Hotel Ottilia, Copenhagen: industrial look for a historic location

Essential aspects of a boutique hotel are excellent service as well as individuality, charm and character - all attributes that the Hotel Ottilia in Copenhagen has in common. The building originally was part of the Carlsberg Brewery, which brewed world-famous beer in the district of the same name from 1847 to 2008.

After extensive renovations, the 4-star-plus-house Ottilia, which belongs to Denmark's leading boutique hotel chain Brøchner, was opened in spring 2019 in the listed building ensemble. The architecture by Arkitema Architects and the interior design by Brøchner's design team have an industrial look to match the historic location: It is unspoilt, unadorned and rough, but at the same time with typical Scandinavian elegance, casualness and a sense of style.

As a reminiscence of the old ceramic façade of the building base, almost all bathrooms were fitted with striking ceramic wall and floor tiles from Agrob Buchtal's Craft series.

Karim Nielsen, Managing Director of Brøchner Hotels, sees the historical surroundings as a great locational advantage, but also as an obligation: "We are aware that by moving into the Carlsberg district we will become part of Danish industrial history. We are delighted about this role and want to attract both visitors and residents with the Hotel Ottilia". In line with this objective, the industrial architecture has been sensitively reinterpreted and redesigned: the hotel has a café on the ground floor, conference and meeting rooms for 200 persons, two bars and a roof terrace with a restaurant open to the public. A first-class health and spa area will follow in autumn 2019. 

Building concept makes history visible

The hotel's approximately 150 suites and rooms are located partly in a historic building designed by the architect Vilhelm Dahlerup and partly in a former warehouse planned by the architect Svenn Eske Kristensen at the end of the 1960s. The primary goal of Arkitema Architects was to focus on the history of the buildings and to underline their historical value. Inside, therefore, the steel and concrete structural elements of the existing buildings are particularly decisive - both in terms of the number and size of the hotel rooms realized and with regards to the surface aesthetics.

The rooms present themselves in plain elegance with dignified simple furniture, oak parquet, white walls as well as sandblasted and dust-absorbing coated fair-faced concrete structure. This design language continues atmospherically in the bathrooms. The picture there is characterized by stainless steel and glass elements as well as ceramic tiles, which the architects see as a reminiscence of the existing ceramic facade in the base area of the former warehouse in terms of colour and format.

Ceramic tiles for a Nordic-hearted attitude to life

Ceramic tiles of the brand Agrob Buchtal were used on the walls and floors of the hotel bathrooms: the Craft series is manufactured in the classic tunnel kiln. The natural play of the fire creates slightly iridescent glazes with a handcrafted look which combine to form a harmonious ensemble. The authentic character of this tile collection is underlined by the classic strip format, which attractively rhythmicises surfaces and subtly accentuates them without spreading unrest. The bathrooms in Ottilia are homely in the sense of the Danish-Norwegian term Hygge, which today is used internationally. 

Fascinating contrasts

During the conversion, the original building fabric in the form of warehouse buildings, malthouse or grain silo was skilfully incorporated in all areas. The same applies to the façade: some of it has round panorama windows equipped with a soft couch in the shape of a crescent moon from which you can watch the stars or the colourful hustle and bustle on Ottilia Jacobsen Square. Elsewhere in the shell of the building there are over 60 large gold-coloured panes with a diameter of 2.2 metres. They were designed by Svenn Eske Kristensen and symbolize in form and number the beer tanks once housed in the building. Today, the panes are framed by new, narrow windows in front of which bricks are arranged in a zipper like manner. This subtle detail was created by carefully removing old bricks.

These numerous historical components form an exciting contrast to the luxurious furnishings and contemporary interior design which characterize both the rooms and the public areas. In addition, there is modern technology: hotel guests can check in and out with their smartphone, open the door to their room or simply stream their own content to the TV set in the room. An efficient high-speed Wifi network is available throughout the house.