Puro GdańskAlia Akkam • January 24, 2018
In 2011, when the Polish hospitality brand Puro Hotels debuted with a property in Wrocław, “the markets in the major Polish cities were dominated by the well-known international hotel chains, lacking any sense of place or personality,” recalls Rune Askevold, managing director and creative head of Puro Hotels. “We wanted to offer travelers a more interesting product, focusing on friendly and personal service, art and design, and to make sure that our hotels have their own unique character reflecting their respective locations.”
Now, with additional outposts in Kraków, Poznań, and Warsaw, and featuring collaborations with design firms such as Conran and Partners, Superfutures, and for its forthcoming second hotel in Warsaw, AvroKO, the collection continues to thrive. Consider the recently revamped Puro Gdańsk Stare Miasto on the Baltic Coast. With the first phase completed by London-based DeSallesFlint in 2015 (the firm was also tasked with Puro’s original Warsaw property), the hotel now flaunts 111 additional guestrooms for a total of 211 as well as Dancing Anchor restaurant and rooftop hangout Ink Above.
“The challenge was to keep the energy alive over the years between the two different phases of building and create one design hotel with everything speaking the same language,” explains partner Simon Flint. One of the biggest obstacles, for example, included the presence of two large atriums, which were transformed into the striking Shed, a steel-and-glass structure above the restaurant that is “almost like a greenhouse,” Flint adds, “allowing views up from the dining room, down from the conference floor, and even more dramatic ones from the top-floor bar, truly linking all the spaces and activities of the hotel.”
Impressive sightlines are also found on lower ground, says partner Regis de Salles, with “frosted screens fashioned from five different types of glass offering glimpses into the restaurant from the lobby seating, providing some interesting separation between spaces. The movement of people adds a cool animation.”
Tragically decimated during World War II, Gdańsk has recently emerged a booming culture powerhouse. Showcasing this artistic buzz are the works on display throughout the hotel, including a striking geometric mural by Seikon, and abstract mashups incorporating 18th-century maps and archive images from London-based Guglielmo Rossi.
Paying homage to Gdańsk’s rich maritime history was vital to the team, says de Salles, pointing out that “research is the primary and most important element of our process. We take a deep breath and then go and connect, just like the inquisitive hotel guest.”
Industrial shipyard landscapes and the warehouses of Granary Island jumped out at DeSallesFlint in particular leading to a mix of oxidized metals and leather with such natural fibers as cotton, wool, and linen. In the restaurant, bespoke lighting fixtures are graced by rope and specially fumed, stained, and finished oak makes a splash in guestrooms. Sipping cocktails from the rooftop while gazing at the cranes that capture Gdańsk’s soul is arguably the guest’s most powerful hold on the city.