Amerikalinjen puts Oslo back on the map
Often overshadowed by its Scandinavian siblings, Copenhagen and Stockholm, Oslo is finally ready to snap up its fair share of the design limelight, starting with the launch of Amerikalinjen.
Set on Jernbanetorget Square, adjacent to the bustling Central Station in downtown Oslo, the hotel is one of the first design-led properties to open in the city since its sister, The Thief, launched in 2014. Occupying the grand bones of a landmark Neo-Baroque pile – the former headquarters of the now non-existent cruise ship company, Norwegian America Line, which ferried thousands of hopeful immigrants across the Atlantic to the Land of Opportunity – the hotel flies the Norwegian flag by championing all things local.
And so, local fashion brand Holzweiler is behind the stylish collection of staff uniforms; cosmetics company Sprekenhus has supplied the bathroom amenities; personalised crockery in the restaurant is by porcelain company Porsgrund; special occasion champagne glasses and the guestroom pendant lamps are by the country’s national treasure, Hadeland; and mid-century furnishings and lighting, like the Birdy Lamp designed by Birger Dahl in 1952 or Torbjørn Bekken’s Veng Armchair from 1960, which have been revived by companies Eikund and Northern, dot the interiors.
Here, Finnish company Puroplan has layered the building’s fine Neo-Baroque details, like the soaring vaulted ceilings, ornate timber cornices, and quirky maritime details, with a modern palette that subtly nods to the building’s history. For example, the deep sea-blue upholstered wall behind the reception desk and the shiny marble and brass surfaces in the lobby are tempered with ‘Redondo’ armchairs by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso and a blue-grey velvet ‘Mr. Jones’ sofa by Finnish manufacturer, Adea, that are meant to recall the glamour of the steamships that crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the 1900s. ‘All our design elements subtly reflect Amerikalinjen’s seafaring history, bringing to mind its heyday,’ explains Jaakko Puro, the firm’s managing director.
This being a Nordic Hotels & Resorts property, means art, of course, takes centre stage. And while this project doesn’t call for standout pieces like the giant 2.5m marble sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa seen at the company’s Stockholm hotel, At Six, expect to find a vibrant, and colourful US-focused collection curated by go-to art guru Sune Nordgren. This includes works by American figurative painter Alex Katz, a 2.5m tall sculpture, called Towers – by British artist Julian Opie – that refers to the modernity of America, and pieces from former street artist Shepard Fairey, whose propensity for clear colours and sharp edges, has created icons like the ‘Hope’ poster for the Obama campaign.
Amerikalinjen’s wow-factor though, comes by way of the its humming collection of ground floor restaurants and bars. Drop by Atlas, for a quick bite from a healthy, locally sourced menu that includes quinoa salads, delicious bagels or traditional Norwegian waffles topped with savoury twists like fresh avocado and eggs; while away the day tapping on your laptop with a cup of coffee at Haven; sample the stellar cocktail menu at Pier 42; and finally end your evening at Gustav, an intimate basement club that has fast become a hotspot in Oslo for its stellar parties and cosy in-the-know gigs. §