Radisson Collection, Strand Hotel

Permeable is not a word often evoked by architects when describing their vision. Yet, this is precisely what Wingårdhs studio’s interior architect Leila Atlassi sought in the restoration of the Radisson Collection Strand Hotel in Stockholm.

A playful interaction between the hotel’s interior and its picturesque Nybovikan waterfront exterior is what characterises the reinvigoration. The redesign’s ‘red thread’ is a signature medium grey hue – often requested by guests – that was found through a  sample from the hotel room’s window views. The colour is a chameleon, leaning toward mauve when adjacent to the pink-toned pieces of contemporary art in the suites, and cooler in the dining room near the aquatic blue custom-made booths. This is a responsiveness that is indicative of the Strand Hotel in its entirety.

The hotel’s conversation with its surroundings is characteristic of the Wingårdhs design office’s approach. Renowned Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh founded the firm 40 years ago and it now brings together over 250 architects, designers, urban planners and engineers in three sites across Sweden. Rather than imposing a set of established hallmark features upon its portfolio, a Wingårdhs design is entirely project inspired; guided by knowledge of the site’s setting and its heritage in an attempt to find and expose the soul of each space.

Indeed, Atlassi’s choice of natural materials with international flavours – walnut, oak and leather in muted tones – is both a sly reference to the guests of the hotel, as well as a tribute to Ludwig Peterson, the hotel’s original architect and his emphasis on ‘honest materials’. In his 1912 design, he chose to elevate the brick as a design feature in recognition of the building’s past life as a brickworks.

In the redesign, a geometric skin stretches across the hotel’s ceiling, enhancing the building’s scale while also remaining transparent about what is new and what has always been. Here, there is no attempt to obscure the building’s age, only a respect for its ancestry.

In the dining room, 360 single-bulb lights trickle down from the ceiling – transforming the space into a planetarium during the dinner seating. At the Strand Hotel, even the night-sky is invited in.