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Café Camaleón // MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

Text description provided by the architects.

Occupying the ground floor of the Casa Camper Berlin – the second hotel developed by Mallorcan shoe brand Camper – Café Camaleon combines a hotel lobby, restaurant, and retail showcase in the same space. Using carefully selected material details, the design creates a colour gradient that serves as a strong visual motif to organise the interior.
Casa Camper Berlin – the second hotel developed by Mallorcan shoe brand Camper – opened in 2009, situated in Berlin Mitte, close to a vibrant shopping area.

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

Alongside the hotel lobby, the ground floor of the building originally included a separate commercial space. Camper approached MVRDV and GRAS Arquitectos to design a new concept for a lobby, retail showcase for Camper shoes, and restaurant that would better align with the brand’s strong design reputation.
The occupancy patterns of the three programmes are very different, meaning they are unlikely to be busy at the same time.

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

There was therefore an opportunity to combine all three programmes in a single room, creating a flexible space that could adapt throughout the day, as well as for future needs, taking advantage of synergies between the different functions. Though the three areas operate very differently, they all share one necessary element: a counter for interacting with customers.

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

The main feature of the space is therefore a single, 18-metre-long counter serving all three functions.
Each function was given its own colour: red for the hotel lobby; white for the retail showcase, following the specifications for Camper Lab stores; and brown for the restaurant, inspired by the colour of German Milchkaffee.

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

To show the interaction between the different programs, the colours merge into each other, creating a colour gradient throughout the length of the space that is visible in the floors, walls, and counter. These vibrant colours were the inspiration for the project’s name, Camaleon, as the appearance of the space will be very different depending on one’s vantage point.

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

Camaleon also references the brand’s first shoe from 1975, the Camaleón.
Outside, a 12-metre-long openable glass façade creates a clear, welcoming connection to the street. Inside, the colour gradient is achieved with different materials and in different manners: from resin colour panels in the counter to printed wood for the walls and cement-based floor tiles, mixed with different ratios of red, clear and brown recycled glass – making use of a traditional technique from Mallorca, Camper’s hometown..

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

© MVRDV, GRAS Reynés Arquitectos

Café Camaleón Gallery

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