Essentials of comfort
Written by: David Friday
Photo by: Věroslav Sixt
This four-star hotel in Prague's Old
Town received almost immediate acclaim as a design sensation when
it opened as Prague's newest boutique hotel. Designed by Eva Jiřičná
Architects, it was accepted into the elite umbrella of the Berlin-based
design hotelsTM and won the American Institute of Architects' Design
Excellence award for the UK. Throughout, it is evident that design
investment has been concentrated on essential elements of comfort,
rather than unnecessary luxuries.
A glazed link through the central garden court connects
the hotel's Pink House and Orange House.
The black and polished metal is a tribute to Czech
modernism in Jiřičná's signature staircase. The glass brings the
advantage of maximum light to the lower level.
The theme of openness and light continue in the
breakfast room, furnished with Thonet chairs and tables. On the
back wall, a completely natural and colorful note is provided by
a collage of Asian butterflies. The restaurant also serves conference
Glass frontage and soft but abundant lighting accentuate
the reception area's clean and open concept. Metal and glass complement
the mild, natural tone provided by Portuguese limestone tiles.The
bar provides a rest stop and meeting place for guests, adding a
sense of vibrancy to the reception area throughout the day.
A theme of simple practicality: furniture in an
efficiently designed room provides guests with essentials in a comfortable
setting, including various lighting to work by or relax in (the
ambient lighting automatically shuts off once the guest leaves the
room); sumptuous (but fully washable) fabrics prevail, even on the
Baleri armchairs; bathrooms are boldly walled in glass with Portuguese
limestone and design touches like Philippe Starck fittings.
from the outside
What motivated you in the concept
for Hotel Josef and what was your intention for its final
I've traveled so much and stayed at so many hotels from America
to Europe to Asia, and I hated most of them. Inevitably, I
analyzed it, so with this hotel I tried to avoid the unpleasant
effects - be it dark rooms, an enclosed feeling, or visual
clutter everywhere - and built on those I considered pleasant,
such as an open feeling, natural light, things essential for
comfort. We wanted to articulate the details in a way not
irritating in the context of Old Town and its architecture...to
make a modern building that would blend in without screaming
"I'm a new building".
from the inside
general manager, Hotel Josef
In what way does Hotel Josef's
design and distinction influence your approach to its management?
At the moment there are a lot of new hotels. In this environment,
it seems to me that if you know your target group, it makes
it easier to promote something special - in this case the
one and only member of design hotelsTM in the Czech Republic.
It is of utmost importance to back this up with a very special
level of service to those guests who choose Hotel Josef.