – “On the one hand, we wanted to display these hotel interiors, save and reuse noble materials, and show the design from 70`. On the other hand, we were looking for a strong contrast for them, a breakthrough, and something attractive for young residents. We were looking for inspiration in dances, discos and playgrounds from nearby neighborhoods. We did it in different ways. Graphics appeared in the lobby, including a mural in the TV zone, designed by Katarzyna Bogucka “Nioska”. The preserved granite cladding on the pillars has been supplemented with LED neon lights recessed into the stone, which not only illuminate the interior, but also, thanks to RGB controllers, allow you to change its color and mood. We replaced the lamps on the original ceiling made of lamellas. We have introduced modern materials such as trapezoidal sheet metal, brushed steel or laminates. And many fabrics that help build its atmosphere and intimacy. ”
Coworking or board games?
Firstly, the former open hotel lobby has been divided into individual zones for various purposes, without changing the interior layout at the same time. The boundaries between the zones have been marked with fabrics, floor coverings – depending on the intended intensity of use: vinyl or carpet.
After entering the dormitory, you can see a meeting place, announcements, etc. arranged similar to local playgrounds. It is a zone that is a casual waiting room, where, by the way, or out of boredom, you can pull up on a ladder or do a swing on a “beater”. On the right from the entrance and the “playground” there is a dormitory reception. This zone combines the old and the new in a beautiful way. The project included the re-use of red marble recovered during the renovation of the building. To the left of the entrance, opposite the reception desk, there is a student cafe. There are also many references to the past in this zone. It is enough to look at vintage models furniture from Fameg and patterned table tops reminiscent of terrazzo.
Other functions that the former lobby of the Polonez hotel has housed are the space for coworking and counterbalanced to it – a game room. A high table has been erected closer to the reception desk, the structure of which is based on the existing hotel counter. Here you can talk in a casual atmosphere, but also work in groups on projects for exams or exams. As students need a place to play and de-stress, MIXD could not ignore this in its project. In the relaxation area, you can play board games, but also on the playstation. The game room is distinguished not only by an interesting turquoise color. Attention is drawn to a witty accent. It is a tub filled with balls – an excuse to relax and make a fun #selfie.
Opposite the previously described zones, the MIXD designers arranged a dormitory cinema room. As you know, the cinema cannot run out of… popcorn. There was only one correct conclusion – the machine for making it had to stand here. The second non-negotiable point – to feel like a real screening, you need to sit comfortably. That is why the wide, soft King sofas by Noti stand here.
The place to study is separated by a considerable distance from the aforementioned zones. The silent work room is the only permanently separated space in the lobby. In this room there is a large round table where you can study or write term papers in concentration.
The common space at Student Depot Poznań, built on the site of the former lobby of the Polonez hotel, has an area of 800 sq m. In all zones designed by MIXD, many elements referring to the history of this place have been included. The lounge area is illuminated by a lamp from the hotel equipment. A renovated table with carved legs is used to play board games. The atmosphere is also created by an accent that is a real hit at the reception – an authentic hotel luggage trolley, which can be used when needed.