Casa Camper Berlin opens its doors to the public


GRAS Reynés Arquitectos together with Berlin based architect Laura V. Rave celebrate the completion of the refurbishment process of Casa Camper hotel in Berlin. The process finished with the opening of CAFÉ CAMALEÓN; a new café concept designed together with Dutch architects MVRDV.

© Daria Scagliola

The Casa Camper hotel in Berlin was the second hotel developed by the world-famous Mallorcan footwear brand Camper. The hotel design continued with the original strong concept developed in Barcelona by industrial designer Fernando Amat. After 12 years of the opening in 2009, the hotel needed an update and refreshment. GRAS Reynés Arquitectos was appointed for the task together with Berlin based architect Laura V. Rave. The process started with the renovation of the rooms and the top floor, the so called tentempié. A 24h only-guest living room, where the clients can have drinks, food and a space to relax and meet.


The rooms were renovated keeping intact the original concept developed by Fernando Amat, while the tentempié was completely transformed, turning the existing meeting rooms and dining areas into a big open space open to the magnificent views to the city.  A long-mirrored shelving protects the living area from the service rooms while reflecting, with a small distortion, the views to the city. The benches organized along the shelve and the facade provide enough lunch-breakfast sitting for all the guests, and the corner is left as a relaxed lounge area with sofas and armchairs.

For the last part of this renovation process, the client wanted a new concept for a lobby, café, and retail showcase for Camper shoes that would better align with the brand’s strong design reputation. Occupying the ground floor, the interior design of Café Camaleón uses carefully selected material details to create a color gradient, which serves as a strong visual motif to organize the interior.

© Daria Scagliola

The occupancy patterns of the three programmes are very different, meaning they are unlikely to be busy at the same time. There was therefore an opportunity to combine all three programmes in a single room, creating a flexible space that could adapt throughout the day, as well as for future needs, taking advantage of synergies between the different functions. Though the three areas operate very differently, they all share one necessary element: a counter for interacting with customers. The main feature of the space is therefore a single, 18-metre-long counter serving all three functions.

© Daria Scagliola

Each function was given its own colour: red for the hotel lobby; white for the retail showcase, following the specifications for Camper Lab stores; and brown for the restaurant, inspired by the colour of German Milchkaffee. To show the interaction between the different programs, the colours merge into each other, creating a colour gradient throughout the length of the space that is visible in the floors, walls, and counter. These vibrant colours were the inspiration for the project’s name, Camaleon, as the appearance of the space will be very different depending on one’s vantage point. Camaleon also references the brand’s first shoe from 1975, the Camaleón.

© Daria Scagliola

“Flexibility is a key design principle for sustainability, you need to make things that can be changed without using resources”, says MVRDV founding partner Jacob van Rijs. “But in architecture this type of flexibility is often represented as a kind of blandness or boringness. So, for Camper we introduced an outspoken colour gradient to illustrate that the different activities could shift and merge inside one long room. It is flexible, but it also grabs your attention.”

© Daria Scagliola

Outside, a 12-metre-long openable glass façade creates a clear, welcoming connection to the street. Inside, the colour gradient is achieved with different materials and in different manners: from resin colour panels in the counter to printed wood for the walls and cement-based floor tiles, mixed with different ratios of red, clear and brown recycled glass – making use of a traditional technique from Mallorca, Camper’s hometown.


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