Sensory Distortion: Modern Art Meets Design at the Propeller Island City Lodge

Posted by Elizabeth Alton on Monday, July 16th, 2012

Propeller Island Berlin's room with circular bed

The idea of the themed hotel isn’t new; we’ve covered several on the site previously. One recent find in Germany caught our attention through its deliberate blend of art and architecture to create a multisensory experience for its guests. German visual artist Lars Stroschen has brought to life a hotel that he envisions as a habitable work of art in the heart of Berlin.

The Propeller Island City Lodge blends high art designs into individual room architecture to create various sensory, spatial, and thematic experiences for guests. The hotel’s name is based on a pseudonym used by Stroschen, who is known for his audio-visual creations which he says are “an aesthetic sensation for the eye and the ear.”

Propeller Island has been described as a museum offering hotel accommodations, or a live-in sculpture. One of the tenets underlying the design is that each guest’s experience should be totally unique. A night spent at Propeller Island is not to be replicated anywhere else in the world.

Every one of the 30 rooms features a completely unique design, and every piece of furniture, artwork, and block of physical infrastructure is a handmade, one-of-a-kind, item.

Propeller Island's reception area features bold lighting and murals

Guests begin their experience in a brightly lit reception area with bold colors, mirrored glass murals, and an abstraction-meets-function approach that sets the tone for the rest of the visit. Those enamored with the design at Propeller Island can purchase one-of-a-kind items in the gallery.

An element of avant-garde fantasy pervades the overall design. Visitors are shown to their room, each with a different theme ranging from coffins and prison cells, to construction sites, hay barns, and historically-inspired takes on life inside “Grandma’s cupboard.” Propeller Island moves beyond relying on its themed approach to captivate, and makes an effort to engage visitors in a more tactile experience of touching, climbing on, and spinning various elements of the rooms in order to more deeply activate their senses.

The “Flying Bed” room is a guest favorite, utilizing structural features like a slanted floor and a raised bed to create a whimsical, fairy tale effect.

This room at Propeller Island features a floating bed

A space known as “Glass Mirrors” is a diamond shaped room that is completely laid out with mirrors. The effect creates a fractured, many layered illusion that leaves the impression of living inside a kaleidoscope.

Glass Mirrors at Propeller Island creates illusion of living in a kaleidoscope

A tubular room for 3 featuring terraced beds, with a hilly floor, is designed to create the experience of sleeping in a mine. Guests report that the harsh lighting, the walls, and the positioning of the beds create a distinct feeling of being underground.

room 40

Using optical tricks to create a disordered sense of space, the “Upside Down” room features bold flooring and furniture suspended from the ceiling while guests sleep in coves filled with cushions imbedded in the floor.

Propeller Island's upside down room offers sensory distortion

The visually striking Propeller Island is a popular location for photo shoots and video production sessions. But the core objective of the space is living art, the desire to create a gravitational pull that helps guests see through a new perspective and offers inspiration. Elements of story, both of the themes common in Stroschen’s art, as well as of the history of the location, are woven throughout the design.

Do we love Propeller Island? Yes. Its commitment to executing its vision – from each item being handmade and one-of-a-kind, to creating a variety of different art installations that can be touched, climbed on, and played with – make the property a stand-out.

Image Sources: Propeller Island City Lodge (

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