The brand Camper is looking at ‘what has always been from another angle’. In Casa Camper, the Camper hotel, time passes more slowly and one breathes a Mediterranean air.
Instantly I seemed to have adopted Campers brand attitude to look at things differently so I’m going to start describing from the inside of this hotel and work myself out, (secretly I already feel like I don’t want to leave the place!) First impressions are that of a comfortable waiting room, long metal benches, remind me of airport lounges. I mean that to be a compliment. While airport lounges still have a long way to be aesthetically pleasing, Casa camper seems to have combined the utilities of a lounge, (space/ergonomic materials) with the comfort and informality of a home. i-am love Camper. Camper have a special twist to all the work they produce and a deep respect for their Mediterranean roots. This combination, magic and heritage, gives the brand scope to explore, branch out into the many areas of branding. Branding today is becoming a world of ideas. Camper have build their own world and Casa Camper invites us to experience this world and way of thinking.
Sleek double seated benches back from the reception area onto a dining area. Food is available at all times in the hotel. There is a self serve kitchen, canteen, open 24 hrs and you are able to eat where you like. i-am love this informal approach, that you are able to walk around with your food, like in your own home! The interior is a contrast of industrial furniture with traditional images, photos of old shop fronts in BCN. There are maps everywhere…great i-am love maps. This is so you not only know where you are but can plan your next BCN adventure!
Up the shaded lit stairs you are greeted with a spectacular terrace. Guest are encouraged to use the stairs I am told, thats ok I think, I wanna be part of Camper. I like what I see and feel good following their brand statement, ‘The walking Society’. This area gives the guest a way of feeling and living Mediterranean. Another home from home touch which i-am love is the herb garden and tomatoes growing in the corner!
The whole hotel is dimly lit. Its dark, but gives a refreshing feeling, especially needed from the humidity outside in the Summer. The deep red and green colours of the interior walls work relaxing colour therapy on you. The hotel has a small number of rooms and a nice Camper concept to go with them. Not only do you get you bedroom but across the corridor you have you own private living room. Ah so Spanish, relaxation always on there mind…MC hammock time!
The bedroom side of the building backs on to a wall. Space is a luxury in BCN and as a result town planning seems all over the place! But that is BCN charm and because of this the cities architecture holds clever surprises, ideas to utilize spaces. So while the bedrooms hold no view they have cleverly created a vertical garden, a wall of huge pot plants. The living areas have a small balcony to watch on the street below. i-am also loved the eye chart in the bathrooms, for you to read while doing your toilet business!
‘Design means basically three things for Camper. The desire to integrate and function into its products:ethics and aesthetics. Imagining better solutions, incorporating available technology to make these products more useful, more responsible, so that they improve people health and quality of life.’
Some subtle design touches i-am noticed while mooching about, the robot top coat hanger in reception and collection of strange objects found in the building before the hotel was built. These objects are displayed in glass cabinets in the reception area. Reminded me of the London Paul Smith headquarters, where his collection of inspiration objects have been cased in wooden /glass cabinets, becoming the interior decoration of the reception area.
Camper collaborate with over 40 world class designers (I was interested to discover Neville Brody was one of them). Marti Guixe a Catalan designer has applied his radicalism, wit, and handwriting superbly to Casa Camper. Described as ‘a hedgehog in a land of foxes’ this man sits perfectly with the brand and hence has created a strong partnership on many projects. If you do nothing else today but look at his website, that is enough!
And that brings me back to the start, the outside, where I could almost miss the entrance to the door of the hotel but that’s what I like instantly about it. It was there but not screaming in your face look and me, just a splash of red, some shoes quietly, mischievously poking under, saying look over here!
Camper as a brand have remained humble despite their deserved global success. ‘Design does not solve all company problems, but it does contribute its bit to what we call a cultural and human approach to business activity’. They encourage branding to ‘keep walking through the world with imagination’ and if you do need to stop and relax along the way, i-am highly recommend Casa Camper.