Accommodation in a natural setting
Danhostel Copenhagen Amager stands as a gateway between the city and the scenic Amager Fælled, and this aspect was incorporated to the greatest possible extent when the youth hostel was recently refurbished. Environmental concerns are also reflected in the reuse of existing materials, including Troldtekt acoustic panels.
Inviting the natural environment inside Danhostel Copenhagen Amager was a key priority when the hostel replaced its 1970s look with a new, Nordic style reception and lounge area. The aim was to create an interior that harmonised with the scenic surroundings of Amager Fælled, and which introduced foreign visitors to the Danish concept of hygge.
“Previously, the reception area was just a connecting room where you picked up your keys before moving on. It resembled Copenhagen’s main railway station with its orange floor tiles and lots of red brick, while the reception itself was a small, closed-off counter with bars tucked away in one corner. Since then, it has been given a complete facelift,” says Mia Scheel, architect, MAA, and partner at ZESO Architects, which was commissioned for the refurbishment project.
“We took the hostel’s surroundings as our starting point. The idea is that you don’t just spend the night here, but that you embark on a journey of discovery in a nature centre while checking in and meeting other guests in the café. The hostel should offer a unique city break experience, rather than just be a place to sleep,” she explains.
Existing materials reused
The architects rethought the entire reception area. Visibility and openness towards the guests are a key feature, because now the staff stand ready to receive guests in an integrated café and lounge area with surrounding alcove seating. The lounge has been put together using organic materials such as moss walls and green plants. On birch veneer shelving, guests can study the local flora and fauna found on Amager Fælled.
The expansive, open space is double height, and the original Troldtekt acoustic ceiling has been given a new lease of life in conjunction with the refurbishment. The panels have been painted white, as the panels fully retain their acoustic properties even if resprayed, and the original floor tiles have been concealed under a cement coating.
“Generally speaking, we’ve used some good and familiar materials and solutions and combined them effectively. It’s a fine mix between the new and the old, as there were already some good things to build on. To keep the environmental impact to a minimum, we chose to reuse the long-lasting materials on various surfaces in the room, while sprucing them up with a new lick of paint,” says Mia Scheel.
The new reception area welcomes guests as soon as they walk in through the door. The reception also serves as a bar, where the acoustics have been significantly improved with new Troldtekt acoustic panels in a natural finish. Guests are now able to take their drinks up to a mezzanine floor above the bar, where there is an area with seating. Many people grab the opportunity to do so.
“We optimised the reception area regarding the influx of daylight, its welcoming feel and workflows. It has become a much nicer room in terms of the lighting and the acoustics – and there is a much stronger connection between the indoor environment and the surrounding natural landscape. As a result, guests instinctively enjoy spending time here. I think that humans inherently like being in close proximity to nature,” says Mia Scheel.