Built in the shadow of Norway’s Hardangerjøkulen glacier, Hotel Finse 1222 sits 1,222 metres above sea level and started life as a humble lodge for railroad workers before becoming a fully-fledged hotel in 1909.
Over the decades, the establishment attracted a steady stream of visitors but its interiors grew tired.
When Snøhetta was tasked with bringing the hotel up to date, the firm steered away from major structural changes and instead settled for making a few aesthetic tweaks.
“We wanted to ensure we preserved the historical qualities of the place by attentively adjusting and upgrading the existing building mass, only adding new elements where it was absolutely needed,” said Heidi Pettersvold Nygaard, senior architect at the firm.
“Bringing back to life the long and diverse history of Finse’s heydays was a delight, ensuring that also new visitors could become aware of this completely unique nature and hotel experience.”
The firm wanted to foster a “warm and hearty” ambience in the hotel’s reception and lounge area so that arriving guests feel instantly at ease.
Here, surfaces are painted tangerine orange while the soft furnishings are different hues of red.
Just beyond the lounge, Snøhetta designed a new wooden terrace to match the building’s original carpentry.
In the dining room, floral William Morris wallpaper now blankets the walls. This is a nod to some long-forgotten furnishings Snøhetta found in the hotel’s attic that were upholstered in a similar fabric by the prominent British textile designer.
The room’s decorative plaster ceiling was preserved and complemented with ornate brass-stemmed lamps, which the studio says are historically appropriate.
A moodier atmosphere reigns in the hotel’s lounge, where surfaces are rendered in a deep shade of indigo to amplify the dazzling blueish light of Finse’s winter sunsets.
Guests can sit back and observe the day drawing to a close on the room’s plump blue sofas or bench seats lined with furry throws.
The most dramatic intervention made by Snøhetta as part of the refurbishment involved elevating the hotel’s roof to make way for two more guest suites beneath its peak.
Both suites come complete with expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that offer uninterrupted views of the surrounding landscape. Even the bathtubs are positioned to overlook nearby mountain Lille Finsenut.
Draped over the beds are bespoke woollen throws depicting an abstract image of the Hardangerjøkulen glacier.
Snøhetta currently has a number of projects in the works.
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