Bedding in culture

once upon a time

Distinctive, cutting-edge design is integral to CitizenM, a hotel brand which opens on London’s Bankside this week, appealing to the smart, cosmopolitan traveller with a recipe of stylish comfort and cultural amenities. “We are trying to build a contemporary brand for today’s traveller who is both young at heart and very aware of what is going on,” says Robin Chadha, chief marketing officer of CitizenM. “These people are very informed and with that goes new ways of working, new ways of being entertained and cultural aspects such as art and books.”

The London opening is the fourth for a brand, which already has properties in Amsterdam and Glasgow and is poised to expand further into New York and Paris. The formula it uses to tap into the culture-savvy target consumer is a mix of innovation in design and technology, contemporary art and luxurious interior finishes. The look and feel is high-end but with room rates starting at £99, CitizenM captures a wider consumer-base than the classic design hotel.

CitizenM uses four avatars to define its target consumer: business traveller, cultural traveller, fashionista and explorer. Age and gender are not important to the brand manifesto and the company is much more likely to think in terms of someone who is value conscious and loves luxury or is interested in efficiency and style.

“People are definitely more interested in culture now,” comments Chadha. “Partly because it is so much more available to them with the sheer variety of events going on in a city like London, but also because of how technology allows for the spread of thoughts and ideas.”

CitizenM also gives local artists a platform to showcase their work. Specially commissioned art works for CitizenM Bankside include 2006 Turner prize nominee Mark Titchner and international art duo Assume Vivid Astro Focus. The look and feel of the hotel has been developed by interiors specialist Concrete and hip furniture designers Vitra. The vibrant, cutting-edge tone is augmented by the presence of cult Amsterdam bookshop MENDO.

The bookshop, which takes the form of an outsized literary tome in the hotel lobby, houses around 60 titles from the five categories of fashion, photography, travel, interior design and graphic design. Connecting with the technology preferences of the target group, consumers can buy the books either in person or online via an iPad device in-store.

“The bookshop positions us as a lifestyle hotel but also signals – through titles such as Helmut Newton’s Polaroids and the best restaurants of the world – that we have a certain level of taste,” says Chadha. “It touches the things the young executive guest is interested in.”

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