Design

This new hotel suite is made of 100% Swedish wood from floor to ceiling

”In my experience — this has never been made before. No design hotel has ever made a hotel room with local talents, local production, and local materials,” says initiator Stefan Nilsson.
By JOHAN MAGNUSSON
June 14, 2021

The initiative by Swedish trend forecaster Nilsson is an interior concept renovating an old hotel suite at Clarion Hotel Sign in Stockholm, that opened last week. It’s not a showroom or a PR stunt, but one of the hotel’s regular suites, available for booking. Yet not completely regular, but one-of-a-kind, using only local materials and local talents, produced with the help from industry organisation Swedish Wood.

Is really everything made of Swedish wood?

— Yes! From floor to ceiling. The carpet, wardrobe, lamps, bottles, and even the pillows and shoes are made of Swedish wood. When renovating, we tore apart the floor and had a new floor there, made only of local wood. The same thing with the bed where we looked at the bed frame and this is made of local wood. Some brands, like Verk, are going the extra mile and make everything in their production local, even screws and bolts. We mainly looked at the material wood and this is all local, says Nilsson, continuing,

— Local production has grown in importance. We eat locally sourced food and participate in local experiences when we travel. We no longer want the same burger shack with the same music as we find everywhere. Instead, we want the local flair. This issue is of course associated with sustainability, but we mainly want products that are locally sourced, well-designed, and preferably in smaller batches. In this project, I have been scouting Sweden to find designers and producers making products that are locally sourced in wood. In my experience, this has never been made before. No design hotel has ever made a hotel room with local talents, local production, and local materials.

Initially, he rather wanted to work with brands that can be found all over Sweden and the world than the local carpenter.

— So I have contacted a lot of brands that normally work with wood and asked them: ”Is this made of local wood?”. The majority of the brands only use imported materials so they were excluded. Besides looking at production, I of course wanted to look at designers that have an elevated level of aesthetics. So it had to be local — and extremely good. Some brands were interested in participating with their local production but they didn’t fit the aesthetic level. Finally, we have a handful of dedicated designers, such as Emma Olbers, Marie-Louise Hellgren, and Pierre Sindre, who fight for sustainability and local production and it was important to include them.

In general, what’s the status of Swedish wood today?

— First, I must say that in this project, we actually avoid talking about the term ”sustainability”. We are not saying it isn’t important but we rather look at local production. There is fantastic, for instance, sustainable FSC branded wood all over Northern Europe, but in this case, we specifically wanted to look at local production. Sweden is exporting a lot of wood. Over 70% of all wood is exported — and we still import wood from other countries. Why is that? asks Nilsson.

— This project is highlighting the fact that very few design companies actually use local wood. The question ”why?” is extremely complex. So, this is an initial step to highlight fact.

What was the best and most challenging part?

— Of course, you tend to look at all the quirky objects in the concept. For instance, the sneakers in 3D printed local wood. Or, the company making textiles in wood. But I would say that one of the most rewarding moments is talking to brands, like Stolab and Blå Station, who use local wood and fight for it.

— The most challenging aspect was to find other objects than chairs… When we design something in wood, why does it always have to be a chair? Make more cabinets, small tables, mirrors! And, I never found a shoehorn in local wood, tells Nilsson.

He describes the project as both fun and complex and it is also going abroad.

— One part of this will be shown in Paris, and we hope to get it to Berlin and then the world. I hope we can encourage people to not only look at local production but also where the materials come from.

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