A hotel has opened on the outskirts of Helsinki featuring rooms that can be workspaces by day and bedrooms by night.
VALO Hotel & Work aims to offer a solution for people working remotely – a number that has increased significantly since the coronavirus pandemic – as well as more traditional hotel guests.
The hotel’s head of design, Minna Hurme, developed the concept in collaboration with office design specialist Workplace Oy, interior design studio Fyra and construction company SSA.
At the heart of the concept are guest rooms that can be easily converted from a typical hotel bedroom into a dedicated workspace for several people.
This means that rooms are more likely to be in use for 24 hours a day.
“Our sustainable innovation is based on the dual-use concept,” said the VALO team.
“Rather than having a hotel vacant during the day and an office empty at night and weekends, VALO combines the two utilities into one space.”
VALO Hotel & Work is on the shortlist for Dezeen Awards 2021 in two categories: hotel and short-stay interior and sustainable interior.
The 18,000-square metre building contains 422 dual-purpose rooms, ranging from 12 to 29 square metres in size.
In order for the concept to work, these rooms needed to be easy to adapt during the cleaning process. This led the designers to create a series of flexible fixtures.
Beds and desks fold down from the wall, thanks to a mechanised system connected to a digital platform and operated by an app. Meanwhile, sofas can be neatly hidden away.
Other furnishings in the rooms blend comfort with functionality, so they feel appropriate for both uses. Lighting and temperature settings can also flip between different modes.
“The result is a space that is visually neither a hotel nor an office, but something entirely new,” said VALO.
Other facilities were designed with both work and leisure in mind.
There’s a restaurant, a lounge bar, wellness facilities, various meeting and conference rooms, and a lobby that doubles as a “work lounge”.
This work lounge is an atrium space at the heart of the building, where a large wall of glazing allows natural light to spill in.
A giant staircase climbs up one side of the space, creating a large informal seating area dotted with laptop surfaces, while large cylinders integrate both workstations and trees.
Wood is a recurring material throughout the interior and was sourced from Nordic forests. It provides furniture and surfaces, as well as a pair of Finnish log saunas on the roof.
This material is paired with recycled plastic, understated fabrics and a palette of soft-hued colours.
VALO’s founders believe the project can serve as a model for how hotels can reduce their environmental impact.
For business travellers, in particular, it can potentially consolidate all activities into a single location.
“Hotel buildings have a utilisation rate of approximately 40 per cent, while offices have a staggeringly low one of eight per cent, when considering their entire life cycles,” added VALO.
“VALO offers a viable solution to this global problem. By combining all relevant business services into one, we significantly reduce emissions and waste while also creating better services for travellers.”
Photography is by Riikka Kantinkoski.
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