A hotel has opened on the outskirts of Helsinki with rooms that can be working spaces by day and rooms by night.
VALO Hotel & Work aims to provide a solution for people working remotely – a number that has increased dramatically since the coronavirus pandemic – as well as customers in more traditional hotels.
At the heart of the concept are guest rooms that can be easily converted from a typical hotel room into a dedicated workspace for several people.
This means that the parts are more likely to be used around the clock.
“Our sustainable innovation is based on the concept of dual use,” said the VALO team.
“Rather than having a vacant hotel during the day and an empty office at night and on weekends, VALO combines the two utilities into one space.”
VALO Hotel & Work is shortlisted for the 2021 Dezeen Awards in two categories: hotel and short-stay interior and sustainable interior.
The 18,000 square meter building contains 422 dual purpose rooms, ranging from 12 to 29 square meters.
For the concept to work, these parts had to be easy to fit during the cleaning process. This led the designers to create a series of flexible luminaires.
Beds and desks fold down from the wall, thanks to a mechanized system connected to a digital platform and operated by an application. During this time, the sofas can be neatly hidden.
Other furnishings in the bedrooms combine comfort and functionality, so that they are suitable for both uses. Lighting and temperature settings can also switch 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 for work and leisure.
There is a restaurant, lounge bar, wellness facilities, various meeting and conference rooms and a lobby which also serves as a “working lounge”.
This working room is an atrium space in the heart of the building, where a large wall of glazing lets in natural light.
A giant staircase ascends to one side of the space, creating a large, informal seating area dotted with laptop surfaces, while tall cylinders incorporate both workstations and trees.
Wood is a recurring material throughout the interior and comes from northern forests. It provides furniture and surfaces, as well as a pair of Finnish log rooftop saunas.
This material is associated with recycled plastic, sober fabrics and a color palette in soft hues.
The founders of VALO believe that the project can serve as a model for hotels to reduce their environmental impact.
For business travelers, in particular, it can potentially bring all activities together in one place.
“Hotel buildings have a utilization rate of around 40%, while offices have an incredibly low rate of 8%, considering their entire lifecycle,” added VALO.
“VALO offers a viable solution to this global problem. By combining all relevant business services into one, we dramatically reduce emissions and waste while creating better services for travelers. “
The photograph is by Riikka Kantinkoski.