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THDP design Manhattan-inspired Hilton Frankfurt

Taking inspiration from the tastes of the city’s global travellers, THDP has referenced the loft living of Manhattan with an eclectic mix of old and new design.


3 min read

You probably know Frankfurt as the business capital of Germany; home to one of the largest stock markets in the world and impressive economic and creative industries. Sometimes known as Bankfurt, or Mainhattan (a portmanteau of the River Main, on which the city lies, and Manhattan) the city has a New York-esque skyline, the second largest airport in Europe and hosts some of the largest trade fairs in the world – so it’s no surprise that most visitors come here on business.

Taking inspiration from the tastes of these global travellers, THDP has designed the Hilton Frankfurt, referencing the loft living of Manhattan with an eclectic mix of old and new design.

Established in 2004 by Nicholas J. Hickson and Manuela Mannino, THDP is an award-winning firm specialising in beautiful hospitality projects around the globe, combining contemporary design with an irreverent spirit and multidisciplinary approach.

The hotel’s new Hudson Yards Bar resembles a typical, cool New York watering hole, with brass gantry shelving, custom counter lights, brass foot stops and front facing custom coloured Rancilio Barista Machine. The bar is adaptable, with swing doors separating a daytime café from an evening cocktail bar. The material and colour scheme has a strong sense of heritage – with a focus on natural leathers, marble and brass and a simple palette of just four colours. The lobby has also undergone a refurbishment – which was last to be completed in the project. Although the existing layout could not change significantly, the look and feel of the space now reflects the rest of the hotel and offers a new destination for locals and guests alike, creating a bar, lounge and expanded dining experience.

A new check-in area is created with individual check-in pods; hosts are now more accessible to guests during check-in, with the overall effect purposely resembling a concierge desk at a New York residential high-rise. The check-in pods are rounded in shape, incorporating natural Rosso Levanto marble, copper mesh and walnut veneer, with lighting custom designed by THDP, which floats over the space for a relaxed and comfortable feel.

The contemporary design of the 328 rooms is tailored to the modern business traveller, with a selection of neutral colours and warm timber panelling and flooring, creating a familiar feeling, blended with smart business touches. The palette here is soft and rich; warm rich oak timber flooring, felts and woven fabrics with leather detailing, all in a neutral colour palette continuing the ‘smart-modern’ style chosen by THDP. Modern light fittings and carefully selected artwork give context to the rooms, offering a glimpse into Frankfurt’s rich local culture. The soft furnishings are modern but have the feel of found objects or furnishings that have been re-purposed.

‘The concept within the guest rooms was to express the idea of design that has evolved over time, as if different furnishings were purchased at different times and different places rather than the whole scheme being designed all at one time,’ THDP’s Nicholas Hickson tells us.

‘The interior expresses the nature of many guests, working and regularly travelling, picking up style cues from different cultures and different places,’ he adds. The choice of artwork was also specifically chosen for its modernist cubism – inspired by Tamara de Lempicka, the Polish born artist who worked in Los Angeles and New York. These shapes have been continued in the rugs and carpeting, which has a contemporary cubist form – derived from the city and overlapping skyline shapes.

‘Our favourite element of the space is the large art piece in the guest corridors, an area often overlooked but which in this case offered a unique proposition,’ says Nicholas. ‘Our idea was to take advantage of the tall atrium lobby and showcase a single wall artwork over the seven floors – a cubist abstraction created by American art company, Kalisher. Close up, when going to the guest room, the form is abstract, and it is only when you take the main atrium elevator that the whole picture comes together as the skyline of Frankfurt. ‘

We had, as a core objective, to create a place where one can live, rather than just stay, and the guest feedback shows that we accomplished this well. This has motivated us to take this further in the way we approach hospitality – moving from conventional to conversational.’

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