The ibis Styles Sarajevo hotel by Mixd is a tale inspired by the 1984 Winter Olympics about a city that could not be overcome by a cruel war and impresses with its joy of life. The hotel guests find themselves in a place where cultures meet, where amazing traditional crafts coexist with modern life, where they can enjoy delicious cuisine, excellent coffee and winter sports. This is a city hotel design with strong local flavour, embracing the history, culture and lifestyle of Sarajevo.
Opened in 2019, the hotel was designed to attract tourists who visit the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina. As the main theme of the project, Mixd chose the 1984 winter Olympics – an event that residents of Sarajevo remember with a great nostalgia. The designers wanted to use as many elements as possible that refer to the spirit of Sarajevo: its architecture, history and local craft. Their goal was to preserve the unique atmosphere of the city, where Islam, Catholicism, Judaism and Orthodoxy meet; where traces of wartime destruction can be still found in the streets; where oriental cafes and craftsmen’s workshops exists next to trendy boutiques and clubs.
In the selection of materials and colours, the exposed installations and raw concrete walls in the corridors and the hotel lobby were combined with wooden panelling in warm tones and locally woven wool carpets of rich colours and patterns. The central lobby point – shisha bar Chill Cafe – is all lined with carpets rich in motifs and colours, the room numbers are hand-woven kilims and decorated with furniture by Bosnian craftsmen. Mixed included local handicrafts which appear in many details: for example, the room numbers, and in the restaurant where one of the walls is decorated with a constellation of hand-forged metal trays.
On the ground floor, the main space is a lobby with reception and restaurant and a lounge bar. Below this is a spa area with swimming pools and saunas. The hotel also offers an a`la carte restaurant – here the interior combines bright, cold colours and an expansive mural by Polish artist Karol Banach – referring to the winter landscape and the aforementioned Olympics. The restaurant connects with the bar and lounge, where Mixd’s design becomes warmer and more casual, though the reference remains with the old gondolas from the ski lift serving as some of the seating. The 15th floor is a sky bar with panoramic windows on three sides – named the Ingman Bar to honour the highest mountain visible from there. The bar was made of glass blocks and the stools around are covered with sheep`s skins. Beautiful views can be enjoyed while sitting on a specially designed grandstand and drinking soft drinks and healthy cocktails.
Mixd’s design for the hotel blends contemporary design with local craft and reused items, whilst referencing the area and their inspirations. It is a modern interpretation of the places that work in Sarajevo like local cafes, restaurants, ruin bars, and celebrates the work of many local Bosnian artisans: carpenters, woodcarvers, fabric and carpet weavers and copper cookware manufacturers. It reflects how Bosniaks arrange these places and their private homes. References to the Olympics are found throughout the hotel, being main subject of several murals by Polish graphic artist Karol Banach and in each of the rooms you will find on the wall one pair of vintage skis – restored and painted in a warm orange colour. In the reception, swings made from colourful snowboards hang – this is a favourite place of hotel visitors.
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