June 1, 2010

Rewriting History: Claesson Koivisto Rune Turns An Historic Stokholm Landmark Into A Boutique Hotel

Preparing for the Great Northern War, which broke out in 1700, Swedish architects raced to house the Royal Marines of King Karl XII. Nicodemus Tessin the Younger completed his extensive Stockholm barracks in a miraculously quick three years, albeit by stripping materials from ruined castles in the countryside. Today, his two buildings rank among Sweden’s most venerated landmarks—and fly the Nobis Hotels flag as the Hotel Skeppsholmen. 

Restoring the structures while reinventing them as an 81-room boutique property required considerably more than the three years originally needed for construction. Nobis tapped Claesson Koivisto Rune Arkitektkontor for the interiors after a similar collaboration on the restaurant at Stockholm’s 18th-century opera house. In both locations, new construction was prohibited from touching original structure, and all changes had to be reversible. Half the hotel’s guest rooms still measure a relatively small 177 square feet, as Tessin intended. To help the rooms seem bigger, Claesson Koivisto Rune painted them pale shades and placed mirrors next to windows. In addition, Ola Rune explains, “Using wood and stone made our changes feel as if they could have been here a long time.”

The project celebrates the seeming remoteness of Skeppsholmen, or islet of the ships. Actually in the center of Stockholm, the sparsely populated landmass becomes a “separate world” when the fog descends, architect Deta Gemzell says. In response, Claesson Koivisto Rune mounted colorful linear fixtures on the guest corridors’ gray walls to be, in effect, beacons in the mist. The surrounding water gets a few nods, too. Blue glass clads some of the restaurant’s walls, and a bathroom sink was designed specially, in the shape of a skipping stone.

Photography by Louise Billgert and Max Plunger.

Recent Projects