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Café Camaleón – Casa Camper / MVRDV + GRAS Arquitectos + Laura V Rave

Café Camaleón – Casa Camper / MVRDV + GRAS Arquitectos + Laura V Rave

Casa Camper Berlin opened in 2009, situated in Berlin Mitte, close to a vibrant shopping area. Alongside the hotel lobby, the ground floor of the building originally included a separate commercial space. Camper approached MVRDV and GRAS Arquitectos to design a new concept for a lobby, retail showcase for Camper shoes, and restaurant that would better align with the brand’s strong design reputation. 

ph: Daria Scagliola

The occupancy patterns of the three programs are very different, meaning they are unlikely to be busy at the same time. There was therefore an opportunity to combine all three programs in a single room, creating a flexible space that could adapt throughout the day, as well as for future needs, taking advantage of synergies between the different functions. Though the three areas operate very differently, they all share one necessary element: a counter for interacting with customers. The main feature of the space is therefore a single, 18-metre-long counter serving all three functions.  

ph: Daria Scagliola

Each function was given its own color: red for the hotel lobby; white for the retail showcase, following the specifications for Camper Lab stores; and brown for the restaurant, inspired by the color of German Milchkaffee. To show the interaction between the different programs, the colors merge into each other, creating a color gradient throughout the length of the space that is visible in the floors, walls, and counter. These vibrant colors were the inspiration for the project’s name, Camaleon, as the appearance of the space will be very different depending on one’s vantage point. Camaleon also references the brand’s first shoe from 1975, the Camaleón. 

 

Outside, a 12-metre-long openable glass façade creates a clear, welcoming connection to the street. Inside, the color gradient is achieved with different materials and in different manners: from resin color panels in the counter to printed wood for the walls and cement-based floor tiles, mixed with different ratios of red, clear and brown recycled glass – making use of a traditional technique from Mallorca, Camper’s hometown. 

ph: Daria Scagliola

DATE: 2021 / LOCATION: Berlin, Germany / AREA: 250 m2 (built) / PROGRAM: lobby hotel, café, store / STATUS: built / DESIGN: MVRDV + GRAS Arquitectos + Laura V Rave / CLIENT: Camper / PHOTOS: Daria Scagliola

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