The newest addition to Stockholm’s hotel scene recreates the convivial atmosphere of a rustic Swedish mountain cabin.
As the summer backpacking season in Sweden came to an end, a new hotel opened, offering travelers a chance to stretch their adventurous spirit a few months longer than usual. From the snowshoes on the wall to the kayaks hung above the welcome desk, the Downtown Camper by Scandic is a rare paradox: an upscale city center hotel loosely modeled around the casual style and atmosphere of a lakeside summer camp.
Scandic aimed its latest offering at a very specific demographic: young business travelers looking to meet and mix on the road. The hoteliers tapped veteran Gothenburg firm Stylt Trampoli to create a space that could actually shape the way guests interacted with the city – and each other.
At the Downtown Camper, the story Stylt Trampoli decided to tell was about the Nordic passion for the great outdoors.
Stylt Trampoli’s team, who recently won the UNESCO Prix Versailles for the sumptuous Spedition Hotel in Switzerland, refuse to call themselves architects or designers – they prefer the term »storytellers.« Their first step is always to invent a compelling narrative – then they choose every detail, from the grandest lobby to the smallest souvenir, based on whether it helps the plot along.
At the Downtown Camper, the story Stylt Trampoli decided to tell was about the Nordic passion for the great outdoors. »We thought a lot about how we love to hang out... in and around the mountain cabin,« says creative director Erik Johansen. The hotel would be a ›base camp‹ – but it had to be about more than just hiking and fresh air.
For Johansen, there was a classic balance of wanderlust and domesticity that the design had to capture. Not only »days of adventure and discoveries,« as he puts it, »[but also] cozy evenings with family and friends around the fireplace.« It’s easy to read the latter part of that story in the Downtown Camper’s social areas, which feature more than one crackling fireplace, along with warm lighting and plenty of honeycolored wood.
Handmade shuffleboard and backgammon tables add to the old-fashioned Swedish vibe. There’s much more here than hunting- lodge kitsch, though; the décor is a blend of industrial and modern, with exposed ducts and lots of strong geometrics, including a bold conical flue over the roaring fire.
The actual hotel rooms are a similar blend of styles. Rustic striped blankets and wood-paneled mini-fridges are balanced with cool gray leather and modern lighting. Of course, even the small details have to suit the story. The white-tile bathrooms are accented by GROHE’s Eurodisc and Eurosmart fixtures, which – in their custom-made brushed finish – »contribute to a slightly rougher, honest feeling that is a perfect match with the overall concept,« Johansen says.
Stylt Trampoli often relies on GROHE when it comes to fixtures. »Functionality, quality, and aesthetics must always be a part of it,« says Johansen. »In GROHE’s wide product range, it’s easy to find products and solutions that do the job.«
An interesting touch in each bedroom is the corkboard, hung for guests to tack up pictures, ideas or to-do lists for discovering Stockholm. Stylt Trampoli hopes to inspire visitors to see themselves as urban explorers who are equally adventurous in checking out the city as they are in checking each other out after hours.
There are no conference rooms in this business hotel, only ›social hubs,‹ which can be used as easily for a guitar jam as for a board meeting – either one contributing to the convivial atmosphere.
Much has been made recently of the Danish term »hygge,« especially as a catch-all for photogenic toasty fires, mulled wine, and artisanal socks. Yet »hygge« also connotes intimacy and good cheer, community, and belonging. In Scandinavia, those values apply to family and close friends. Stylt Trampoli intends that at Downtown Camper, they’ll apply just as well between traveling strangers. Of course, the fires and wine are there too – and as Stockholm settles into the embrace of winter, the hotel guests will no doubt make the most of them.
TEXT: JOSIA LAMBERTO-EGAN
PHOTOGRAPHY: MAGNUS PETTERSSON
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