The Student Hotel, Maastricht

Designed by: The Student Hotel Experience Design and The Invisible Party
For client: The Student Hotel Floor area: 17300.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Nominated for: Best Use of Colour

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 5
© Sal Marston

Void net with padded seating below: as part of the building’s preservation, the large void left by the two clay mixers had to be preserved, so a giant holding net was strung across the space with TVs above it in a playful take on a screening den.

About the Project

The Student Hotel Maastricht inhabits the former Sphinx Sanitair factory which made its last avocado suite in 2006. Sphinx is a brand which is synonymous with every home in the Netherland’s own porcelain throne and is the employer of thousands of workers around Maastricht.

As a listed historic building, the preservation of the concrete interior and grass-green painted metal beams was required. The Student Hotel was gifted with the Sphinx pattern and ceramic archive as well as the iconic suite palettes from which to draw inspiration. Based on this, a scheme which breathed colour and youth back into the building was created, illuminating its rich heritage. The palette lifts the spirits while standing as a tribute to the building’s history and an ode to its bright future.

What’s unique about it

Colour is one of the most instantly recognisable hallmarks of any Student Hotel interior, as the aim is to brighten up the day for guests by reflecting the relentless energy of students. At the same time, the designs must suit every mood, occasion and time of the day. 

In Maastricht, the required preservation of a cold, concrete space is enlivened by colour schemes taken directly from Sphinx Sanitair’s trademark coloured porcelain bathroom suite. The muted brights were manipulated to complement the concrete and northern light which streams into the communal spaces throughout the day. At night, warm pools of light deepen the palette to jewel tones. Semi-transparent banners feature blown up patterns and paintings from the Sphinx archive, further deepening the historical connection to the space alongside playful large format quotes in the hotel’s unmistakable tone of voice.

A hugely varied material palette adds depth and interest - a deep pile fake fur in Sphinx candy-pink covers a set of armchairs, whilst another wall is covered floor to ceiling in high-gloss white tiles punctuated by another archive pattern in matte white. In the sleeping areas, the glass lift and concrete shafts get a shot of colour every time the bright yellow elevators pass through. In the bedrooms, the concrete walls are preserved but focus is given to the protected grass-green metal beams for a calming bedroom scheme of complimentary navy, grey and yellow.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 9
© Sal Marston

In the coffee and drinks bar, Sphinx candy pink and mint green rub shoulders with The Student Hotel yellow.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 2
© Sal Marston

Patterns and colours from the Sphinx archive adorn a giant, rotating carousel above the reception area near the entrance. The original concrete floor and staircase are clearly seen, complemented by bold light-box signage and modern textiles.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 3
© Sal Marston

The long view down the communal spaces showcases a variety of textures and patterns in the iconic Sphinx porcelain colours, sitting atop a network of plinths. Archive patterns and large format memes nod to the building’s heritage, whilst the semi transparent textiles divide the space.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 4
© Sal Marston

The nooks above the bar provide a variety of vantage points, giving guests a chance to get up close with the historic details of the building. From this level the original concrete structure is clearly visible as well as the original factory floor’s train tracks.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 6
© Sal Marston

Northern light floods the piano lounge and communal spaces during the day, creating moments of calm in each area. At night, warm pools of light transform the colours to jewel tones, creating the perfect environment for the baby grand piano.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 8
© Sal Marston

The study space is calmed with tones of rust, grey and yellow. Here Dutch artist Gino Bud Hoiting pays homage to the sinks and toilets of the Sphinx factory on the glass walls, as well as a bespoke wall carpet.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 7
© Sal Marston

The Sanitair logo from the roof of the building is given a new home in this corridor. Amongst the preserved elements of the building, the vintage sign is everyone’s favorite. Given a new lease of life with a neon highlight, the sign is a striking reminder of the building’s history.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 10
© Sal Marston

Preserved concrete and grass green painted metal beams in the bedroom suite combine with a complimentary palette of navy, grey and yellow.

Sal Marston Photography The Student Hotel Maastricht 1
© Sal Marston

As a listed historic building, the exterior had to be preserved in its entirety, including the original Sphinx sign.

OZ Architects (TSH)

Naomi Thellier de Poncheville (TSH)

The Invisible Party

Gino Bud Hoiting

Braaksma & Roos (WOM/ Municipality)

BAM Bouw en Techniek


Arjan van de Haar (TSH)

Melike Çatalgöl (TSH)

Patrick Ubags (Process bbfm)


BBA (quality surveyor)

FabriekNL, De Machine Kamer


Soons interieurbouw



Walter van Lier

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