In East Berlin, just steps away from the city’s iconic TV tower, a sparkling white façade adorns a sprawling building. This jewel of a place is the Lux 11 Berlin-Mitte, a hotel/residence created to welcome global travelers and make them truly feel at home, whether it is their first or tenth time in Berlin.
Located in the Mitte district, one of city’s most vibrant areas filled with cafés and restaurant, art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, design studios and concept stores, the hotel is quite simply a study in melding the old with the new. Set in what was originally built as a stately residential building in the late 19th century and later became office space for the KGB under communism, the landmark structure comprising three buildings has been completely refurbished to reflect the movement and innovation of Berlin’s most recent era.
On the ground floor, the sunny white lobby is splashed with touches of bright colors, including a giant picture-still, depicting the vibrancy of nearby streets and the creative people who live in and peruse the neighborhood. The main entrance is flanked on the right by an AVEDA salon by stylist Beate Kahlcke and on the left, past the lobby, by Luchs Restaurant and The Lodge lounge. Lux 11’s uniqueness also emerges through its use of unusual materials and its aesthetically pleasing game of contrasts – past the main entrance, behind a glass door, a 19th century wrought-iron staircase wraps around a modern stainless steel elevator, leading guests to 72 impeccably designed apartments.
“The interiors of Lux 11 Berlin-Mitte play with opposites: warm and cold, smooth and rough,” says London-based architect Giuliana Salmaso, who, along with Claudio Silvestrin, conceived the hotel’s structure and feel.
“The concept for the apartments is based on the feeling of Berlin in recent years. Interiors in Berlin are mainly in concrete and wood, so we chose concrete in China green, which is a gentle color, and warm wood.”
This light, minimalist color scheme offers travelers a cool, modern ambience, yet touches of tactile abundance and luxury can be found everywhere – even the curtains are done in soft beige suede and the upholstery in rough canvas. An opulent white bed dressed in tones of fuchsia and burgundy is set on a strip of shag rug and is surrounded by sleek, Asian-manufactured furniture.
The open floor design also includes a sink and vanity area perched on a concrete block. A subtle, inconspicuously elegant washroom area, accessible via a couple of smooth concrete steps, sits right behind the sink and is separated by a glass wall. It integrates a rain shower as well as a handheld shower.
“In the combination of concrete in the bathroom, of wood in the furnishings and cement on the floor, you get an unexpected effect. Also there is no real divide between the washroom and the living space,” says Berlin-based collaborative architect Moritz Müller, explaining a concept that at the time the hotel was built seemed well ahead of its time, but indeed has a history. The clever integration of functional and living spaces was often proposed for private residences by midcentury architectural legend Le Corbusier.
For all its trendiness and minimalist design, Lux 11 Berlin-Mitte is also a place where the forward thinking can live in domestic, more self-sufficient comfort for extended stays. All apartments – ranging in size from 279 ft² to 699 ft² – feature sleek white kitchen units fully equipped with mini-stove, coffeemaker, toaster oven, microwave, dishwasher and refrigerator. In the basement, guests who wish to do their own laundry can enjoy the use of Mièle washers and dryers, available on a complimentary basis. At the same time, they can indulge in Aveda-based hair treatments at the Beate Kahlcke hair salon, or take in the sounds of the city’s best DJs in the Luchs restaurant or The Lodge bar.
The contrasts continue, even in the hotel’s name. While “Lux” may evoke luxury, the moniker also refers to its location on Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse, which is named after the historic German champion of early 20th century socialist causes. Affectionately referred to by locals as “the Lux,” the hotel mixes history with modernity, melds energetic chic with sublime relaxation; and most of all, it offers a haven in the central, pulsating district of Mitte, a neighborhood that reflects like no other, the ever-changing sides of the new Berlin.