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July 7, 2011

In Paris's 11th Arrondissement, the Bastille district, French design maven Matali Crasset has composed delightfully unique and über contemporary design hotel for weary travelers to lay their heads. Hi Matic is part Japanese ryokan, part hostel, part technophile's dream (virtually everything is automated from reservations to check-in to check-out), and wholly a hypersaturated chromatic delight. It's located in a bustling neighborhood a stone's throw from Canal St. Martin, Pere-Lachaise cemetery, and Opera Bastille, and four metro stops are in the vicinity; Notre Dame and all of the Left Bank attractions are a 30 minute stroll away. But before I get side tracked by City of Light at large, let's have a look inside…

The sliding window screens are made of afzelia wood. "I like the way the façade interacts with the street as the clients open and close their sliding wooden screens," says Crasset. Photo via <a href="http://designboom.com/eng/">designboom</a>.
The sliding window screens are made of afzelia wood. "I like the way the façade interacts with the street as the clients open and close their sliding wooden screens," says Crasset. Photo via designboom.
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Here's the lobby with an elevated seating area. Very treehouse like. Crasset designed all of the furniture in the hotel and though everything is unique to Hi Matic, she hopes for more universal applications. "This project was thought to be eventually dupl
Here's the lobby with an elevated seating area. Very treehouse like. Crasset designed all of the furniture in the hotel and though everything is unique to Hi Matic, she hopes for more universal applications. "This project was thought to be eventually duplicated and is particularly adaptable for independent hoteliers who want to renovate," she says. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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A large map to help guest plan their daily adventures. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
A large map to help guest plan their daily adventures. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Guests check themselves in via computer terminals, like at an airport. There's still a concierge on staff, but instead of being chained to a reception desk, he or she is free to roam about the hotel, fielding questions from guests and assisting them in a
Guests check themselves in via computer terminals, like at an airport. There's still a concierge on staff, but instead of being chained to a reception desk, he or she is free to roam about the hotel, fielding questions from guests and assisting them in a more casual, convivial way. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Another cozy seating "pod" in the lobby, complete with reading material stowed in the cubbies below. It, like all of the furnishings, was designed by Crasset. "The project is a renovation so the main challenge was not to break any walls or change the stru
Another cozy seating "pod" in the lobby, complete with reading material stowed in the cubbies below. It, like all of the furnishings, was designed by Crasset. "The project is a renovation so the main challenge was not to break any walls or change the structure of the building," says Crasset. "All of the rooms are different and I had to develop a concept that could adapt to any of them." Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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The vending machine in the lobby dispenses maps of Paris, guide books, international plug adapters, toiletries, cds—random odds and ends that travelers often need but forget to pack. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
The vending machine in the lobby dispenses maps of Paris, guide books, international plug adapters, toiletries, cds—random odds and ends that travelers often need but forget to pack. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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In the canteen, a communal table stretches through the center and smaller, more private tables dot the periphery. I love the contrast of the minimal furniture throughout the hotel, which stands up to the strong color scheme.  "All the structures are made
In the canteen, a communal table stretches through the center and smaller, more private tables dot the periphery. I love the contrast of the minimal furniture throughout the hotel, which stands up to the strong color scheme. "All the structures are made of birch plywood and I wanted to contrast the wood with colors because, for me, life is colorful," Crasset says. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Grab a complimentary organic continental breakfast from the vending machine in the morning. Here are some of the comestibles available from the hotel, a simple spread of bread, jam, and juice. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
Grab a complimentary organic continental breakfast from the vending machine in the morning. Here are some of the comestibles available from the hotel, a simple spread of bread, jam, and juice. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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The design is based off of the <i>ryokan</i>, Edo-period Japan's version of a motel. Traditionally, these simple accommodations consisted of small tatami-matted rooms, a communal gathering area, and shared bath. Crasset also says that the design takes its
The design is based off of the ryokan, Edo-period Japan's version of a motel. Traditionally, these simple accommodations consisted of small tatami-matted rooms, a communal gathering area, and shared bath. Crasset also says that the design takes its cues from youth hostels. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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I've stayed in my fair share of hostels, and as a defacto connoisseur of said hostels, this looks light years beyond anything I've ever stayed in. The prices for the rooms are also light years beyond—though much more affordable than most design hotels—sta
I've stayed in my fair share of hostels, and as a defacto connoisseur of said hostels, this looks light years beyond anything I've ever stayed in. The prices for the rooms are also light years beyond—though much more affordable than most design hotels—starting at 106€ for a "Mini Cabin" (shown here) and heading up to 175€ for a "View Cabin." Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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"The rooms are conceived on a model of a cabin," explains Crasset. "And each cabin offers all the services of a comfortable room, but with nothing hung on the wall to keep a maximum of space free." Each room is furnished with a multi-use structure. By day
"The rooms are conceived on a model of a cabin," explains Crasset. "And each cabin offers all the services of a comfortable room, but with nothing hung on the wall to keep a maximum of space free." Each room is furnished with a multi-use structure. By day, it's a place to lounge, crack open a book, or pen a letter. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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By night, it transforms into a fort-like sleeping space. Just unravel the sleeping pad that's stowed atop. The fact that you slumber on the floor (well, a Memory Foam "tatami mat" on the floor) is one of Crasset's favorite aspects of the hotel. I can't vo
By night, it transforms into a fort-like sleeping space. Just unravel the sleeping pad that's stowed atop. The fact that you slumber on the floor (well, a Memory Foam "tatami mat" on the floor) is one of Crasset's favorite aspects of the hotel. I can't vouch for the comfort level, but I'm told that it's quite nice. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Here's a graphic explaining how to stow everything away. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
Here's a graphic explaining how to stow everything away. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Here's a colorful detail from one of the cabins. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
Here's a colorful detail from one of the cabins. Photo by Simon Bouisson.
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Here's another look inside the Mini Cabin. Still pretty spacious! For more information, and to make a reservation, visit <a href="http://www.hi-matic.net/en">hi-matic.net</a>.<br /><br /><p><em><strong>Don't miss a word of Dwell! Download our </strong></e
Here's another look inside the Mini Cabin. Still pretty spacious! For more information, and to make a reservation, visit hi-matic.net.

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The sliding window screens are made of afzelia wood. "I like the way the façade interacts with the street as the clients open and close their sliding wooden screens," says Crasset. Photo via <a href="http://designboom.com/eng/">designboom</a>.
The sliding window screens are made of afzelia wood. "I like the way the façade interacts with the street as the clients open and close their sliding wooden screens," says Crasset. Photo via designboom.

Hi Matic: 71 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris, France; +33-1-43-67-56-56; www.hi-matic.net; rooms from 106 euros.

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