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Some elements tie the hotel to the city and local area more literally – For example the Swedish leather from the Tarnsjo tannery to the north of the city wrapped around the staircase handrail and on the restaurant banquettes, the bespoke lighting by Swedish lighting company Rubn whose standard range of contemporary fittings evoke a sense of quintessential Stockholm design and the commissioned table in the wine bar carved from a single Stockholm Elm tree by local artist Lies Marie Hoffman.
We also needed to consider the scale of the head which was a special commission – making sure that it worked for people viewing the piece from the ground floor, the first floor and how it felt to move around as people ascended the staircase.
All of the pieces are by artists already represented in the collection of Petter Stordhalen, the hotel owner so there is a personal connection.
We also had the existing building and a new rooftop extension to work with where the quality of spaces were really quite different demanding room concepts that could flex, scale and be modified to suit various architectural scenarios.
When we got into the detail we had to work though requirements for each room type, incorporating a mixture of traditional luxury elements (for example a wardrobe long enough to house a Nobel-prize gala dress) contemporary art (hand picked by curator Sune Norgren) and a mix of local and international elements and design.
In keeping with the period of the building, we specified lots of 20th century furniture pieces including re-editions of classic Scandinavian pieces (chairs by Nils Otto Moller, Poul Kjaerholm alongside other classic European design: Perriand, Albini, Scarpa) .
The aim was to reinterpret the brutalist aesthetic of the building and the immediate architectural landscape of Brunkebergstorg Square in a way that felt relevant, comfortable and contemporary. Collectively we agreed on ideas for the larger scale pieces in the lobby and public spaces as we needed to make sure the architecture was accommodating but as far as the actual selection of specific works went, it was all on Sune who did a brilliant job.Upon first look, you can see that art clearly plays a big role in the space. With the large sculpture on the staircase there was a fair bit of coordination as we needed to make sure that the materiality and detail of the staircase worked with the head (there was structural plinth cast into the stair to take the marble case of the head) and that the art lighting was correct.
We spoke with Hannah Carter Owers of Universal Design Studios about the design motivation for the brutalist space, how they redefined the grand hotel concept for modern life, and how Stockholm and its citizens play a central role in its grand designs. The building, a brutalist high-rise structure, was originally designed in the 1970s by Swedish architects Boijsen & Efervgren, and in our design we tried to humanise the imposing architecture, while also making its unique qualities part of the project.The food in the woodfire warmed five table restaurant comes straight from the kitchen garden and from surrounding producers who often deliver their regional dishes exclusively for their kitchen.The best news is that this place is to be visited until after the New Year's Eve while the rest of Basse Normandie seems to be hibernating...We wanted to make a hotel experience that feels unique, distinct and memorable and but also at ease in the building and in Stockholm.The hotel is large - 343 rooms in total and so the brief also asked us to look at a number of typologies and colour ways to create contrast and variation across the floors.Can you tell us more about the Stockholm elements in the design?