Interior design studio THDP have taken inspiration from the history of the building housing Hilton Cologne to create The Pigeon Post Bar & Eatery, a new restaurant and bar that combines vintage style with modern hospitality…
The Hilton Cologne 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. The city is also known for its vibrant cultural scene, including numerous festivals such as Cologne Carnival, Cologne Lights, Cologne Pride, Art Cologne, IMM Cologne, Heinzels Winter Fairy-tale: Handbrotzeit and several food festivals, amongst many others. The hotel itself was once home to Cologne’s postal savings bank, a landmark building on the famous Marzellenstrasse. The building’s heritage is the inspiration behind the interior design of The Pigeon Post Bar & Eatery by the THDP design studio, which expresses this vintage vibe, while being considered and contemporary with some fun quirky details.
The Hilton Cologne lobby, bar and social spaces were redesigned and re-furbished to accommodate a modern, innovative gastronomy concept, and the centrepiece of this, is the Pigeon Post, a combination of restaurant, bar and lounge and social working area. Its unusual name and amusing details are a clear reference to the buildings history as 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 Bar & Eatery invites you to enjoy curated 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 à la carte dishes on the menu, while the bar shifts into cocktails and drinks mode from early evening . The optically chic restaurant and bar was built with a total of 110 seats, with a variety of furnishings and seating options which include intimately lit dining areas. A feature central bar dominates the space with a prominent overhead gantry in wood and copper colours. The table tops are in a faux marble, expressing the previous functionality of the building while updating the effect to offer a more intimate but contemporary vibe. Seating options are either at the bar on new Stellar Works bar stools, or in the custom made half moon cozy booths fabricated by Hagenauer, providing private dining in a more intimate space.
Curating the artwork and accessory package sprang from the narrative of the F&B concept, and part of this reference was the choice to reuse obsolete German 70’s office equipment and furnishings and to re-appropriate them in a relevant contemporary way. 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. With a lovely attention to detail, the typewriters, mounted in glass display cases, each have a love letter 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, and the hotel then posts them for free.
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, colourful 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.
The interior uses a simple earthy colour palette of blue greens, greys drizzled with mustard, and has a unique balance between industrial, vintage and modern styling.
As interior designers on this project, THDP were able to harness its trademark narrative based approach incorporating an inherent creative curiosity, while working closely with local manufacturers, artisans, and talented artists. This interior reflects an experiential guests focused approach which is evident in so many of the details running thought this design.
> Since you’re here, why not check the RG Naxos design project by THDP?
Main image credit: Hilton / THDP