Travel light, be social!
New look & feel for a&o Hostels by BWM Architekten – a modular refurbishment system with bold bursts of colour
After 18 years, it was time for a new look: BWM Architekten realised the repositioning of a&o, Europe’s largest hostel operator, in time for its 18th anniversary. The new design concept meets the requirements of both individual travellers and group tourism in line with the motto “Everyone can travel”. The top priority of the new design is to create a casual, relaxed setting where guests can feel at home, and the modular refurbishment system can be adapted to the needs of each individual location. The new design guidelines will be applied to all future a&o hostels and implemented in all of the 32 existing hostels throughout Europe. The a&o headquarters in the centre of Berlin and the new hostel in Nuremberg were completed first; all others are to follow by the end of 2020. The redesign of the Vienna hostel was completed at the end of 2019.
Subdued colours based on black/white and natural shades neutralise the existing space, while all the movable design elements are brightly coloured.Erich Bernard
Modular refurbishment system
BWM Architekten are realising a major hospitality contract for a&o Hostels, Europe’s largest hostel operator. Headed by Erich Bernard and Markus Kaplan, the firm is responsible for the rebranding (in cooperation with moodley brand identity), corporate design and redesign of a&o’s extensive hostel portfolio. The new design guidelines are currently being implemented at 12 locations. The headquarters in central Berlin and the new hostel in Nuremberg have just been completed. “Re-designing an established hostel brand is a unique and complex task. Essential elements need to stay, while others can be redefined – and in the end everything has to look new,” says project manager Marlene Gesierich of BWM Architekten’s interior team. “The design needed a new look that would appeal to existing customers as well as new guests. The fundamental idea behind the redesign is a modular refurbishment system that can be implemented without interrupting the day-to-day business of the hostels. We wanted to create a new sense of lightness in the general areas and give the surfaces a calmer appearance. The colours set bold accents without being garish. We aimed to create a sense of fun and wellbeing, which also corresponds with a&o’s new profile.”
Budget accommodation with maximum design comfort
a&o Hostels is Europe’s largest hostel operator with over 30 locations across several countries. The chain’s repositioning is also accompanied by a reorientation of the brand: instead of specialising mainly in group travel, the hostels are now also being expanded to meet the needs of individual travellers. Everyone can travel – attractive design at very reasonable rates! The design takes the expansion of the target group into account – families with children, backpackers, individual workers and group travellers alike all benefit from the favourable terms and central locations in 21 European cities. The new corporate design guidelines satisfy this individuality, while offering a high standard at an affordable price.
High identity factor
Vienna-based BWM Architekten bring their great expertise in hotel and hostel planning to bear in this project. Their design concept for a&o can be implemented anywhere and thus also ensures a high identity factor at the various locations. Subdued colours based on black/white and natural shades neutralise the existing space, while all the movable design elements are brightly coloured. The lobby has an easy-going coffee shop atmosphere and is the perfect setting for a variety of individual activities like waiting, chilling, taking a break, meeting people, surfing the internet, catching up on social media. The workstation offers a temporary space for work activities and can be used as a breakfast area if necessary. All hostels have a reception/bar, seating steps, a library and worktable as well as a kids’ corner for the little ones. The new elements were designed to facilitate and strengthen social contacts. This is how BWM’s interpretation of “social design” turns anonymous, institutional spaces into engaging, feel-good places.
A comprehensive corporate design manual & special products
BWM Architekten conducted several extensive workshops together with moodley brand identity and the clients before commencing with the conceptual phase. A comprehensive corporate design manual was the result of an intensive planning process. The variable basic elements of the new design can be adapted to the specific requirements of each location. The concept also includes an orientation system and graphic signage with the new blue/white logo on the individual floors, for the bar and reception as well as on the façade. The rooms were redesigned to correspond with the basic idea of affordable design for everyone. BWM are also expanding a&o’s furniture repertoire with highly durable special products such as specially designed bunk beds and robust seating furniture for the lobby.
Re-Branding, Corporate Design und Re-Design
a&o hostels Marketing GmbH
Markus Flägner, Marlene Gesierich, Sara Rois, Ismail Berkel, Kathrin Baumgartner
Markus Flägner, Marlene Gesierich, Kristina Tomaselli, Lena Hainzinger
BWM Architekten / Martin Popp, a&o Hotels and Hostels Holding GmbH, BWM Architekten
moodley brand identity
7 April 2020
Europe’s largest hostel operator a&o has given BWM the Innovation Award for the design concept of the repositioning. The new guideline is a modular refurbishment system with bold colour accents that has been implemented since 2018 -until the end of 2020- at all locations.
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