|The Student Hotel
|Design, Interior Design
C/Sancho de Ávila 22
|+33 14 903 5100
When we think of student accommodations we usually picture humdrum interiors of undistinguished décor and monotonous repetition, sensible spaces that cater to students’ basic needs. Not so with Dutch hotel group The Student Hotel (TSH) whose approach to student housing is radical in both concept and aesthetics. With ten campuses in nine European cities and eight more coming soon, TSH provides hybrid accommodation for students, travellers, and mobile professionals that combines living with leisure and work facilities in environments with a distinct personality. The newest TSH campus in Barcelona, Spain, a student-only residence, perfectly embodies the brand’s spirit through a design of unabashed exuberance and industrious playfulness by Valencia-based creative consultancy Masquespacio.
The Marina Campus, as it is called, is centrally located in Barcelona’s Sant Martí district, a short distance from both the city centre and the beach, in a four-towered, 21,000-square-meter modern building that contains 500 rooms and a plethora of communal spaces, such as gaming zones, open and closed seating areas, quiet study rooms and a rooftop swimming pool that encourage occupants to interact, connect and learn from one another as well as foster personal development.
The key element in Masquespacio’s interior design is the audacious use of colour which “not only influences one's mood” as the practice’s creative director Ana Hernández explains, but “can also be used to create a bold design statement in the environment”. Set against an industrial aesthetic of screed floors, exposed concrete columns and visible air ducts and cable trays, the designers have selectively applied a distinctive palette of delicious candy hues like bumblebee yellow, fuchsia and turquoise blue, which they have complemented by playful, black and white graphical patterns in the form of tiles or wallpaper.
The designers’ balanced treatment of colour and texture, prudently combined with a neutral palette of whites and greys, ensures that the decor never veers into garishness or eccentricity, establishing instead an environment of subtle stimulation and measured exuberance. Colour is also used to distinguish between the four towers; each one is assigned a different hue to grace their corridors and elevator lobbies—yellow for block “S”, turquoise for block “H”, grey for block “C” and dark blue for block “T”.
Potted plants, large graphics, and catchy mottos in neon lighting like “IF NOT NOW, WHEN?” and “GAME ON”, as well as an eclectic selection of modernist furniture in monochromatic colours and cubist shapes, synthesize a heightened aesthetic influenced by Pop Art, the design excesses of the 70s and the cheerful postmodernism of the Memphis Group, a Milanese design group keen on colourful decoration and asymmetrical shapes which was active in the 80s.
The same eclectic aesthetic characterizes the student rooms that feature a restrained use of colour for select walls and furnishings, modernist slender furniture, and plants and light fittings with an industrial flavour. The bedrooms’ quirky sensibility is counterbalanced by the all-white bathrooms animated by the use of square tiles, in line with Masquespacio’s interior design that strikes a fine balance between ebullience and sobriety that both inspires and comforts the students while whimsically reflecting their prolific lifestyle.