Quickscan Goodbye Lenin Hostel, Krakow

Goodbye Lenin Hostel


When walking towards the entrance, you pass into an alley, with the door already visible from the beginning of the alley.

Goodbye Lenin Hostel, Krakow

23 Berka Joselewicza, Krakow, Poland


When walking towards the entrance, you pass into an alley, with the door already visible from the beginning of the alley. As you progress, the vision widenes and music becomes apparant. There’s a group of young people sitting at a table, under the parasol, doing drinking games. Before I’ve even entered the hostel, I have been invited by them to partake. Whether you would drop your bags and take part or not, you have to pass them to go through the door, which is similar to placemaking. You hace to make use of the space between the start of the alley, past the participants, through a communal area, to a common goal.

The people sitting at the table, next to the door are involved in a communal activity that suggests a shared history or goals of sort, and in any case a shared set of values, communicated also by their physical manifestation and presence. This body culture also has the function of delivery of knowledge. It tells me- as a new guest -they can share knowledge, skills and experience with me.

The physical divide- the group of guests on the left vs. the official entrance to the hostel, allows the arriving guest to acquire himself with a general set of rules, imposed by the hostel management- through various channels and mediations.


One of the strong points of Goodbye Lenin Hostel, is the continuous visual line within the concept, without overdoing it. Lots of stars, pictures of Lenin, images inferring communism etc. The visual line is maintained by use of colours; fading colourcombinations, large surfaces, instead of endless repeat of the same images. This does them credit. It is easy to labour the point too much, in which case it can become artificial and lose credibility.

Pointers for service

  • When bringing a guest to a room, take some more time to explain the various facilities;
  • When providing them with a towel, place a small bar of citrus scented soap on top;
  • Leave the guest a clear option for the next step, after settling in his room / bed: engage or resting is not only conveyed by signage or furniture alone. Also the pacing within the hostel- as say people get ready to eat, the direction in which they move, time of day and clustering of hostelguests, allows the new guest a choice of engagement or avoidance.
  • The setting and scenario- although not intentionally created -provides a perfect opportunity for the hostel, for semiotic framing the scenario for the new arrivals! Depending on the anticipation and expectations of the new arrival, his/her behaviour can be primed and altered into a pre-defined set of behavioural qualities. For instance, make sure if the weather permits it, you have an outside barbecue, make sure the kitchen window is open, letting out the scents of the evening, make sure there is fresh bread etc.
  • Every morning at breakfast, play the same sort of soft backgroundmusic on the stereosystem

goodbye lenin 1 goodbye lenin 2 goodbye lenin logo


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