Located near the Royal Palace in Oslo, Norway, the office headquarters of the city's electrical company were first designed by the architects Andreas Bjerke and Georg Eliassen in the 1930s. The beloved landmark boasts art deco details, bas-reliefs by the sculptor Asbjørg Borgfeldt, as well as murals by Per Krohg – an artist particularly known for his “Mural of Peace” in the United Nations headquarters in New York.
After a long process of meticulous restoration and renovation, the beloved landmark is now Sommerro, a new hotel property owned by Aspelin Ramm and Strawberry under the Nordic Hotels & Resorts portfolio, which includes celebrated properties such as Villa Copenhagen and Hotel Riviera. In close collaboration with the city antiquarian in Oslo, the owners transformed the iconic building into a project of over NOK 2.5 billion (£189m).
The heritage property was first built in 1931 and with a distinctly different function, so the acoustics had to be upgraded during the restoration and renovation process without intruding on the original design.
Upgrading the Heritage Property's Acoustics
For the restoration and renovation of the building, the interior design studio GRECODECO and the architecture firm LPO Arkitekter devised solutions that would grant the building modern indoor environmental quality standards.
“This is a historic and old building where there has previously been little focus on acoustics. There were no acoustic solutions to the same extent as today, and it was more common to use furniture and curtains to control the sound”, said Øystein Sjøstrand, project manager at LPO Arkitekter. "Consequently, the acoustics have been a major challenge in upgrading the building without spoiling its original character. We wanted to create a good acoustic environment without making it too visible."
The architects selected the monolithic acoustic ceiling solution Rockfon Mono Acoustic, which can be seamlessly incorporated into an overall design concept.
"We used the acoustic solutions in both new rooms that we designed ourselves, as well as protected rooms that we worked on in close collaboration with the city antiquarian. We worked to find a compromise that preserves the original expression while contributing to good acoustics”, says Sjøstrand. "The facade and interior details are almost identical as they were when Oslo Lysverker opened its head office on in 1932."
Using Colour to Create a Cohesive Aesthetic
For areas such as the hotel's fitness centre and corridors, the architects opted for Rockfon Color-all – a high-performing acoustic ceiling tile solution that allows for ample flexibility across colour.
“The building was designed by Bjerke and Eliassen during a transitional period between classicism and modernism. The use of colour was an important tool in their original direction and was likewise set as a priority in the renovation. We're inspired by the original architecture and wanted to transfer its elements to other parts of the building, so it was important that the acoustic solutions could fit in and be adaptable”, concludes Sjøstrand.
“We're very proud of this project. Rockfon acoustic ceilings were installed in almost all different types of rooms in the building and with different surfaces and colours. They contribute to optimal acoustics, while maintaining the existing aesthetics”, says Steinar Nygård, District Manager at Rockfon.
Though the original facade and art deco interior details continue to be almost identical to how they were when the building was first erected, the acoustics were improved dramatically. Mono Acoustic ceilings are seamless, and Color-all ceiling tiles were complementary, allowing for Bjerke and Eliassen's original expression to shine through.
As part of the major project Sommerrokvartalet, Sommerro won the Building of the Year 2022 award for its construction process, innovation, building practices, sustainability, among other qualifying requisites.