The opening of Sommerro in 2022 is set to boost Oslo’s cool factor
With design by GRECODECO, Sommerro is Oslo’s first neighbourhood hotel
It all started with The Thief. Better-known as Oslo’s original design hotel, its partnership with the neighbouring Renzo Piano-designed Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art resulted in one of the most exciting public galleries in a hotel at the time which, along with its own permanent collection, includes pieces from an impressive roster of artists such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Richard Prince and Antony Gormley.
This was followed a few years later by the opening of Amerikalinjen. Here, within the impressive neo-baroque bones of the former headquarters for the cruise ship company Norwegian America Line, the 122-room hotel’s wow-factor is its humming collection of restaurants and bars that – in a first for Oslo – takes its cues from hotels in cities like New York and London, where the social spaces are alive with locals and visitors alike.
Now, despite recent hardships, Oslo continues to expand its luxury hospitality offerings, this time with the announcement of Sommerro, due to open in 2022.
Set among the magnificent 19th-century buildings within Frogner, one of the oldest and most elegant areas in Oslo, the sprawling 246-room property will occupy the former 1930s headquarters for Oslo Lysverker (the city’s electrical company) designed by prolific Norwegian architects, Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen.
Owing to a sporadic construction period spanning about 13 years from 1917, the monumental pile is a fusion of neoclassical aesthetics, unfussy functionalist features, and a layer of glamorous art deco details. As such, the sobriety of the hand-hammered bare brick façade has been boosted by subtle embellishments like the exterior bas-reliefs, by sculptor Asbjørg Borgfelt, art deco elements – from the lighting to the decorative terrazzo and wrought iron staircase – and rich details by the celebrated Norwegian artist, Per Krohg. These include the expressive mural in the main hall, a ceiling fresco in the former canteen, and the iconic mosaic feature wall in the basement public bath and swimming hall.
These original features have been meticulously restored, expanded and developed by local firm LPO Architects and New York and London-based studio GRECODECO, who took their cues from a variety of influences such as he dreamy, folkloric pieces from eminent Norwegian artist, Gerhard Munthe, the impressive artwork inside Oslo Radhus (City Hall), Norwegian furniture design from the early 1900s, intricate Scandinavian art deco details and, of course, the work of the architects, Bjercke & Eliassen. ’Our aim is to inspire people to learn more about Norway and its rich history, culture and stories,’ says Adam Greco, co-founder of GRECODECO. ’If we can get visitors to gall in love with this place, we’ll have made a beautiful project.’
Siri Løining, brand director at Sommerro continues: ’We wanted to find interior designers who respect a building’s history and ultimately understand how to transform preserved buildings into hotels. We found that GRECODECO was perfect for this task.’
The result is a luxurious and opulent mashup of functionalist, art deco and folkloric influences gently inserted by way of thoughtful details, from richly patterned hand-knotted rugs to polished birch inlaid furnishings and fabrics with figurative motifs. This is most evident in the upper category rooms such as the Junior Suite, which has a bold rug emblazoned with animal motifs inspired by the ruff, a native Norwegian bird recognisable for its peculiar ruffled collar; a bespoke Murano chandelier; and a stand-out four-poster bleached oak and chrome-detailed bed with a headboard featuring a motif inspired by Munthe’s paintings. ‘During our research, we discovered the incredible artist and designer, Gerhard Munthe, who is not widely known outside of Norway,’ explains Greco. ‘We were enchanted by the colour schemes and patterns in his tapestries, as well as his incredible interior design for the Fairytale Room at the Holmenkollen Hotel.’
Billed as the city’s first neighbourhood hotel, Sommerro will stand as a community in its own right with no less than seven bars and restaurants, plans in the works for a library and a small private cinema, and the city’s first rooftop pool, sauna and terrace, which will be a year-round destination and will have sweeping views over the Norwegian capital. ‘For us, this is not just a hotel for visitors, it is a chance to create a unique addition to one of the oldest and most established neighbourhoods in Oslo,’ says Løining. ‘Sommerro makes your living room bigger; a place where you can sleep well, work well and truly enjoy yourself.’ §