Wunder Locke by Holloway Li

Wunder Locke is a unique lifestyle aparthotel by the Locke brand in Munich, Germany, designed by Holloway Li in 2022.

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This summer Holloway Li unveils WunderLocke in Sendling, Munich – the latest outpost of pioneering lifestyle aparthotel brand Locke – a low impact design which will focus on renewal through connection to nature. The site will be underpinned by Mural Farmhouse, a unique farm-to-table concept, comprising five food and drink destinations over seven floors.

Based in the industrial Obersendling district of Munich, the 360-studio aparthotel occupies a monumental ex-Siemens office building. As an alternative to the typically material intensive approach to retrofitting, Holloway Li have developed their low- impact and adaptive re-use design approach, exposing the bare bones of the existing concrete frame with carefully curated minimal layers of ‘dressing’.

Holloway Li grounded their approach to the existing structure by referring to the rich theory and aesthetic of artist Vasily Kandinsky, who was based in Munich for a significant period in the early 20th century. Kandinsky’s work explores how we can develop a closer relationship to nature through abstraction, rather than through more figurative approaches favoured at the time. He believed that by connecting with the ‘Innerer Klang’ (inner voice) of things, an artist could reveal the natural essence of objects and materials. The resulting visual language explored the tension between structure and amorphous masses of colour.

The designers used Kandinsky’s theory to reveal the ‘Innerer Klang’ of the existing Siemens building. Superfluous ornament was stripped back to reveal the raw concrete frame of the existing building, a quasi-ruin of the area’s industrial past around which the offshoots of renewal could be cultivated.

Holloway Li’s design explores the tension between the fixed concrete elements and formless boundaries of the various common area zones, encouraging a flexibility of use characteristic to Locke. In minimising ‘fixed’ elements, the design allows for future adaptation, limiting the need for wasteful renovation.

The original 1960s terrazo staircase was lovingly restored to its former glory, with new stainless steel fixings and handrial bringing it it up to modern code.

Amongst the immovable concrete columns, the Studio introduced dense free-flowing planting, as if the nearby Grünwald Forest had grown into and occupied the interior. A limited palette of natural materials were used for new finishes and furniture: timber, terrazzo and raffia balance the concrete mass, bringing harmony and softness to the space which is further accentuated by sumptuous, naturally-textured carpeting which wraps the columns to dado level. The colour scheme, anchored by earthy tones and botanical greens, is punctuated by pops of colour across furniture and upholstery.

The vast public spaces of building act as a microcosm of the city, combining living, working and leisure: complimentary co- working spaces, meeting and event spaces, a workout studio and sauna. The lobby is defined by a curved timber reception desk, the lounge area merges into co-working on one side and into the bar on the other. The round bar opens to the outside through a window serving the external pool area. An upholstered bar top detail encourages patrons to take root, inspired by cult B-movie Barfly.

Forging local partnerships, Holloway Li worked with German furniture design studio Co-ordination, to make a bespoke iteration of their “thread” collection for the project. The designers collaborated with sustainable furniture consultancy Dodds
& Shute to specify a range of responsibly-sourced lighting, offsetting 15 tonnes of C02 and protecting 979 trees threatened by deforestation.

The focus on circularity and a return to nature continue into the unparalleled food and drink offering. Mural Farmhouse, conceived by founders of revered local Michelin-starred restaurant Mural, will comprise of five destinations spread over seven floors. This includes a 70-cover all-day restaurant, a fine dining Chef’s Table, coffee shop, wine and cocktail bar. Inspired by the farm-to-table movement, food will be supplied by local and regional producers. A rooftop urban farm, with a painterly view over the Bavarian Alps, will provide handpicked seasonal herbs and vegetables for the restaurants.

By taking a low-impact approach to retrofitting the existing building, building a sense of collectiveness through a vast, flexible public space layout, and establishing a connection to nature, the project considers sustainability through a longer-term environmental, economic and social lens.

As a dynamic destination for locals, holidaymakers, and business travellers alike, WunderLocke offers a creative hub in South-West Munich for the city’s burgeoning community of artists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs. In September 2020, Holloway Li designed their first hotel for Locke, Bermonds Locke in London’s bustling Bermondsey based on similar low-impact principles. This is the second of a trio of collaborations with the lifestyle aparthotel brand.

Photography by Edmund Dabney

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- by Matt Watts