Metz is no stranger to distinctive architecture. Its towering Gothic cathedral sits side-by-side striking modern constructions, including the Arsenal concert hall and the Centre Pompidou-Metz museum of modern art, which was famously inspired by a Chinese hat.
However, the latest addition to its portfolio could be the bravest yet – a monolithic, monochromatic building topped by an 18th-century traditional Alsatian home.
It is the surreal vision of internationally acclaimed designer Philippe Starck and will serve as a 14-storey hotel for Hilton’s exclusive ‘Curio Collection’. The collection is made up of close to 50 hotels singled out for their individuality, of which 20 are either already open or under construction in Europe.
Starck’s plans are certainly eye-catching. The house at the top will feature a roof terrace and garden populated by local trees, both of which will offer breathtaking views over the Lorraine capital. It will also accommodate a restaurant and bar, while below it 119 guest rooms and suites, a fitness centre and range of private meeting rooms complete the hotel’s high-end offering.
Starck insists that, for all the “‘out-of-scale’ phantasmagoric architecture”, the Maison Heler Metz, as the hotel is to be named, was ultimately inspired by the city and its environs.
“It’s a play on uprooted roots, a symbolic construction of the Lorraine region,” he says.
For Metz mayor Dominique Gros, the project also serves as a strong reminder of the city’s ongoing redevelopment. The hotel will be sited on Metz’s former freight station in a new neighbourhood dedicated to culture, housing and business and close to the city’s main sights, including the Centre Pompidou-Metz, the Muse shopping centre and the Congress Centre.
Mr Gros said: “Metz is going through a revival. The opening of the Centre Pompidou-Metz and the wider Quartier de l’Amphithéâtre redevelopment is attracting investment and drawing household names such as Philippe Starck.
“It’s great to see projects of this calibre come to Metz and there are exciting times ahead for the city.”
A spokesperson for Hilton confirmed construction has already started on the hotel, which is due to open in 2020.