Patricia Urquiola’s revamp of Haworth Hotel at Michigan’s Hope College bridges town and gown with aplomb

Come Together

Hotels perched on the periphery of college campuses generally aren’t known for being welcoming, nor do they need to be. Their goal is to move a largely seasonal flow of guests—prospective students and their parents, visiting lecturers, folks in town for the big game—in and out with efficiency, ease, and very little, if any, flair.

Haworth Hotel, which is located essentially on the campus of Hope College in downtown Holland, Michigan, upends this arrangement. Emerging from a transformative renovation led by Holland-headquartered furniture manufacturer Haworth in partnership with the Milan-based studio of designer and architect Patricia Urquiola, the 48-guest-room property (formerly the Haworth Inn and Conference Center), is a rare example of a college-adjacent hotel that doubles as a vibrant social space. It’s a place where hotel guests, Hope College students and staff, Haworth clients, and the larger Holland community are compelled to linger, lounge, and interact.

Operated by regional coffee chain Bigbee Coffee, the hotel cafe serves as a bustling point of interaction between guests, Hope College students and staff, and the larger community. (Courtesy Haworth)

As noted by Kurt Vander Schuur, global brands director at Haworth, the hotel in its previous incarnation was “beautifully maintained” but ultimately “dated and felt more like an extension of college dorm rooms than a hotel.”

The remodel, which kicked off in late 2019, extends throughout the 1990s-era building while maintaining its original architectural footprint. From a bustling, sunlit cafe to a revamped lobby anchored by a dramatic spiral staircase rendered from bent metal and oak to flexible public common areas outfitted with furnishings by the likes of Cassina, Cappellini, Poltrona Frau, and JANUS et Cie, the reimagining was exhaustive and expansive. And then there are the individual guest rooms, where color, textiles, and light come together to instill a sense of comfort and warmth—all without the need for structural overhauls.

In addition to its public spaces, Haworth Hotel's 48 guest rooms, including a new suite, have also been refreshed without undergoing major structural changes. (Courtesy Haworth)

“For Haworth Hotel, we thought about new ways of working and traveling. The space is meant to be useful, flexible, and welcoming,” Urquiola explained.  “To provide wellness in hospitality, taking into consideration the different guests’ typologies, as well as the evolution of our society—that is for me the only way to approach it.”

While products from global Haworth brands—joining the aforementioned furnishings are rugs by GAN, lighting by Pablo Designs, and textiles by Kvadrat—feature prominently throughout the revitalized hotel, their integration is a natural one, and the resultant public spaces read more like well-appointed living rooms than showroom floors. Urquiola explained the approach as a “kind of playground” where the “idea is to flow between different brands and show the relation between the companies.”

The hotel's spacious guest suite features an attached private dining area. (Courtesy Haworth)

The redesign of Haworth Hotel is Urquiola’s inaugural hotel project in the United States, but it’s far from the Spanish-born designer’s first go at designing spaces for the venerable 74-year-old company. Previous collaborations include a 2017 refresh of Haworth’s corporate headquarters in Holland and the company’s Chicago showroom for NeoCon 2013, 2014, and 2015. Urquiola referred to working on the hotel project in the midst of a global pandemic as an “interesting, brave, and challenging adventure.”

“I think the space helps us understand the value of being together,” she said.

Spanish-born, Milan-based architect and designer Patricia Urquiola relaxes in one Haworth Hotel's newly imaged social spaces. (Courtesy Haworth)