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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 birthday. 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 have been completed first, all others are to follow by the end of 2020. Guests at the Vienna hostel can already enjoy the new design since the end of 2019.

Erich Bernard
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), the corporate design and the 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 and new guests alike. 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 in 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 location in 21 European cities. The new corporate design guidelines satisfy this individuality, while offering a high standard at an affordable price.

BWM interior team at the opening in Prague: Markus Flägner, Bruno Melis, Kristina Tomaselli, Lisa Schuhmacher, Marlene Gesierich
BWM interior team at the opening in Prague: Markus Flägner, Bruno Melis, Kristina Tomaselli, Lisa Schuhmacher, Marlene Gesierich

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 short break, meeting people, surfing the internet, catching up on social media. The work station 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 work table 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.

Before – after
Before – after

Task
Re-Branding, Corporate Design und Re-Design

Date
06/2018

Client
a&o hostels Marketing GmbH

BWM Team

Team Redesign
Markus Flägner, Marlene Gesierich, Sara Rois, Ismail Berkel, Kathrin Baumgartner

Team Rollout
Markus Flägner, Marlene Gesierich, Kristina Tomaselli, Lena Hainzinger

Image credit
BWM Architekten / Martin Popp, a&o Hotels and Hostels Holding GmbH, BWM Architekten

Participants

Branding
moodley brand identity

Awards

Excellent teamwork

7 April 2020

Excellent teamwork

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.

Press

12 May 2020

architektur international

a&o zeichnet BWM für neues Interior Design aus

PDF

26 March 2020

hotelbau.de

a&o ehrt BWM

PDF

28 November 2019

Die Presse

Selfie-Spots und Instastories

PDF

9 January 2019

hotelbau

Das Ibis unter den Hostels

PDF

6 November 2018

hotelstyle & gastro

Everyone can travel

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