design et al are delighted to announce that Universal Design Studio have been shortlisted for Lobby/ Public Areas Award in The International Hotel and Property Awards 2017.
Located in a brutalist former bank headquarters in Stockholm, Universal Design Studio’s latest project, the At Six hotel, is home to one of Europe’s most significant hotel art collections. The London-based studio carried out a complete interior renovation to create the 343-room luxury hotel in the Swedish capital’s Brunkebergstorg Square. The scheme includes 10 floors of guest rooms, including 38 suites, a 120-cover restaurant, a wine bar, cocktail bar, a 2,000-square-metre events and flexible work space, and Scandinavia’s first slow-listening lounge. The brief was to create a desirable, fashionable destination, that would appeal to both locals as well as international guests, and become the premier luxury hotel in Stockholm.The building, a brutalist high-rise structure, was originally designed in the 1970s by Swedish architects Boijsen & Efervgren and much of the design was in humanising the architecture, but also making its unique qualities part of the project, making a hotel that feels memorable and also at ease in the building and in Stockholm. The room brief called for incorporating a mixture of traditional luxury elements (for example a wardrobe to house a Nobel-prize gala dress) and being well appointed for business travel as well as looking into more contemporary notions of luxury. For example, all standard rooms incorporate a full length marble credenza that doubles up as a desk with a lounge seating area comprising a custom designed sofa and well stocked minibar and drinks area.The rooms are divided into clear hallways, sleeping and living zones, the design approach was to make each room feel like a ‘suite’. What feels unique in this project is the re-use of a Brutalist building with a contemporary luxury modern interior and a world class art collection that has a direct dialogue with the design. The art collection is curated by Sune Nordgren, formerly of the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art. Works by Jaume Plensa, Olafur Eliasson, Julian Opie, Sol Le Witt, Tacita Dean, Richard Long and Marijke van Warmerdam are displayed within the public spaces, while individual artworks by Kristina Matousch are showcased in the guest rooms. Works by Swedish photographer Dawid complete the hotel art collection.The hotel’s lobby, reception and restaurant are built around a grand central staircase, clad in white granite that features a marble piece made especially for the project by Catalan sculptor Jaume Plensa called ‘Mar whispering’, creating a dramatic entry experience directly situated around world class art. The monochrome interior contrasts shades of warm grey and highly textured natural materials with soft furnishings and classic furniture editions. The aim was to reinterpret the brutalist aesthetic of the building and the immediate architectural landscape of Brunkebergstorg Square. A palette of sawn stone, blackened steel, fine timber and polished granite lends a sense of permanence and authenticity to the new interior, moving away from the uncompromising and unforgiving aesthetic characteristics often associated with the brutalism. The design is focused on humanising the architecture, bringing a sense of desirability and luxury to a brutalist building not often associated with these traits, turning the hotel into a contemporary version of a metropolitan grand hotel.