CREATING IDENTITY – Hotel construction in Bensheim revives the history of the region


Sometimes the past provides forward-looking impulses. At least that was the case when planning the Hotel Tobbaccon in Bensheim. For when the architect Michael A. Landes and his client explored the surroundings of the building plot, the architect learned about the history of tobacco cultivation in the region. Since the 17th century, tobacco has been grown and processed in the area now known for wine growing. At the turn of the millennium, however, the last farmers on the Bergstrasse gave up tobacco growing. But at Landes the idea was born: The hotel and the new chain should be called Tobbaccon and so some design details were clear. The plan was to have a brown façade and windows that look like tobacco leaves. In addition, the beds in the hotel room should be positioned so that the hotel guest can look straight through the “tobacco leaf” into the Odenwald.

“A big challenge was that the hotel is located in an industrial area, but directly adjacent to Bensheim,” says the architect. “We also wanted a parking lot for 100 cars, but we didn’t want them to attract attention.” The architect solved this problem by placing the building diagonally on the plot of land and thus freeing it up. This not only created an independent solitaire, but this positioning also virtually eliminated the view of the parking spaces from the room windows.

Inside, too, the ambience and colours were intended to remind us of the great age of tobacco in the region: the typeface used is therefore by architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who liked to smoke cigars. The colours brown, white, black with a dab of green were used consistently: Brown and white striped marble was laid in the entrance hall and breakfast room, and the corridors were fitted with appropriately striped carpeting. Brown-stained wooden doors lead into brown-painted hotel rooms.

Light plays an important role in hotels. “With the company, we planned a sophisticated lighting architecture and implemented it with high quality,” says the architect. “For the 111 hotel rooms, individual luminaires were developed or the entrance hall was staggered several times upwards and provided with invisible light to create an almost festive atmosphere”. Matching the entrance counter in mahogany and stainless steel and the seating in black leather.

Photos in the article: Marcus Bredt

HERE you can read the article online in CUBE magazine