Villa Terminus fuses an exclusive boutique hotel with Bergen’s oldest building and 250 years of history.
Villa Terminus, constructed back in 1770, stands in the heart of Bergen. The building was originally used as accommodation for the elderly in need and was awarded protected status in 1927. It has subsequently been restored with great care and respect. When architectural partnership Claesson Koivisto Rune was commissioned to convert Villa Terminus into an exclusive and intimate 18-room hotel, the brief was to aim for a familiar feel. Input interior served as project manager for procurement, deliveries and installation.
“The age and status of the building meant that we were obliged to work with the existing structure. From the outset, we only really knew that it should feel familiar and homely, but not exactly what we wanted to fill it with. It shouldn’t feel like a museum with furnishings that solely mirror the history of the house. At the same time, we didn’t want to just go for new items,” says Eero Koivisto.
Inspiration from Danish art
The inspiration and concept that gradually took shape for Villa Terminus came from a trip to New York, far beyond the boundaries of Norway but still subject to Scandinavian influence.
“During a stay in New York I made a spontaneous visit to Scandinavia House, which at that particular time was hosting an exhibition by Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi. I have always liked paintings with dark and charged settings. The most interesting thing is that you don’t remember how the interiors in the pictures looked afterwards; all that remains is a feeling. It was a fantastic exhibition. I was impressed and immediately felt that ‘this is it’ – here we have our concept,” explains Eero.
The colour scheme of discreet beige and grey shades from Hammershøi’s paintings set the tone for Villa Terminus. And with a source of inspiration to work with, the choice of interiors all at once became self-evident.
“We began looking at interior design from the 1950s and purchased vintage furniture that felt undefined in terms of time period and combined it with modern furniture and objects. For us, it’s important that objects from different eras can relate to one another. Consequently, we turned to contemporary designers whose furniture feels timelessly natural alongside the older interior, such as Norwegians Daniel Rybakken and Andreas Engesvik. Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec and Terence Woodgate are also represented at Villa Terminus,” says Eero.
Villa Terminus offers many interesting facets for the observant. You will find, for example, blankets and cushions that, on closer inspection, have designs drawn from Norwegian traditional costumes. One of the rooms also has a white dove placed on a bureau as a reminder that the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway. Subtle details that may go unnoticed, but will give the observant something to reflect on.
The hotel’s 18 rooms differ in both size and appearance, but nevertheless successfully convey the same feeling topped with small variations in details.
“For me, it is extremely important that all rooms in a hotel convey the same overall feeling. If I am visiting a hotel for the first time and like my room, I want to have the same experience the next time I book a stay there even if I have a different room,” concludes Eero.