A special combination: Hansgrohe Axor, Dutch Design and Hotelschool Zuyd in Maastricht
Have you ever slept under a swimming elephant? Have you ever showered in an autumn forest? This is possible in the high-profile designer hotel in Teaching Hotel Chateau Bethlehem Maastricht.
After one and a half years of intensive collaboration between Hansgrohe/Axor and Hotelschool Zuyd in Maastricht, a very special project is realized. The old Chatêau Bethlehem, belonging to the internationally reputable Hotelschool Zuyd in Maastricht, has been transformed into a flagship hotel in the area of design. Hansgrohe/Axor was one of the suppliers for the bathrooms in the hotel.
A number of well known Dutch designers and architects have accounted for the layout of the 26 rooms. Designers such as Richard Hutten, Job Smeets, Piet Hein Eek, Evelyne Merkx, Jurgen Bey, Marcel van Neer and Fleur Muris, D / Dock (Francesco Messori) and Gerben van der Molen (Stars Design) benefit from the wide range of taps and showers of Hansgrohe/Axor for the design of the bathrooms. This created a variety of combinations in the 26 bathrooms. Axor collections from international designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Antonio Citterio been applied in several rooms so that creates a unique blend of international and Dutch design. Further Bart Hage is responsible for the design of the bar and restaurant was designed by Leon de Lange. Bart Vos has made the design for public areas.
The hotel will be run by students from the Maastricht Hotel Management Zuyd. There are also talented students at the Design Academy in Eindhoven and Maastricht School of Architecture involved in this project. The Hotel opened officially 10. September 2010.
With an eye to the many changes that the hospitality industry has undergone over the years, the Hotel Management School Maastricht felt it had become a necessity to create an environment that will stimulate and inspire not only their teaching staff, but especially their students. This environment should not only enable to integrate the latest trends and developments into the curriculum, but also stimulate students to search for potential innovations and expose them to design-oriented and conceptual thinking even before they start their careers. The school truly believes that the ability to deal with change and innovation is an essential management skill.
In order to aid creativity and conceptual thinking, the TEACHING hotel has been developed with the assistance of established, leading and young designers.
The first historical reference to Chateau Bethlehem dates back to the 13th century, when it was called Limmale Castle. In 1248, John, Earl of Brabant ,conquered the castle, and over the centuries it changed ownership many times until in the 16th century it came into the possession of the famous Order of the German Knights, which restored the building extensively. After they abandoned the castle, it lost its status and as of 1585 it was only referred to as Limmale Farm.
In the 17th century, three additional wings were built around the courtyard which today forms the central part of the building. Only in the 19th century, a new residence was built by Louis Beguin in front of the farm which in those days was called the ‘Palace’. The next owner was the Bettonville family which, in 1865, added the small tower, a copy of the tower of nearby Jerusalem Castle. The last owner of the castle was the Stevens-Regout family, famous Maastricht entrepreneurs.
Over the years the castle was used as living quarters and seriously deteriorated until the Hotel Management School acquired the building in 1953 and converted it into dormitories for its students. Initially, only the ‘Palace’ was used, but soon the growing number of students demanded the renovation of one wing after the other. The famous Maastricht architect Jean Huysmans was hired for the extensive 1960 renovation, which included changes to the exterior of the building as well as the conversion of the barn and stable wings into living quarters. The house of the farmer was made into additional dormitories, the butter cellar to a wine tasting room, the hay loft became to a bar, the horse stables a TV room, the pigsty a kitchen and the former carriage house ended up a restaurant. During this renovation the artist Daan Wildschut created the ceiling painting in the restaurant which can still be admired today.
When in 1980 new campus buildings were constructed, the castle was converted into staff office. Upon the completion of a new office building in 2008, the staff moved out and the concept to create a Teaching Hotel to allow students to experience the operational aspects of the hospitality business became reality.
When looking for a designer for the hotel, the management of the Hotel Management School Maastricht soon ended up with Henk Vos, artdirector, since he was the one that also designed the Kruisherenhotel in Maastricht which earned many design awards. It was his idea to design the hotel together with several designers and this lead to the cooperation with 12 young, Dutch designers. A cooperation with the target to develop the centuries old castle to a unique learning environment for students. A surrounding that connects past and future, an unconventional meeting point for education, design, entrepreneurship and hospitality.
Seven established Dutch designers and a recently graduated designer of the Maastricht Academy for construction art each designed several rooms. This resulted in 26 different hotel rooms. Each room is unique and tells its own story. It is remarkable how the individually designed rooms tell a story together as well. Bart Vos was responsible for the public areas. In his design you can find influences of students from the Maastricht Academy for the Arts, such as the design of the serene, empty hallways.
Leon de Lange is responsible for the restaurant L’Etoile. The young designer from Utrecht won the contest that was held between four students of the Design Academy Eindhoven. His concept ‘A classroom’ is the foundation of an experimental environment. Within this environment, students of the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Hotel Management School Maastricht will work together with seasonal themes for restaurant L’Etoile.
The longstanding cooperation with the beer brewery Brand from South-Limburg has resulted in the involvement of Bart Hagevoort. The designer that put his signature on the Heineken brewery, contributed with the design of the Bar Le Coin.
The Hotel Management School’s own architecture teacher Luc Coenegracht designed the four meeting rooms. Like the hotel rooms, these meeting rooms each have their own character.
The designers received a fairly broad task. The only request was to respect the monumental elements of the castle and present a source of inspiration for the students. The description presented the possibility for the designer to form the rooms in a unique, non-conventional way. It is very special to see that in spite of the offered freedom, the rooms tell a story together. A coherent whole and source of inspiration for guest and student. Designs that lead to a new way for the hotel industry. An approach that is innovative, stimulates out-of-the-box thinking. A creative and inspiring environment, an environment that has been shaped by the cooperation with designer, several faculties and partners.
Studio Eek en Ruijgrok
Studio Richard Hutten
Studio Makkink & Bey
Merkx + Girod
Fleur Muris & Marcel van Neer
Leon de Lange
Henk Vos – art director
Bart Kockelkoren – technical advisor
Futurion shower tray, walk-in shower enclosure
Geos architectura shower tray
Hommage washbasin, bathtub
Lifetime shower enclosure
Loop & Friends washbasin
Memento washbasin black and white, WC black
Nexus bathtub with whisper combipool system
Omnia Architectura WC
Omnia classic WC / washbasin
Omnia pro shower tray
Pure stone WC
Squaro shower tray, bathtub
Subway shower tray, washbasin, WC, urinal, shower enclosures