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Copenhagen's new hotel and residence mixes Scandinavian design with the building's squatter roots

by Ami Kealoha
on 06 July 2010

Punctuated with graffiti and art on walls and ceilings, Copenhagen's new hotel and residence Stay nods to its recent heritage as a bustling artistic hub called the A House. From 2003 to 2006, the new guard of Danish creatives—among them Henrik Vibskov, Trentemøller and Tal R—lived, worked, performed or showed there in arrangement with the building's owners. Its sprawling rooftop terrace—the largest in Denmark—was a raucous underground venue and club.


Situated on Islands Brygge, Copenhagen's fast-revitalizing waterfront district, Stay was built in 1963 as a commercial office space. The concrete structure—which retains its original A-shape—opened earlier this year and houses 197 units in 16 floor plans, from studios to lofts and penthouses. Thanks to an invitation by Aiaiai (who've been involved with Stay since its squat days) to check out their new headphones, I had a chance to stay in one of the spacious floor-through apartments. Outfitted with pared-down black and white interiors furnished by Hay, the look smacks of clean Danish design. The roof features wooden decks and plant beds, with unrivaled 360° views of the river and skyline.


Stay stands out equally from other hotels not just for the generous and modern design, but for its refreshing brand of hospitality too. Faithful to its name and communal history, Stay eschews the check-in, check-out mentality in place of flexible, more personal accommodations. Along with private entrances, full kitchens and laundry machines in each unit, a supermarket, gourmet bakery and hair salon on the premises makes the location more convenient. (It's about 15 minutes walking to the center.)


Remaining close to its bohemian roots, Stay (with the help of a young architect) plans to convert a nearby storage facility into a new 2000 square-meter venue for concerts and exhibitions. And the hotel is at work on a concept of approaching artists and designers to curate several apartments, inviting young creatives coming to Copenhagen to stay as guests for free while they work.


For booking reservations and more details (rack rates start at about $200 nightly), visit Stay's website.

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