I first heard rumblings about the prospect of Hôtel Droog a few years ago while doing research for my day job at the Vancouver Art Gallery. I was initially drawn to the project because of Atelier Bow-Wow’s involvement; I’m always interested in seeing what this innovative Japanese architectural firm is up to and a collaboration with the conceptual Dutch design company Droog seemed like it could only result in something unusual and noteworthy. As I never heard another word about it after the initial launch of the project, I assumed that it failed to move beyond the conceptual phase. I was thrilled to discover this week, however, that not only did the project move forward but it opened on September 16th. Billed as a “new hospitality experience”, the project, which is decidedly not your standard hotel, occupies a 17th century townhouse in Amsterdam that was entirely remodelled by Atelier Bow-Wow. Here the primary purpose of a hotel — a space for sleeping — has been minimized, and instead Hôtel Droog celebrates a hotel’s public space and includes a gallery, shops, gardens and a dining room. With only one room where guests can stay — named The One and Only Bedroom and outfitted entirely in Droog design — Hôtel Droog is challenging our perception of what a hotel can and should be. The hotel also includes a Fairy Tale Garden, conceived by French designers Claude Pasquer and Corinne Détroyat, tucked away in the inner courtyard constructed by Atelier Bow-Wow, an innovative restaurant concept, and a cultural space that will be programmed with lectures, workshops and exhibitions on design, art and fashion. Having only launched yesterday, Hôtel Droog promises to challenge the direction of contemporary hotel design.
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