To the Lighthouse – HIX EVENT CONVERSATION
Design Insider is delighted to be running a series of articles to promote conversations on the seminar topics that will be presented at the Hotel Interiors Experience – HIX – at the Business Design Centre, London on 18/19th November 2021. The topics discuss six social shifts that are taking place in our post-pandemic world as all we all move towards opportunity, the light, somewhere better.
The last subject we are discussing is for the seminar entitled “To the Lighthouse”
‘Here, where the light is brighter and the wind is wilder, the ocean saltier and the seafood fresher’. Erik Nissen Johansen tells a story worthy of any Northern European wonder tale. The story of a celebrated hotel designer who buys an island in an outpost of a windblown, barren and exposed Swedish archipelago. Amid winds of 1000 miles per hour, he turns the old Pater Noster Lighthouse into a boutique hotel experience. For more than 100 years, this building gave hope and guided seafarers through treacherous waters, it was home to the lighthouse keepers and their families, a small-scale community. Now, once again the doors to the old master’s home open, welcoming a new generation of seafarers, nature lovers and pleasure seekers. A safe haven on an island perceived as uninhabitable. An inspiring hospitality metaphor for our times.’
An introduction to Erik and his colleagues
Stylt is a multi-award-winning branding and design agency, founded 1988 by Erik Nissen Johansen in Gothenburg, Sweden. Started as an innovative and unconventional art collective, inspired by the Renaissance’s ideas of creativity, innovation, and cross-border collaboration, Stylt works globally within the hospitality and experience industry with a mix of large chains and small entrepreneurs. Although probably best known for projects within the world of hotels and restaurants, their work also includes property development, offices and co-working spaces, themed attractions, resorts and destinations.
The Lighthouse Project
Windswept Hamneskar island on the west coast of Sweden was once a small community built around the Pater Noster lighthouse (meaning ‘Lord’s Prayer’). The red iron-constructed lighthouse was built in 1868 and lit up the horizon off Marstrand to help guide sailors through its dangerous waters. After being automated in the 1960’s and finally deactivated in 1977, the lighthouse fell into disrepair and the island was deserted.
Since then the buildings have been sympathetically renovated to retain as much of their original identity as possible and Stylt created the concept, branding and interior design to turn Pater Noster into one of the world’s most unique sustainably operated luxury boutique hotels.
“Some might say it’s a hotel, but we’d rather call it a home on the horizon,” says Stylt’s founder and creative director Erik Nissen Johansen, who is also a partner in the project together with Elisabeth Johansen, CEO at Stylt. “During my 30 years within the hospitality business, I have rarely come across such a unique destination.”
The hotel has nine double rooms, and during the summer offers an exhilarating outdoor cliff-side sleeping area with incredible views of the sea and the stars.
The interior design and the inspiration behind it
While the main building’s 19th-century exterior was relatively well-preserved, little remained of the much left of the original interiors. Instead of recreating the former interior design in detail, Stylt dug into the fascinating story of the island and the sea, of the lighthouse and the people who once tended it.
Based on this narrative, local vintage furniture and antiques were sourced along with art, photographs, books and props. The wallpapers were custom designed by Stylt.
“By combining old technical drawings of the lighthouse and kelp patterns, we wanted to create a relevant yet stylish link to local history and nature” says Stylt partner and art director Andreas Hagersjö.
Original rustic details were incorporated with vintage maritime details and a richness was achieved through warm metallics, traditional furniture and dark hues inspired by its surrounding waters.
Another highlight is a huge photographic artwork by Hawaiian visual artist Christy Lee Rogers, an artistic tribute to the hundreds of ships and crews lost in the depths around Pater Noster.
“Low-key luxury with a dash of roughness”
Since opening in the summer of 2020, the weather-beaten 152-year-old lighthouse has attracted a great deal of global interest. Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller and Forbes are just a few that put Pater Noster high on their lists of “must-experience destinations” around the world.
“It’s a sign of the times that a place that is so inaccessible, weather-exposed and barren beats traditional luxury,” says Erik Nissen Johansen. “We at Stylt strongly believe that Pater Noster delivers exactly what today’s guests are looking for – authenticity, personality and privacy spiced with fantastic nature experiences and a thrilling history. Low-key luxury with a dash of roughness.”
The BCFA are a co-founding partner of Hotel Interiors Experience – HIX