JOI-Design brings leisurely aesthetic to the Hotel Ritter Durbach

JOI-Design completed an expansion and its second renovation of one of the oldest hotels in Europe, the Hotel Ritter Durbach in Southern Germany's Black Forest.

After 100 years of ownership by generations of the Brunner lineage, the Ritter family acquired the hotel in 2007. They commissioned JOI-Design to create a new scheme, then appointed the design firm again for this renovation.

For this latest expansion, JOI-Design's objective was to create a leisure experience that embraced the property’s location without damaging its soul. Through contemporary palettes and materials, the solution was to bridge the traditional with the modern by bringing 21st century twists to classic German concepts.


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With a play upon baroque style, the Wilder Ritter restaurant was given a refined makeover fitting for its Michelin star. Scrolled tone-on-tone ebony wall coverings and rich timber paneling were emboldened by splashes of crimson velvet in the upholstered chairs and crystal chandeliers. On the walls, curated collections of vintage silver dining utensils became art installations.

New meeting rooms reference the region's winemaking heritage with an abstract grape motif in the carpets. A break-out space mixes conversation areas with natural touches. A new introduction is the Ritter Lounge, a winter garden with a light-filled atrium. In the center, a fireplace warms guests as they sit in leather armchairs with dashes of magenta and lime in the scrolled accent cushions.

The spa of the property was doubled in size. Here, the palette borrows from neighboring vineyards with shades of lavender and honey reminiscent of a Pinot Noir or Riesling grapevine. New treatment rooms have shades of white and spring green, while a soft glow emanates from a backlit dropped ceiling so that glaring lights don't spoil the atmosphere of the space. Further relaxation rooms were added, each with an assortment of seating options plus a new tea lounge and library.

Forty new rooms and suites were designed in a style sympathetic to the existing ones. Included are apple green curtains and a wall panel inset with raspberry-toned niches to add architectural interest for the desk and minibar facilities. 

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