Checking in to Hotel Torni in Helsinki offers a journey through 20th-century architectural styles and the chance to walk in the footsteps of international artists, royalty and presidents.
The Chicago and New York building trend of the 1920s, with height as its signature feature, inspired architectural duo Jung & Jung in creating what would be Finland’s first skyscraper. When it opened in 1931, Hotel Torni was a pioneering structure within Finnish architecture and essentially changed the skyline of Helsinki. When the neighbouring building was subsequently integrated into the hotel, this saw Art Nouveau incorporated alongside the original Art Deco interior, and guests got to enjoy a variety of 20th-century styles.
Over the years, the original interiors have attracted their fair share of notable guests, both local and international. American president Herbert Hoover, international artiste Josephine Baker, James Bond star Roger Moore and Prince Bertil of Sweden are just some of the celebrities to have checked in to the hotel.
In recent years, Hotel Torni has been renovated, and new elements have been added to the architecture that made the hotel an international landmark.
“The new environments reflect not a museum from a specific era but rather a contemporary interpretation of Torni’s history. Original details such as tiled stoves, marble floors, a glass dome and wall paintings have been restored and combined with modern elements to create a sense of cohesion throughout the hotel,” says Creative Director Joanna Laajisto from Studio Laajisto, who served as lead interior architect for the hotel rooms and corridors.
Culinary experiences have always been an integral part of the package over the years. From serving drinks on the quiet to regulars during prohibition, and the opening of Finland’s first Irish pub, to the latest addition: OR Restaurant on the ground floor. The latter is a restaurant with an earthy palette of beige, ochre, brown and light blue to set the tone, while the walls are adorned with contemporary art and Le Corbusier’s Lampe de Marseille wall lamps. The colour scheme is again alluded to in the menu, which is dominated by fish, shellfish and vegetarian dishes.
“OR presents a narrative of differing styles and colours, creating a bohemian ambience with a focus on art,” says Eva-Marie Eriksson, co-founder and Senior Designer at Fyra, which was responsible for the interior design of the hotel’s restaurants.
The interior of the American Bar, one floor up, draws inspiration from 1930s Art Deco. Here we find textiles in green velvet, a marble bar counter and iconic light fittings.
“The renovation saw the American Bar moved back to its original location under the hotel’s glass dome, with the shape strikingly reflected by the circular bar counter. The mysterious and elegant atmosphere of the bar is enhanced by Paavo Tynell’s lamps,” continues Eva-Marie.
The top floor and Ateljee Bar offer a lighter ambience. It was initially created to connect to a rooftop mooring for Zeppelins. The idea was that passengers could easily pop in for a cocktail before their onward flight. Sadly the mooring facility was never used, but the access down to the bar remains. As the name, Ateljee Bar, suggests, it has historically been an ‘atelier’ where young artists were given the chance to exhibit their work. The subdued interior design has been carefully chosen to allow both the art and the panoramic views to take centre stage.
Input interior has supplied furnishings for both the hotel rooms and restaurants. The key to realising the concept has been a wide-ranging assortment and close collaboration between project manager and interior architects.
“Hotel Torni has long been a landmark in Helsinki and has a natural place in the cultural history of the city. It’s exciting to get to be part of this type of project, above all owing to the variety of settings, products and functions that need to interact to create a unique experience for guests,” concludes Janne Härmä, Account Manager at Input interior in Helsinki.