WunderLocke, Munich - Photo © Ed Dabney
WunderLocke, Munich - Photo © Ed Dabney

Client: Edyn
Main Contractor: TM Ausbau
Hotel operator: Locke
Architectural design: Drees & Sommer
Interior design: Holloway Li
Artwork consultant: Access Art, Amelie Maison D’art
Furnishings: Coordination, Dodds & Shute
Lightings: Dodds & Shute
Photo credits: Edmund Dabney

This dynamic destination for locals, tourists, and business travelers is in Obersendling in Munich, a neighborhood where a community of artists, creatives, and tech entrepreneurs congregate. WunderLocke is among the new aparthotels at the forefront of the Locke brand. Here what matters is a connection with nature and with a past, made through a multi-parted sequence of symbols and meanings, rather than a literal approach.

WunderLocke is set in a former industrial complex that held Siemens’ offices, now renovated and turned into about 360 apartments by the London design studio Holloway Li. The architects opted for a low-impact adaptive reuse approach. The raw concrete frame is revealed in its resilient, rough dignity, with a few other minimal layers of adornment.

The artist Wassily Kandinsky spent a significant period of time in Munich in the early 20th century; his deep aesthetic theory becomes the conceptual filter for this entire interior design. Kandinsky based his poetics on a relationship with nature through abstraction, in pursuit of the Inner Klang (inner voice) of things in order to reveal the natural essence of objects and materials. Holloway Li’s design explores the tension between the rough structure and amorphous masses of color, minimizing the fixed elements to allow the layout to be updated as needed.

The bright, airy lobby extends around a curved wooden reception desk, and the inviting elegant lounge area blends subtly with a co-working area on one side and a rounded bar overlooking the outdoor heated pool on the other. The German design studio Coordination and the London-based company Dodds & Shute made the custom furnishings, all based on responsible, sustainable design principles.

A stairway in terrazzo originally from the 1960s was meticulously restored and new stainless-steel fixings and handrail give it a distinctively contemporary vibe. The architects added abundant plants between the unmovable concrete columns and a particular palette of natural materials, such as wood and raffia used for new finishes and furniture, earthy tones, botanical greens and marine blues.

The Wunderlocke apartments come in three categories and sizes, seeming a continuous extension of its elegant public spaces, featuring a sophisticated balance between an industrial feel and a handcrafted environment with cement and black metal surfaces softened by the use of light oak and a myriad of green plants. Close attention is paid to circularity and returning to nature in the Mural Farmhouse, with a restaurant, coffee shop, and bar services spread over seven floors.