Provocateur BerlinPhotography by Peter Langer • August 23, 2017
The lavish and tender spirit of Europe’s shimmering past receives a romantic and intimate upgrade at Provocateur Berlin, a new boutique concept in the city’s Charlottenburg district. Weaving together the aesthetics of past and present Berlin, the property is a series of spaces conceived to inspire warmth and conviviality.
Housed in a 1911 Art Nouveau building from Wilhelm Gutzeit, the building has been renovated by local architecture practice TSSB Architekten Ingenieure and Amsterdam-based designer Saar Zafrir, who added a layer of mystery to the hotel’s 1920s-inspired Paris and Berlin aesthetic. “When the owners came up with the name, Provocateur, it was very clear to me which direction the design would take,” he says. Consider the original stucco elements, marble, and brass with velvet accents that create a burlesque-style flair that embodies the era.
“The general concept of the hotel was a sexy and lively atmosphere catering to a nightlife-centric clientele,” Zafrir notes. “The overall design aesthetic and inspiration was “Midnight in Paris”—all the cozy, intimate, romantic, and mysterious places one can find through the small streets of the city at night.”
The lobby resembles a large drawing room with red velvet seating and curtains that partitions the room into private spaces when necessary. Off the lobby, soft textures and a red and blue palette span the Provocateur Bar and Restaurant, while the bar font features brass piping and marble finished in a complementary black. For authenticity, original fishbone oak floors remain untouched in certain rooms. “It’s a very beautiful old floor that I insisted on remaining. The small imperfections help keep the vintage look,” says Zafrir.
Ranging from 160 to 450 square feet, the 58 guestrooms boast unique layouts as well as Provocateur Mode buttons that alter the lighting and project video art captured by local photographers within the hotel onto the walls, Zafrir adds.
Throughout, a sexy, carefree nature is evoked in the decadent color palette of red, blue, gold, and black “to create a great balance between passion, desire, mystery, and warmth,” he explains. Moody lighting was chosen carefully, crafting “dark and intimate corners but with enough light to feel that you are not alone.”
“Provocateur is a hotel that I designed with a lot of passion, and it shows in the design and atmosphere in the hotel,” Zafrir explains. “We wanted to create a new destination for everyone who is in a sense a bit provocative, a new destination and hotspot for Berlin.”