Hotel services keep surprising us with new and sometimes extraordinary solutions. Ordinary from the first sight the Magdas Hotel in Vienna, Austria, can provide not only a luxury apartment for a short period but becomes a “sweet home” for refugees who have no place to go. Of course, it is not for free; in exchange for roof over the head alternative visitors are working as hotel staff.
The Magdas Hotel was established by Catholic charity foundation Caritas together with architecture firm AllesWirdGut. It consists of 78 high-end hotel accommodations and 2 special apartments for refugees who are waiting for Austrian asylum. The only payment is their staff work. There are 14 persons of different nationalities and biographies who temporary live at the Magdas Hotel and perform various kinds of work whether it is cooking or cleaning. And even different languages are not a trouble. Whoever can be met among refugees: from a political refugee to a representative of religious minority. The main idea of the hotel — “to stay open-minded” — combines minimalism and up-to date life style.
The message we want to state with: Refugees are welcomed here. We want to show that these people want and can live a self-determined and self-confident life.
The building of the Magdas Hotel was restored from retirement home using bright and unusual solutions in design and financing. The hotel shows with its own example that elegance can be simple if everything is well-matched. It took EUR 1.5 million to restore and rebuild the facility. The budget was partly crowdfunded. Elements of interior design include recycled furniture, items left from the previous owner and other free details. Many furniture items of new interior were remodeled from the old and donated furniture.
The idea that everything always has to be bought and new and the fact that we became a throwaway society is one of the reasons, why people in other parts of the world have to suffer. Reusing materials and furniture should show, that instead of money people can also invest time and a little effort to get something new — and even unique!
Besides, each room is decorated with artwork created by students of Academy of Fine Arts. In their turn, artists from Academy are hosted in Magdas for free. Every piece of the hotel is filled with art.
Magdas Hotel is a social business that connects cultures and people, that creates opportunities and a lively place of encounter.
It is not the first time when people use their labor to pay for services. But it is definitely the first time when somebody set a hotel as home for refugees. Perhaps, it may become a good tradition.