A smooth Douglas symphony of warm wooden finishes offsets the unadorned concrete
architecture of this delicately repurposed World War II bunker in Hamburg, Germany. The
former bomb shelter now serves as an urban sanctuary for its creative owners.
Residential – Hamburg, Germany
Architect and concept developer: Mark Seelen & TIMMTIMM
Carpenter: Tischlerei Hempelmann
Photo: Mark Seelen
Thickness: 28 mm, Width: 200-350 mm, Length: 11 m
Finish: Lye and White Oil
Photographer, co-architect, and concept designer Mark Seelen and his wife, creative director Janine Seelen converted a World War II bunker into an original, modern home. Appropriately, the couple was drawn by the calmness of the elemental building that used to shelter from bombing during the war. Now the thick, undressed walls hush the hustle and bustle of the outside world, creating a soothing retreat in this fashionable district of Hamburg.
With a clear vision for the space, Mark Seelen concieved the concept of the project in collaboration with interior architectural practice TIMMTIMM. A constricted plot, The Bunker covers just 83 sqm, inviting a life of elegant simplicity in both furniture and décor. The Seelens wanted total freedom of layout and fittings in the new space and chose the welcoming warmth of Dinesen Douglas to juxtapose the original concrete interior structure, along with integrated Douglas wooden kitchen cabinets, a Douglas dressing table area and walk-in-closet masterfully crafted by Tischlerei Hempelmann.
A central island clad in Douglas houses the bathroom and wardrobe, while a glass wall separates the kitchen from the bedroom, a sliding curtain in a rustic textile adding tactility and privacy. Moving through the home, zones are subtlely indicated by the changing finishes of the timber – white oil for the floor in the living room, black oil for the kitchen cabinets, and grey in the entrance.
Drawing inspiration from Japanese minimalism with its elemental, clean lines, the concept revolves around structures of wood, steel, glass and raw concrete with décor reduced to a few, select items with just enough detail to create the tranquil atmosphere of a home, providing the essentials for a healthy, homey and happy space.
A careful selection of furniture for the compact home illuminates the property’s visual and evocative concept. The couple succeeded in creating a space with a strong personality, completed with a mix of Danish, German, Italian, and American design classics, prototypes and modern pieces, artworks and vintage objects.
Once, The Bunker shielded others from the horrors of war, and now the couple has created their own safe haven with just the kind of homey protection they need.