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Assaulted by designers

The Hotel Lloyd in the eastern docklands of Amsterdam, is a beautiful place. It’s got a handsome exterior, beautiful common spaces, and a great location on the waterfront. Unfortunately, it’s infested with designers.

I was in New York a few weeks ago, staying in a “boutique” hotel. One of my colleagues, staying in the same hotel, had a wonderful rant about her trouble with “designer” hotels – “Why the hell don’t they have any drawers? I like to put my underwear away, not have it sitting out there in plain view.”

She shouldn’t stay at the Lloyd. I’m fond of the hotel that she found troubling and I think perhaps I’m not cut out to stay at the Lloyd.

The shtick of the hotel is that each room is custom-designed and unique, somehow transcending the character of the building as a former prison hospital. The website mentions that some rooms feature toilets in the middle of the room, rather than tucked away in a separate room, and that other rooms feature four-meter wide beds, or beds that tuck into the walls.

My toilet, thankfully, isn’t front and center. Instead, it’s part of a three-piece folding unit that features a toilet room, a tub/shower and a sink unit. Made of avocado-green fiberglass, it’s really all you see when you walk into the room, and is clearly the dominant feature of the space. Tucked behind it is a reasonably comfy bed, a TV on an institutional mount, and a rug and curtains in a shade of orange from the 1970s which clashes just perfectly with the odd green bath unit. I get the sense that the designer dropped the green thing in the middle of the room, added some orange to offset it, and then realized s/he’d need to add a bed and TV if anyone hoped to rent this as a hotel room.

Mere mortals couldn’t design a space this ugly. You need professional designers, preferably with PhDs, to achieve this level of ugliness.

I have realized certain advantages. Because the bathroom folds up, it’s possible to barricade yourself in the room by moving the sink unit to block the only egress. I guess that will come in handy if the 1970s colors send me into an uncontrollable, murderous rage and Dutch police come to arrest me.

Fortunately, I’m here to attend a conference full of people I like very much. If all goes well, I’ll see as little of this room as possible… which, frankly, would be just fine by me.

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