From turtles to Napoleon – Eclectic design references bring Hamburg hotel to life

David Chipperfield Architects and Stephen Williams Associates have transformed Hamburg’s former Ministry for Urban Development building into a culinary and cultural hub and hotel, called Tortue, for the emerging Stadthöfe Quarter.

The studios have converted the six-storey landmarked building – which dates from 1888 – while retaining its imposing redbrick façade. Inside, restored columns, soaring ceilings and wrought-iron marquees feature alongside mosaic tiled flooring, tall arched windows and original frescos painted by French artist Adrian Karbowsky in 1910.

Hoteliers Marc Ciunis, Carsten von der Heide and Anne-Marie Bauer wanted to Tortue the feature the city’s most innovative hotel design and commissioned a trio of interior designers to work on the project, which includes 114 bedrooms, eight suites and four long stay apartments.

Each was tasked with “drawing on Gallic savoir-vivre, centuries of history, and a reverence for slow living.” The completed design references everything from the French occupation of Hamburg between 1806 and 1814, when Napoleon is said to have lived on the street, to the form of the turtle, after which the hotel is named.

Kate Hume has designed the lofty accommodations, which feature bespoke wallpaper produced by Amsterdam-based Little Owl Design, smooth brass Areti pendant lamps, bathrooms covered in marble-inspired tiles and plush fabrics to encourage lounging.

Hong Kong-based designer Joyce Wang has created the hotel’s pan-Asian restaurant, Jin Gui, which has “a dark and seductive interior punctuated by loveseats upholstered in a graphic, tapestry-like fabric.” Meanwhile, a French-German Brasserie is characterised by black metro tiles, shadowy booths, and marble counters.

There are also three drinking establishments: the Stephen Williams-designed ‘bar noir’, Hume’s lobby level ‘bar bleu’, and a forthcoming rooftop bar, which will look over Herzog and de Meuron’s Elbphilharmonie in the distance

The hotel is a member of Design Hotels, which stated: “With a beguiling mix of modern, historical, and French-influenced design, Tortue Hamburg presents the stylised brilliance of multiple well-known interior designers whose work somehow feels both wholly original and a part of the storied neighbourhood.”

David Chipperfield Architects  Stephen Williams Associates  Hamburg  Tortue  Kate Hume  Joyce Wang 
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David Chipperfield Architects and Stephen Williams Associates have transformed Hamburg’s former Ministry for Urban Development building into a culinary and cultural hub and hotel, called Tortue, for the emerging Stadthöfe Quarter. The studios have converted the six-storey landmarked building – which dates from 1888 – while retaining its imposing redbrick façade. Inside, restored columns, soaring ceilings and wrought-iron marquees feature alongside mosaic tiled flooring, tall arched windows and original frescos
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Joyce Wang has designed the hotel's restaurant / Design Hotels
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