THDP designs Pigeon Post Bar & Eatery at Hilton Cologne, with a design concept inspired by the history of the hotel and its building – once being a Post Office.

The Hotel is nestled in an amazing location in Cologne’s city heart, being a stone’s throw from the most visited attraction in the city the Cologne Cathedral, a building of superlatives that is the centre and hallmark of this city on the Rhine.

The Hilton Cologne lobby, bar and social space were redesigned and re-furbished with a modern, innovative gastronomy concept. The centerpiece is the new ‘Pigeon Post’ – a combination of restaurant, bar and lounge and social working area – with an unusual name and funny details as a clear reference to the history of the building.  It was a post office in the early 1950s through to the late 1990s. Later, after a long vacancy, in 2002 it was finally gutted and converted into the Hilton Hotel.

The Pigeon Post replaces the Lobby Bar and the previous IceBar. The Pigeon Post Bar & Eatery invites you to enjoy special coffee specialties in the morning, after which it becomes the “Eatery” with a separate entrance for external guests. At lunchtime and in the evening, there are refined à la carte dishes on the menu – while the bar tempts you with a variety of cocktails and drinks from 5 p.m. The optically chic restaurant & bar was built with a total of 110 seats, with a variety of furnishings, seating options including intimately lit dining areas. The Interior designers implemented the new concept and included some quirky details, typewriters as artworks, mailboxes in which you can leave books and magazines for other guests – you can even choose and send postcards for free.
The concept’s Keywords for this project are: charming, fresh ,inviting, invigorating characterful & big on fun.

The hotel was once home to Cologne’s postal savings bank, a landmark building on the famous Marzellenstrasse. The building’s heritage is the inspiration for the interior design – expressing this vintage vibe,  considered, contemporary with fun quirky details. A feature central bar with prominent overhead gantry in wood and copper colors, Table tops are in faux marble effects from Dekton and Neolith – expressing the previous functionality of the building and updating the effect to offer a more intimate but contemporary vibe.

Seating options in the bar are either at the bar on new Stellar Works bar stools, and custom made half moon cozy booths fabricated by Hagenauer, providing private dining in a more intimate space. Dining/lounge sets of 4 and 2 are for more casual occasions. The interior uses a simple earthy color palette of blue greens, greys drizzled with mustard, and has a unique balance between industrial, vintage and modern styling.  Visually attractive textures and materials were chose as guest touch points, visual appeal and durability.

“Curating the artwork and accessory package sprang from the narrative of the F&B concept, an early choice was to re-use obsolete German 70’s office equipment and furnishings and to re-appropriate them in a relevant contemporary way.” said Nicholas J Hickson, THDP co-founder. The overall effect was to convey a sense of heritage with a real 1970’s vibe.   Vintage mechanical typewriters, light fittings and objet d’art were curated to give an aesthetic appeal and to be a curio or an ornamental talking point for “Pigeon Post” guests.

Artworks were inspired by the buildings history as a post office and represented using various mediums, including mixed media painting, stamp collages , ceramics, wood and digital prints created by local and international artists.

Fun, colorful decorative objects, books and curiosities were incorporated for the dressing of the social working area Library. Artworks inspired by collages, typography recalling the graphics of old German post offices, with perching wooden pigeons, screening inspired by typewriter keys were all incorporated to layer the interior.  Typewriters are mounted in glass display cases each with a love letters being typed, post boxes and writing counters are positioned to invite guests to pick up a free postcard and write to a loved one or friend – the hotel then posts them for free.

The cool relaxed dining area uses dark faux stone for the table tops, seating is framed by rear glass privacy screening with bespoke lighting which is retro illuminated and visible front street. Signage is taken from Post Office Graphics mimicking postal or travel signage – using post marks and postage stamps.

Project: Pigeon Post Bar & Eatery at Hilton
Location: Cologne, Germany
Design Studio: THDP
Photo Credits: Stefan Bunkofer

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