Updated: Sep 17, 2019
A tour to hotel and culture centre Hanaholmen, a Valpas Collaborator.
“Anyone who uses a properly designed object feels the presence of an artist who has worked for him, bettering his living conditions and encouraging him to develop his taste and sense of beauty.” - Bruno Munari
Upon entering Hotel Hanaholmen and its Finnish-Swedish Cultural Centre you see a raw block of the blackest glass. There is a curious duality in this piece of glass; a hard and crude solidity, together with fluid movement in its form. Crafted by the famous designer Timo Sarpaneva, this artwork named Pegasos invites one to gaze and try to penetrate its black surface. Imagine staring at a restless sea surface in the black of night. Beyond Pegasos, the beautiful modernist lobby and wine bar of Hanaholmen catch the visitor’s attention. Here you’ll find pieces of both Finnish and Swedish contemporary art and designs by the likes of Yrjö Kukkapuro and Alvar Aalto. The hotel and the culture centre is located on an island in the coastal archipelago of Southern Finland, yet only a stone’s throw away from the centre of Helsinki.
The Cultural Centre was opened on June 1st, 1975 by Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf and Finnish President Urho Kekkonen. The modernist building was designed by architect Veikko Malmio and the original interior by Yrjö Sotamaa. The art collection inside reflects the trends of Finnish and Swedish visual arts and has been gradually amassed since the 70s. A lot of the furniture also dates back decades. A total overhaul of the building and interior was completed in 2017 and the centre was reopened by the royalties and presidents of the Nordic countries.
“The renewed hotel Hanaholmen is above all stylish”, says hotel director Kai Mattsson. “Hanaholmen is definitely unique. It’s truly a Nordic experience to stay at the hotel with design, art and the surrounding nature. Acclaimed locally sourced food. The atmosphere and all the details. The Nordic sense of aestheticism and attention to quality are present in everything we do. As an example, we honor the original furniture by the Finnish design greats by taking care and if necessary restoring them.” Mattsson smiles indicating the Kukkapuro chairs down the hallway. “The most important thing for us is to ensure a great customer experience. This customer-centricity is a value we share with Valpas.”
In early March Hanaholmen basks in the shadow of pine trees typical to the Finnish archipelago. The glaring sun reflects off the snow covered sea illuminating the hotel room we’re in. The interior is light and pristine. “We take pride in keeping the hotel exceptionally clean. Our philosophy is to make sure our staff is supported and motivated. That translates directly to guest satisfaction.” Mattsson mentions that the hotel wants to make sure everything works and functions smoothly. This is especially important with all of the conference guests that Hanaholmen services. “Valpas helps us communicate that we take every detail into account when delivering a great hotel stay.”
Mattsson tells that many guests feel amazed that such a peaceful place surrounded by the sea exists so close to the city center of the capital of Finland. He mentions that guests roam around enjoying the island’s nature and the many sculptures on the hotel premises. For a visitor looking for a tranquil stay while enjoying art and design, Hanaholmen is the place to be. “Valpas helps us deliver this carefree experience for today’s guests”, states Mattsson. Heading out, we agree that great design responds to the human needs of its time.
When designing the Valpas system, we defined principles for a good design. Valpas bed legs are designed to be useful, unobtrusive and beautiful down to the last detail. Good design creates value and an emotional bond. Our goal is to enhance the guest experience and strengthen the connection between guests and hotels they love and trust.