Located in Sendling - Munich’s up-and-coming neighbourhood, WunderLocke is the first Locke of its kind. Holloway Li’s innovative design combines natural elements with a contemporary feel inspired by the area’s industrial heritage. This is a place where wellness meets hedonism. Urban grit meets leafy tranquillity.
We spoke with Alex Holloway, to understand a little more about the inspiration and narrative behind the design of the property. And, to dive a little deeper into the themes of nature and WunderLocke’s connection to the people of Munich.
What is the inspiration behind the design of WunderLocke?
We tend to draw inspiration from a number of places for our projects. The host building is always very important with any refurbishment project, as well as the surrounding cultural and historical context. With the host building of WunderLocke being so dominant in its vastness and its powerful concrete, we wanted to create a delicate, soft insertion as a counterpoint to the robustness of the existing situation.
We looked at the artist Kandinsky’s theory that by connecting with the ‘Innerer Klang’ (inner voice), an artist can reveal the natural essence of objects and materials. Spending almost two decades in the city, we took cues from his visual language and theories to unveil the ‘Innerer Klang’ of the existing building. We stripped back ornamentation to showcase the raw concrete frame of the structure and create a space that encourages renewal.
How does Sendling / Munich influence WunderLocke's design details?
WunderLocke was conceived to be a dynamic destination that can cater for both locals, holidaymakers, and business travellers. South-West Munich is now host to a burgeoning community of artists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs and the idea was that the space could also provide a creative hub nearby. The site the hotel is located in makes it super interesting too - it occupies a former monumental ex-Siemens office building. We carried our low impact and adaptive reuse design approach into this project, exposing the bare bones of the existing concrete frame with carefully curated minimal layers of ‘dressing’.
Tell us more about the connection between WunderLocke and nature?
A series of biophilic insertions provide a natural counterpoint to the machine-age setting, introducing a sentiment of rebirth and spiritual growth. With this meld of materials, Holloway Li have reimagined the guest experience as an urban jungle - concrete versus greenery - with roots in the past and eyes on the future, designed to inspire a feeling of renewal in the city. The colour scheme is anchored by earth tones and botanical greens, referencing the nearby Grünwald Forest.
What was the biggest challenge when designing the space?
This project builds and expands upon our interest in adaptive reuse and salvage. As a studio, we have developed a particular understanding of how to express the bones of existing buildings as part of the renovation process and strategy, using the embodied carbon of a host property, with a light touch approach to refurbishment. Here we challenged ourselves to expose the host structure whilst transforming the space without over-cladding or excessive development.
What is the most unique part of the space when it comes to design?
The original 1960s terrazzo staircase which we chose to lovingly restore to its former glory, with new stainless steel fixings and handrails bringing it up to modern code.
What materials have been used to create WunderLocke's design concept?
We chose natural materials such as timber, terrazzo and raffia to balance the omnipresence of concrete, bringing harmony and softness to the space. The lobby is characterised by a distinctive curved timber reception desk, this lounge area merges into co-working to one side and the bar to the other.
The round bar opens to the outside through a window serving the external pool area, internally it has an upholstered bar top detail - a trope of 70s dive bars that encourages patrons to take root and get comfy.