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Sophisticated hostel for design-conscious travelers

The Generator London brings established design pieces into a playful space.
The hostel's bright lounge is lit by criss-crossed cove lights. Cork stools from Vitra and Tacchini Spin ottomans provide seating. Photo by Nikolas Koenig.

Hostels often call to mind conditions more similar to a fraternity house than a five-star hotel. But the Generator chain of design-focused hostels has proven that cheap doesn't mean derelict; with eight locations around Europe (and two others in the works in Paris and Rome), the brand has established itself as a destination for design-savvy backpackers. The recently refurbished Generator London, the brand's first outpost located in a former police station in Russell Square, joins the rustic-urban aesthetic of the other properties. Designed by Anwar Mekhayech of Toronto's DesignAgency in partnership with local architects ORBIT and Shoreditch-based art collective Acrylicize, the propety features sophisticated pieces by the likes of Tom Dixon and Moooi alongside playful details, like denim-upholstered bar stools, geometric murals, and custom game tables.

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