Occupying the former headquarters for Oslo Lysverker – the city’s electrical company – the opening of Sommerro in summer 2022 marks the rebirth of a 1930s landmark in one of Oslo’s loveliest neighbourhoods.
The latest venture from Nordic Hotels & Resorts, Oslo’s first neighbourhood hotel is a gamechanger. Redefining the hospitality industry, with a strong focus on culture-hungry locals, Sommerro will stand as a community in its own right,
an open house with a hub of restaurants and bars, plans for a library and a small private cinema, and the city’s first rooftop pool, sauna and terrace – a year-round destination with sweeping views over the Norwegian capital.
A Varied Architectural History
Perched on Solli Plass in Oslo’s elegant Frogner neighbourhood, a short stride or a tram ride away from the city centre, Sommerro’s original design is the work of prolific Norwegian architects Andreas Bjercke and Georg Eliassen, creators of some of Oslo’s most recognisable buildings such as the neo-baroque headquarters for the former cruise ship company Norwegian America Line.
Owing to a sporadic construction period spanning about 13 years from 1917, the monumental building is a fusion of neoclassical aesthetics, unfussy functionalist features, and a layer of glamorous art deco details.
As such, the sobriety of the hand-hammered bare brick façade has been boosted by subtle embellishments like the bas-reliefs, by sculptor Asbjørg Borgfelt, carved into the stone pillars at the entrance, art deco elements – from the lighting to the deco rative terrazzo and wrought iron staircase and rich details by the celebrated Norwegian artist, Per Krohg.
These include the expressive mural in the main hall, a ceiling fresco in the former canteen, and the iconic mosaic feature wall in the basement public bath and swimming hall.
A New Era
Now, across the 246-rooms – including an accompanying villa with 15 rooms and suites – 56 hotel-branded apartments, and a clutch of buzzing public spaces, these original features have been meticulously restored, expanded and develop by local firm LPO Architects and New York and London-based studio GRECODECO.
The result is a rich, romantically immersive, and timeless interior, which takes its cues from Norwegian vernacular aesthetics and history. Ranging from the snug 19 sq. m Loft Rooms to the sprawling 150sq. m of the Heritage Suites, each of the guestrooms draws inspiration from a variety of influences including the dreamy, folkloric pieces from eminent Norwegian artist, Gerhard Munthe, the impressive artwork inside Oslo Radhus (City Hall), Norwegian furniture design from the early 1900s, intricate Scandinavian art deco details and, of course, the work of the architects, Bjercke & Eliassen.
A Community Hub
Fulfilling Bjercke & Eliassen’s dream to transform the area into an urban hub, Sommerro’s extensive sweep of public spaces encompasses 16 private hire rooms, including six light-filled boardrooms and the iconic Per Krohg event space, which takes its name from the Norwegian artist, whose remarkable fresco adorns the ceiling.
From Thai to Spanish tapas, there are also no less than four restaurants and three bars including Oslo’s first rooftop pool, sauna, and terrace, while plans for a library and a small cinema are in the pipeline.
The highlight is, no doubt, Vestkantbadet. Originally created to give back to the local community, this art deco gem with its Per Krohg mosaic mural, is one of the few public baths left in the country and has now been restored as part of the beauty and wellness centre to include a sprawling 400sqm gym and 16 treatment rooms and hammams.