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Walking Across the Star | Arctic Hotel

  • Name Project
    Walking Across the Star
  • Status
    Design | Architecture Competition
  • Designer
    Marcello Cesini Architetto | Sara Cavazzoni Interior Designer
  • Category
    Public Space | Hotel
  • Place
    Lapland | Finland
  • Year

The design genesis is based on some themes rooted in the customs and history of the Lapp people. For the Sami people, nomadic people living in the Scandinavian peninsula, the relationship with nature was very important and they had a total devotion to the sky; in fact they thought that the Northern Lights were nothing more than the manifestation of spirits that descended on the Earth hurling themselves on the “evildoers”. The Sami also had a strong bond with the constellations and, among these, we find the one most important to them: The Elk Constellation (Sarva in the Sami language) which incorporates three minor ones. Starting from the shape of this “celestial animal”, the project unfolds on the Ounasvaara hill, tracing a luminous path through the woods starting from the Hall, the main “star” of the project, to then reach the other 16 “minor stars” (the rooms) divided into a tent room (or Layvu room) and a suite room (or kota room). For the Sami the order and division of the spaces of their homes into 5 different and distinct areas was also very important: the central wing represented in sequence the entrance, the fireplace area and the kitchen, while the two sides were used as the area where you spent your day time (living room) and where you slept (sleeping area). This idea is taken up in the Hall project, which arises from a pentagon emptied in the center and broken down into various levels: in the central area there is a large double-height entrance and, immediately behind, a relax area surmounted by an observatory space accessible by 2 symmetrical side stairways or a fully glazed circular elevator, placed in the center of the space. The two lateral wings of the pentagon branch off from this area: in the left one we find 19 standard rooms (11 double, 6 triple and 2 quadruple), all with wide windows that also incorporate part of the roof, placed on two different levels of altitude, accessible by stairs or lift; while the right wing includes a restaurant on the ground floor and a small spa in the basement. The “tip of the star” that completes the pentagonal shape and connects the two wings (and therefore makes the spa accessible to the disabled) is a fantastic underground relax area with a fully glazed roof, which makes it possible to see the Northern lights. The pentagonal shape is maintained and reworked in the 2 types of rooms located in the forest. The suite room (Kota room in honor of the Sami huts) arises from a pentagonal glass shape on both sides (and on the ceiling) that form the “tip”, this is the central fulcrum of the room and where the bed is placed. The sleeping area is connected to the sauna, the bathroom, a small wardrobe and a ski room. The peculiarity of this room is that it is almost completely sunk into the ground, which surrounds it and almost completely hides it from view, and it allowes the hosts to have total privacy in the outdoor area where there is a private heated pool and a relax area that is accessible directly from the room. The Layvu room, on the other hand, takes up the idea of the Sami tent and reorganizes it in a modern way, transforming it into a real room with bathroom and sauna, very special and intimate; in fact, it has a pentagonal shape too and is totally closed on the sides, interrupted by some “cut in the canvas” with a fully glazed roof: a way to allow who stays there to look up to the sky and enjoy the wonder of the Northern Lights even lying on their fluffy beds. In addition to the spectacularity and the relationship with the customs and traditions of the place, the project seeks a close bond with the territory thanks to the use of sober materials that embrace the surrounding environment. Both the hall and the rooms scattered in the woods are totally made and covered in wood with vertical slats in which the multiple glazed “cuts” find space to allow guests to connect in total peacefullness with sky and nature. All the energy to power the Arctic Hotel is recovered from the Earth through the geothermal energy heating system, and through the sky, with the solar panels placed on the stone slabs roof of the Hall.

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