Q&A - Hotel Ultra
In the first of our "meet the retailer" series, we spoke to Lisa from the Hotel Ultra concept store in Berlin. When you've read this interview, it's well worth having a look at their website or going to see the store if you're in Berlin. It's a stunning array of collections, held together brilliantly by a consistent theme.
"Hotel ULTRA" is an unusual name for a store. Whats the concept behind the idea?
The founder of Hotel ULTRA, Mo Ghandehari, is literally one of the biggest fans of Depeche Mode you ever will get to know. One of their fantastic song titles "It’s No Good" is mentioned in the music album "ULTRA". This is where Hotel ULTRA get started.
Hotel ULTRA is the result of an creative ensemble of music passion plus design addiction combined with the outstanding idea of giving each product an individual character: Unusual design objects such as furniture and living accessories can check-in at Hotel ULTRA.
With a total of 36 "hotel rooms", the Hotel ULTRA offers its "guests" the opportunity, to stage themselves in the right light. Although each guest speaks his own (form)-language, everyone is able to arrange with each other. Every extraordinary guest who checks in to the ULTRA hotel brings his own history along the way of his journey.
At Hotel ULTRA the products will find a home where they can unfold, set up and present themselves during their stay. The idea of "Hotel" finds its physical implementation in our showroom, where at the entrance a unique and custom-made hotel reception welcomes each visitor. And a bar offers coffee and cake in the back.
A special shelving system, chandeliers and lightning effects emphasise the hotel theme.
Hotel ULTRA is merchandised beautifully. When you're making buying decisions, do you deliberately buy items that will look good next to your existing stock?
First of all – thank you for the compliment! Because this is the idea behind the concept of Hotel ULTRA: to find extraordinary and special products which stand for themselves or can be combined and arranged with other "guests".
So every buying decision is carefully considered e.g. concerning the story-behind, design language, color combination, well-known brands, no-name designer, product type, international or national context etc. This gives us the opportunity of multicultural arrangements. So, it can be said that the existing cultural clash in real hotels does even happen at Hotel ULTRA.
Is your website more or less important to you than your physical store?
The "Hotel" idea will always be the central theme no matter if online or offline. The online shop is a complement to the concept store and the other way around.
It’s important to give the customers the opportunity to experience the products in the physical store and furthermore to discover more variants in the virtual store. In view of the growing customers’ demands, both parts are not more or less important – they are necessary.
Do you consider new brands for your store or do you prefer to stick with designers that you already know?
As you know in real Hotels there is on the one hand a constantly exchange of hotel guests – a permanent come and go from all over the world with different cultural backgrounds, new influences and various behaviors. On the other hand you have regular guests who stay for a longer time or will always come back to. Especially second one enables hotels to take the guests preferences into account and consequently optimize the range of services.
Like real hotels we are also exposed to the ongoing changes in the interior and design aspect and thus never actually come to a standstill which brings creativity and new perspectives and might change our way of thinking. But it's significant to have a design approach which is stabile, convincingly and offers a high recognition value.