This Norwegian hotel provides eternal sunshine – yes, Norwegian

Bergen, Norway – In Bergen, a city off the southwestern coast of Norway, the monthly average of hours with sunlight dips well below 50 in the winter months. In the summer, this average skyrockets to nearly 200 hours due to the country’s latitude. While Norwegians might be relatively used to this massive fluctuation in light, visitors most likely aren't. This inspired Amsterdam-based design agency Concrete to design a hotel that would ease the immediate onset of seasonal affective disorder for tourists, and provide respite for locals.

At Hotel Norge by Scandic, a radiant light fixture emulates a giant sun in the lobby, an apt welcome considering the surroundings. Changing in colour throughout the day, the warm tonality beams over the curved, white ceilings and swathes the floor in a peachy orange. To get to the lobby, one must ascend an elevator, which provides a sort of a physical perception that you actually might be getting closer to the real thing.

We need imagination in order to process our spatial reality

For escapism to work – and we’re seeing this in anything from hospitality projects to workspaces – we need imagination in order to process our spatial reality. As we see this continuing theme of anti-reality represented, we are reminded of the essentiality of being able to mentally conjure up an alternative state-of-being to thrive in our surroundings. 


It makes sense that a hotel would capitalise on this trope: Hotel Norge has fixtures in the standard and suite rooms that spell out escape in cursive on the walls. It bears an almost-cheesiness, like something you might see on a cruise liner, but, you have to admit – sometimes it can be good to have the gentle reminder to turn off and enjoy. The rooms adopt a more neutral palette: shades of grey (not that kind) and wood panels help one to transition into a serene setting, and bright bursts of pink, blue and yellow adorn the bed and the furniture to keep a guest awake.

The theme is consistently present in other areas of the hotel. As one might imagine, the escape room tries to inspire: bedecked with an abstract globe in the centrepiece, guests can interact with the concierge who offers an inside perspective on what visitors can experience in Bergen. Restaurant Nova and Café Norge present Nordic flavours infused with Norwegian culinary tradition to insert heritage into the guest experience. The latter presents a tried-and-true aesthetic: glossy black-and-white tiles adorn one wall and brass fixtures provide structuring. Cool-toned upholstery and blonde wood are accompanied by wall-watered greenery. Restaurant Nova, on the other hand, plays more into the sun storyline: with its colours, one room is a metaphor for the palette of sunrise; the other, for sundown.

Each facet of Hotel Norge encapsulates a certain mood, which plays into the fact that we humans cannot hide from a truth learned to us from many ancestors before us: the sun and the moon have a massive effect on our behaviour and state of mind – and a travelling state of mind is no exception.

On the Frame Awards' longlistHotel Norge has recently been selected for the 'Hotel of the Year' as part of the Hospitality Spatial Awards.

Location Nedre Ole Bulls plass 4, 5012 Bergen, Norway

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