From their London studio, Haptic Architects looked to the extraordinary Norwegian landscape and forests as inspiration for a new 300-room hotel and conferencing venue in Oslo. Their challenge was to create internal, interconnected spaces that felt intimate and restful. But at the same time, these areas needed to be flexible, easy to get around and capable of holding large-scale events.
Using a primary palette of natural materials in different forms, textures and a variety of spatial compositions, timber plays a central theme throughout the hotel. Stacked up square beams form the bespoke reception counter and bar. Real trees, enhanced by subtle lighting, enclose a 350-seat canteen – made even more atmospheric by shadows from the leaves and branches dancing off the articulated lobby ceiling.
And in the forest-like lounge, real plants appear to defy gravity – planted in such a way that they appear to grow outwards from the wall, glimpses of natural light from the main skylight above filling in the spaces. In fact, timber is used in a number of ways, from semi-permeable screens and loose furniture to the signage created by BOB Design.
A natural focus on wellbeing
The overall design strategy was to provide a consistent architectural theme and a number of specific ‘installations’. These help define each zone within the main communal space. This could be separating the lobby from the restaurant and the lounge and the library area from the conference lobby – where a sense of endless distance is cleverly defined through a slender timber screen encompassing bar shelving, bookshelves and desks.
And to continue mirroring the random, organic feel of nature, instead of using matching furniture the designers have added a variety of chairs and solid round floor cushions by different designers, including Charles and Ray Eames, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Jasper Morrison.
In contrast to the busy spaces of the lobby, the guest rooms are a haven of peace and simplicity. With their minimalist, but warm design, plain furnishings and muted colour palette this truly is a hotel that puts the mood and wellbeing of the guest first. Where the natural, rugged beauty of Norway and far-reaching Scandinavian aesthetic grow in perfect harmony together.