When travelling, if you want to experience good design and are tired of staying at cookie-cutter hotels and Airbnbs, check into a bolthole designed by some of the world’s most respected interior design studios and brands.
Designer-curated properties don’t just help you create memorable and aesthetically unique holiday experiences, they also double as showrooms and stores for the studios, brands, and their partners as well. These even allow you to purchase your favourite furniture pieces or décor items for your home.
VIPP HOTEL, Scandinavia
Founded in 1932, Danish family-owned brand Vipp started out making pedal-controlled bins but have since evolved into a modular kitchen brand that also designs furniture and lighting.
The Vipp Hotel is not a hotel in the traditional sense, but rather a collection of minimalist, Scandi-styled, self-catering holiday properties in Denmark, Sweden, and Norway that appeal to the design-conscious. An extraordinary setting combines a Vipp kitchen, furniture and home accessories in each of the one-room venues.
In Copenhagen itself, the Vipp Loft apartment sits atop a 1910 printing factory that is now home to the Vipp headquarters. Then there’s Vipp Chimney House in a former water pumping station now renovated with steel-framed arch doors, terrazzo flooring, a modern steel staircase, and a dining room
that opens to a private terrace.
Vipp Pencil Case, an apartment in Islands Brygge — a waterfront area not far from Copenhagen’s city centre—is tucked away in a sunlit corner of the courtyard of a 1930s, Bauhaus-inspired pencil factory.
Vipp Farmhouse, nestled in a forest on the Danish island of Lolland, was built in 1775, but in the hands of Vipp interior designer Julie Cloos Mølsgaard, it retains its historical, thatched roof façade and features bright, modern, and cosy interiors.
Vipp Shelter, a modernist nature cabin on the shores of Sweden’s Lake Immeln, was designed by the company’s chief designer Morten Bo Jensen as “a battery-charging station for humans” and offers spectacular views of the lake and Swedish countryside.
The Bolder SkyLodges — a collaboration with architect John Birger Grytdal, founder of Norwegian prefabricated timber house makers Norgeshus — are two architecturally dramatic, one-legged cabins perched above Norway’s Lysefjord that look out to stunning fjord views. Here, you are as close to sleeping in the clouds as you’ll ever get.
“Our destinations all share the same goal. We want to invite people to experience first-hand our philosophy of good design in a place [that is] out of the ordinary,” says Vipp CEO, Kasper Egelund. The hotels offer guests a chance to test-drive a Vipp kitchen, and if they do decide to buy the kitchen in their holiday home, their stay will be on the house.
STAY FLOYD, United States
Kyle Hoff and Alex O’Dell, from Detroit, Michigan, launched a Kickstarter campaign in 2013 with a single product: a table leg that allowed anyone to upcycle and make a table from any found surface material.
The Floyd Leg was a big hit and the duo have since expanded their business to include environmentally friendly beds, sofas, tables, outdoor furniture, storage systems and hardware.
To showcase their range of products, Floyd has partnered with more than a dozen Airbnb owners across North America to fill their rental properties with Floyd furniture.
These include Birch Le, a peaceful retreat in Lake Leelanau, Michigan, that’s a great base for hiking, and exploring the beaches and wineries nearby; Clementine Creekhouse, a modern treehouse-like home in the scenic Delaware River Valley in New York with a private creek; a renovated 1920s bungalow in East Austin, Texas; a cottage in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York; and a Scandi-inspired bolthole in Mount Hood, Oregon.
If you’re travelling to these states and want to be far from the maddening crowd and have easy access to nature, these Floyd- Airbnb collaborations are certainly worth looking at.
MCKINLEY BUNGALOWS, Montauk, United States
Robert McKinley, the New York-based, celebrity interior designer and creative director of Studio Robert McKinley, has completed more than 30 high-profile hospitality projects, so he’s no stranger when it comes to designing spaces that encourage rest and relaxation. McKinley Bungalows is McKinley and his wife’s own collection of four summery, holiday rentals in the small coastal hamlet of Montauk on New York’s Long Island.
Inspired by the salt-weathered coastline of Montauk, and the elegance of European seaside towns, the collection’s four properties — Fairview, Federal, Etna, and Edison — were all designed by McKinley and furnished with bedding, linens, furniture, housewares, appliances and accessories from his Studio’s favourite brands.
The idea for the bungalows started with the couple’s desire to create something different. McKinley and wife Kate wanted to create spacious beach houses that could accommodate large groups wanting a relaxed beach getaway.
“The original state of the homes was very basic—a perfect canvas for our minds to run wild, and for our designs and dream beach retreats to become a reality. Each interior was uniquely inspired by its individual character. For example, Fairview and Federal were mid- century, rancher-style homes, Etna, a simple concrete structure, and Edison, a traditional New England Cedar Shake house,” says McKinley.
The design concept for each property celebrates its location and the home’s original bones, and all have been remodelled and furnished with a medley of textures and organic materials that combine to create a harmonious, serene sanctuary.
“So many times, we have travelled and seen something from our accommodations that we wished we could have taken home with us. We also realised our own desire to stay in places that felt more like a home than a hotel. With that in mind, we decided to take our favourite products out of the stale showroom environment and bring them to life in a rentable home where everything is for sale— including the house,” says McKinley.
THE AUDO RESIDENCES, Copenhagen, Denmark
A showroom and boutique hotel in Copenhagen’s North Harbour, The Audo Residence is part of The Audo, a hybrid space conceived by Bjarne Hansen, founder and former CEO of Danish design shop MENU. It houses a concept store, eateries, meeting spaces and offices in a once disused merchant house.
Designed by Norm Architects and decorated with fixtures and furnishings from MENU and its brand partners, the 10 hotel rooms and suites each have their own distinct look. With a palette inspired by the Nordic landscape, the Penthouse is light and serene with a high, open-vaulted ceiling.
The Studio Suite is warm and inviting with its curated wellness products, artworks and
living accessories. All rooms feature soft, oak floorboards from Dinesen, along with deluxe double beds from DUX fitted with organic linens by Aiayu.
“One of the things that distinguishes The Audo from many other places is that you can go in and experience products before you want to buy them,” says Hansen. “You can purchase everything that you see, from floor to ceiling to furniture. We have 20 brands using The Audo as their showroom.”
But the rooms won’t stay the same for too long because Hansen and his team constantly refurbish and redo the interiors—as is done with furniture and retail showrooms—so guests can look forward to a
different experience on their next visit.
“We will always make new partnerships, refurbish, and redo things, so [The Audo Residences] lives and continually has new things to offer,” says Hansen.